Wine, wisdom and the pursuit of drinking

Sparkling wine, white wine, red wine, rose, port; it all starts to blur after the first vineyard and goes downhill around noon. I took a great wine tour of the Stellenbosch and Paarl wine region just an hour outside of Cape Town, South Africa.

Our guide gave us “drinking hats” at 9:30 am and said spitting or swallowing was always up to us….First stop Villiera Vineyard where we had a tour of the sparkling wine plant and given the rundown on history, production, bottling and blah blah blah. (FYI – sparkling wine is champagne, just can’t be called champagne if it’s not from Champagne, France). Moving right along; we promptly learned the five S’s of “proper” wine tasting.  Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, wine tasting a.k.a wine drinking for me has always been reserved for dinner, parties, dinner parties or if I was in a meeting. If you’re wondering if there is an opening at my previous job where wine drinking was required please email me directly.

Anyway, the five S’s of wine tasting: First you must See the color of the wine. Make sure to tilt the glass in order to observe the color, it’s best to see over a white surface. If I happen to be in a white tablecloth type of joint this will be easy, a bar bar not so much. Then again I don’t plan to be person at a bar “seeing” my wine or any of the other five S’s unlike a date I recently had where it started and ended when the guy proceeded to continually do step four. The second S; Swirl. Not the move from Seinfeld that Jerry Claims was stolen by Putty, but the move that requires you to gracefully swirl the glass with your wrist without looking like a amateur by either spilling or jerking the wine around in a not so swirly motion.  The swirl is preformed in order to let the effervescence release – I still require training wheels on this move, the table works brilliantly and is totally acceptable. Next is Sniff; you must stick your nose really far into the glass and take a big whiff then in one fell swoop complete step number four which is Sip. Sip, but don’t swallow or spit (yet) and perform step number five, Savor. Roll the wine around in your mouth and try to do some acrobatics with your tongue while at the same time  breathing in some fresh air (refer back to step two for why the wine needs air). At this point, the unspoken number six. If you’re not totally exhausted, you can choose to swallow or spit depending on how you liked the wine. I don’t like to be rude, so I typically swallow…

 In case you’re curious, we visited the following vineyards:

1. Villiera, small with a great patio for tasting and they serve full meals, popular for brunch. Cool place to see “sparkling wine” production.

2. Fairview, very commercial and big. Famous for their goats do roam and the real goats that live on the premises. They offer a delicious cheese and wine tasting, but no t-shirts for sale which was a bummer.

 3. Boer and Brit – very small, but very homey and unique bottling and creative labels.

4. Byerskloof,  awesome patio with misters and an amazing view to enjoy a delicious lunch.

5.Rustenberg, more commercial but very pretty grounds, quiet and historic buildings

6. Annandale, family run, very welcoming with delicious wines and horses

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4 Responses to Wine, wisdom and the pursuit of drinking

  1. Francois says:

    Hey Jody,

    Thats great news and thanks so much for the blog. Infact, thats our first blog!!! We’re not even six months old. So glad you had a good time. Our whole culture behind Wine Flies wine tours is for people not just to see the big estates but also visit rare and rustic estates, reflecting the true unique SA culture. Hence you also tasted biltong (local SA cured meat), brandy, dried fruits etc.
    Anyways, glad you also learned a bit whilst having so much wine!

    Cheers, Salute!
    Lord Francois

  2. Vicki says:

    Jode, LOVE reading all of your posts! I miss you! I am SO happy to hear about all of the exciting places you are experiencing on your journey. Wish I could have surfed with you and of course done the wine tasting. I would have swallowed with you, no need for such waste.
    Love ya! XO, V

    PS. in reference to one of your earlier blogs, I can NOT believe you switched deoderants. I am aluminum free thanks to you 🙂

  3. So how were the wines?…Miss you!

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