An hour subway ride away from Cape Town is Stellenbosch, one of the most famous regions for wine in South Africa. We did a bike tour through the area appropriately called "Bikes n' Wine". It was a nice little excursion that included just the right amount of riding (~10Km) and drinking (2 wineries and 1 brandy distillery). The day was a total success; there was plenty of delicious wine, the guide was knowledgeable and friendly, and the weather was perfectly comfortable.
The area was not spectacular but offered a pleasant atmosphere. We decided on the easiest tour which turned out to be an excellent idea because we had been pretty active up to this point (see Lion's Head and Table Mountain Hikes). It was much nicer to focus on the wining than the biking anyhow.
It was imperative that I took a serious picture on this little wooden suspension bridge. I think you all understand why. Also the guide recommended we take pictures of us biking so it didn't seem like we were getting sweaty from drinking wine. I'm not biking but that is definitely a bicycle helmet in my hand there so that counts.
I have now forgotten almost every thing about this mountain chain. I do remember that the outline of the ridge sort of looks like a man (Simon van der Stel?) lying down on his back. To the left is his head and then he's got a pot belly and then feet...it was a lot clearer when I was there.
My favorite part of the ride took us right next to a vineyard. I was a little surprised because this was South Africa, the land of security fences, and there was nothing stopping me from hording all the grapes I could manage. Grape thieving must not be a very lucrative criminal enterprise.
So much fuss over these little guys. The grapes were very sweet which means they were close to harvest time. Soon enough those sugars will be transformed into alcohol by fermentation. I could be a winemaker!
The first and best tasting at Spier. The winery was enormous and offered around 12 varietals. I don't remember what this wine was but my favorite was the Pinotage which is a South African specialty.
One of the wineries had a cheetah sanctuary which was a pleasant surprise. The urge to rub the cheetah's tummy was pretty strong at this point. I resisted because I know that's how cheetahs' draw in most of their prey.
We couldn't help but let our blue blood ancestry come out while brandy tasting. It was a sumptuous way to end the tour.