An Evening With The Winemaker, John Faure

In 2010 Dave and I took a drive down a dirt road and discovered this lovely wine estate, surrounded by vines and beautiful old buildings. We met Chef Michael Israel who is the proprietor of Pomegranate Restaurant and after one delicious meal we booked for the harvest festival dinner March 2011. John Faure, the winemaker, hosted the dinner and spoke to us about the process of wine making. Unfortunately for us, we booked for the last Thursday of the month and the harvest was already over.

the dinner table awaiting the guests for An Evening With The Winemaker, John Faure
the dinner table awaiting the guests

We then booked for the winter dinner with the winemaker, and it was after this that we decided that we would have Dave’s 60th birthday party at the estate. In 2012 year we were invited by John to join him for the first harvest dinner of the season (they are held every Thursday evening in March). Unfortunately we could not be there for the first dinner, but we went for the second Thursday and had a fantastic experience.

grape stomping
grape stomping

Our evening started at 18h30 with a glass of wine and a grape stomping. Dave was a great sport and stomped grapes. We were then taught about the importance of yeast in the wine making process and watched the vats being turned over, listening to the CO2 gasses escape. We watched the yeast begin its process of eating the residual sugar in the grape juice and then moved on to supper. We were given a taste of the Rosé ‘wine’ to taste – it starts off as a sweet juice, and you can feel the yeast working on your tongue. Very refreshing in a way.

the rosé grape juice being turned into wine
the rosé grape juice being turned into wine

Our starter was a plate of three of Michael’s most popular starters and was accompanied by the Estate wine. This was followed by a choice of duck or game and both Dave and I chose the game. The duck was served with Merlot and the game with Cabernet Sauvignon. I of course had to sample both wines 🙂 Dessert was a chocolate fondant, soft and gooey in the middle as it should be, and served with a Tawny Port.

our three course dinner
our three course dinner

After enjoying this sumptuous meal, we proceeded back into the cellar and could put our feet into the wine vats. The cap of grape skins is so thick, and I decided that as I was wearing pants I would stick my hand in. It took some penetration, but as soon as I broke through the skins, I could feel the cold grape juice. John then proceeded to pump the ‘wine’ from the bottom of the vat onto the grape skin cap to agitate it and release any CO2 gasses.

John Faure hard at work
John Faure hard at work

We loved the evening so much, that we went back again the following Thursday and again in 2013. If you want to experience the harvest dinner, contact the estate on 021 843 3248.

Harvest Dinner March 2013
Harvest Dinner March 2013

Disclosure: I have not been paid to write this blog post, even though we were invited guests, and our return visit will be paid for by us. This post is in line with my blogging policy

for my non South African readers: Vergenoegd can directly be translated as ‘satisfied’
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