When my father moved to Saudi in 2002, he was neighbors with fellow South African school teachers, Paul and Angelique with their two children Reinhardt and Carmen (then 12 and 9). When my mother and I moved there later our families became great friends. As they moved back to the Western Cape a few years ago, we seldom got a chance to see them. So here we were, 200kms drive away from each other when they told us they had to take Carmen back to Wellington for school after the weekend. Perfect, Wellington is only 70kms away, they had to drive there in any case – a plan was hatched.
The biggest concern was to meet at a place where we not only could have a nice visit but also where I would not be at risk of catching a bug. I started researching wine estates with restaurants in the area, but that too was a risk. By chance, I stumbled upon Doolhof Wine Estate; beautiful, serene, wheelchair friendly and they do picnics! I contacted them and spoke to a helpful, upbeat and nice lady named Susan. After explaining my situation she told me that I was more than welcome to bring my own food.
With the Hawequas Mountains ahead of us, we drove along some picturesque wine farms, stunning hills and beautiful valleys. I am constantly amazed at what a beautiful countryside South Africa has!
At Doolhof we met the van Schoors, received our picnic baskets, bottle of delicious Malbec wine and camped out on the pristine green lawns with shady trees. My lunch consisted of packaged biscuits, packaged cheese, packaged olives, packaged pate, packaged oysters and packaged bean salad, while theirs consisted of fresh venison meatballs, fresh greek salad, fresh ciabatta bread, fresh local cheeses and olives, fresh chicken wraps and fresh potato salad. I was envious.
After lunch Reinhardt, Carmen and I headed up to the tasting room to sample some more of Doolhof’s fantastic wines, but my favourite remains the Malbec!
While the rest explored the vineyards on foot, Reinhardt remained with me on the shaded paddocks. Sadly, they closed the estate and we had to head home. But it was a memorable day and one that I greatly enjoyed and appreciated!