It was with great anticipation and excitement that I packed my suitcase with winter woollies and Wellies on the eve of my first Wacky Wine weekend, based around Robertson. Bright-eyed and bushy tailed I joined my travel companions on the Friday afternoon, and off we went to our generous host’s abode in Montagu.
We even had a mascot (a coral-coloured, donkey-like animal from our driver’s bachelors party) to keep morale going in case our natural capabilities flagged. As if! But he proved to have quite the party personality, earning himself the additional moniker of “jolperd”.
That said. Wacky Wine. Wine farms as far as the eye can’t see. What were these people thinking? Warnings about the traffic department being hugely visible and vigilant. Don’t drink and drive! Have a designated driver! Pay someone to drive you and your friends around! No such luck. Only saw two traffic cops the entire weekend. One ignored us when we drove past on Saturday with our wine glasses filled to the brim (well, barring our dutiful driver and not quite the brim) and the other was on the way back home the Sunday, cruising down the side of the road at 40km/h.
Nonetheless, our driving safety and lives in the balance, we embarked on our tour early the Saturday morning, after a sturdy breakfast of French toast (banana bread, no less), eggs sunny side up, and lots of greasy bacon. Being the newbie, along with the mascot, among the veterans, I just nodded when suggestions were made. All good, all new to me. Let’s go!
Besides, of course, my secret agenda and ulterior motives to bump into the lesser-spotted, grey wine-loving elephant …
We consciously stayed away from the bigger farms, those being popular with students and the more rowdy festival revellers, and hence turning into a “vertrapping” (being trampled upon). We tried one of these on the spur of the moment, enticed by the mention of a river and a boat, only to do a 180 at the entrance.
Some of the small farms were definitely worth a visit. Wonderfontein will certainly see me again in summer (there is a pool that needs to be swum in with a bottle of their amazing Paul René MCC chilling on the side), Sumsaré Wines will see me again too. Their Cabernet Sauvignon was really good, as was their view, along with the tempting jungle gym. Weltevrede was a bit of a blur, but we got the mascot some bright yellow stickers to confirm his state of satisfaction. Apparently the hamburgers were very tasty too.
Did I mention that we dressed up a bit? Funny hats, colourful nails, stripey socks and a psychedelic scarf… Remarkably, there were some people in jeans and stiffly starched jerseys who wanted to know why we were dressed like this. We wanted to know the same of them. And here we thought we were at the Wacky Wine festival! We continued unperturbed.
Wolfkloof, Wandsbeck, Windfall, Bonnievale Wines … On our way to the latter, we passed some of the more popular jaunts and things looked grim. Busy, wobbly, drunken stupor idiocy abounded. We wondered how many students would wake up among the kannas (seemingly the estate border flora of choice in those climes) on the Sunday morning, with mud-encrusted cheeks, bordering on hypothermia.
Personally, I was in top form. I posed with complete strangers for selfies (look out for the Cat in the Hat and a donkey on your social media…) and terrorised children by joining them on jumping castles. At Bonnievale Wines, I realised that I had unwittingly left my Wacky Wine passport glass at Weltevrede, which left me suitably un-Weltevrede. But thankfully the sales assistant saw my distress and soon I had a Bonnievale Wines glass in my hand, all for R20 (twenty raant). I was miffed at myself for losing my very first Wacky Wines glass, but my mood was instantly brightened upon the unexpected arrival of the grey wine-loving elephant. Passport? What passport?
The next morning, after a very blissful night’s sleep on what can only be described as a bed so comfortable that it needed to go home with me (but sadly didn’t), I woke up reaching for my water bottle. Only to grab hold of my passport glass, skillfully hidden at the bottom of my goodie bag. I smiled with relief. All’s well that ends well, they say.
I might just be back, despite the throngs. There are some other wacky items of clothing that can do with an airing.