The spectacular historic towns of Malmesbury, Piketberg and Porterville, and the twin villages of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West, sit at the slopes of the Kasteelberg, making up the Swartland region.
Riebeek Kasteel is known for its food, art galleries and the iconic Royal Hotel's veranda - the perfect spot for a late afternoon g&t. But it's also the ideal base from where to explore the Swartland Wine and Olive Route.
The mock Medi climate plays 'hostess with the mostest' when it comes to growing olives and making wine. The low-rainfall summer tempered by cool afternoon breezes, and the cold winters is it viticulturist's dream. The Swartland is Chenin Blanc country, but some of the highest vineyards (700m above sea level) are planted on the slopes of the Paardeberg, producing beautiful, thriving Pinotage vines.
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Derick and Susan who own the Olive Boutique in Riebeek Kasteel, says that in the Swartland you don't taste the olives and wine, you taste the terroir. The soil, the climate, all work in unison to produce products that are unique to this region.
The valley is known for its prestigious wines. Revolutionary winemakers like Eben Sadie of Sadie Family Wines, and David Sadie (no relation) of David & Nadia continue to grow this valley's portfolio. Make a weekend of it and go taste your way through the route, from Lammershoek to Babylon's Peak, Mullineux & Leeu and Org de Rac to the Koringberg's Wildehurst Wines.
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And one exceptional part of the experience is that you'll actually be able to meet the winemakers and small businesses like the people who run the town's olive mill.
Have Adi Badenhorst of AA Badenhorst wines shout at you for having an empty wine glass (true story), or let the winemaker at Leeuwenkuil explain the Ancestral Method for making sparkling wine.
Point is, in the Swartland, your glass will always runneth over.
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