One of our favourite ways to spend time as a family is by visiting a wine farm – wine for dad, beauty for mom, space for kids. We all win!
A few weekends back we were invited to join the Melck family for their Harvest Festival and we didn’t have to think twice, we visit this gem of a wine farm a few times a year with friends to enjoy their terrace and terrific wines but we’ve not ever joined in their harvest celebrations and this sounded like a great way to spend a family fun day.
The drive out to the winelands is always worth it! I love watching the beautiful country scenery unfold around every bend in the road. Just seeing each beautiful vista is a balm for my stressed-out city soul and the soothing sounds and sights of country life make me relax immediately. I can’t help but fall more in love with this part of the world with every visit…
The little road up to Muratie is a comma, a pause, a breath.
Muratie dates back to 1685 when it was granted by Governor Simon van der Stel who was Governor of the Cape of Good Hope at the time. This makes Muratie one of the oldest estates in South Africa and along with that age comes many characters and truly fascinating stories. The Melck family has revived this rich heritage by naming its range after many of these colourful characters. For example, the MCC bubbly known as Lady Alice, the blended red known as Ansela van de Caab and the shiraz known as Ronnie Melck. Muratie is known for being the first producer of Pinot Noir wine as well as fine ports.
Our morning at Muratie began with finding our spot on the terrace under the shade of the ancient oaks, the band was warming up and the kitchen were setting up their braai’s and food stands. We meandered around enjoying the anticipation of an afternoon full of fun.
Before the crowds arrived we kicked off our shoes and got stuck in to the messy business of harvesting wine… grape stomping!
Four large wine barrels were set up filled with red grapes all ready to be “stomped” into wine. These are the experiences that make the memories so we rolled up our pants and jumped in! Each Rossiter family member had their own tub and the mandate to press the most juice in order to win the prize of a bottle of wine for dad. Dad won of course! Probably best considering the prize!
As the afternoon progressed we joined the owner of the farm, Rijk Melck, and the wine maker, Hattingh De Villiers, in the cellar for an exclusive wine tasting… including sampling wine at various stages in products – freshly picked to almost bottled – with a few tastes straight from the barrels surrounding us!
Our kids busied themselves with a game involving acorns outside the cellar, making friends with a few of the other kids!
Having worked up an appetite we were very pleased to make our way back to our table to discover gorgeous cheese and bread platters had arrived to feed our hungry tummies.
After enjoying our snack platters, and working up more of an appetite (wine seems to do that?) we headed over to select our lunch from the options on offer… My choice, a generous salmon sandwich with red onions and capers.
The family fun continued with a tractor ride up through the vineyards of Muratie… a lovely way to connect with a few more of the guests enjoying the day out and a great way to experience more of the farm… and the views!
And then there was a bit more time for relaxing, chatting, chilling, eating, drinking, generally enjoying the laid back atmosphere that Muratie is so well known for.
There are no airs and graces here, no formalities, no dress codes, no pretentious attitudes.
From the owner to the staff to the guests, everyone at the Harvest Festival was there because they love Muratie (and Muratie wines!) This is a family, and each visitor is welcomed like family.
A more authentic wine farm experience in the Stellenbosch winelands would be hard to find!
We all loved our Harvest Festival experience at Muratie and look forward to celebrating harvest with the Melck family again next year!
Muratie Wine Farm
Knorhoek Road/R44, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Tel: +27 21 865-2330/6
Monday to Friday: 10h00 to 17h00
Saturday: 10h00 to 17h00
Sunday: 10h00 to 17h00
Images: Kathryn Rossiter