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Posted on: Friday, 25 January 2013

Wine and Beer Tasting at Karusa Vineyards

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View From Karusa

View From Karusa

We went up to a wedding in December on my boyfriends’ family farm which is slap bang in between Oudtshoorn and George. It was a stunning week away and although incredibly hot as well as filled with wedding stuff we managed to get out and about and do some pretty wonderful things.

You might think that Oudtshoorn doesn’t offer much, but you would be wrong. This town was the home of ostrich farming, but after the bird flu and the ban on export the farming of these birds isn’t as prevalent. This is my very basic understanding about the industry. People in the area have found new avenues and ventures and I for one am really glad they have done this.

One such spot I was very keen to visit was the Karusa Vineyards. It appealed to me for a number of reasons. First off they make wine in the Karoo?! In Oudtshoorn of all places and not only this they also have started a micro brewery too (the first of it’s kind). Sounds just like my place to visit and especially while on holiday.

 

Karusa Vineyards

Photographs: Left – Vineyards for miles / Right – Entrance to Karusa tasting room and restaurant

We made a mission to the vineyards which you’ll find when you’re heading to the Cango Caves. But don’t worry it is very well sign posted; also if you speak to the locals they’ll tell you about the market that is held at the vineyards once a month.

The tasting room was quiet, one vehicle had just left and we had they place to ourselves. The setting is gorgeous, lush green grass and rows of vines in every direction – a stark contrast to the dry Karoo landscape. I was pleasantly surprised by the bursts of green I found all over the town. But back to the real reason we were there!

The estate makes a host of wines and we got to try them all, with exception to one or two of their premium ones and the bubbly. Our host was friendly and informative and was happy to answer our questions. The wine was of excellent quality and I was pretty happy by the last tasting. Then it was time to try the ale.

 

Karusa Vineyards

Photographs: Left – The entrance of the tasting room / Right – The tasting area and wine display

I asked the reasoning behind starting the brewery and it’s a very smart idea. Because the cellar is only used for about 6 months of the year the owners decided to start a micro brewery to keep the cellar busy. And I’m really glad they did. The draught is called “Zwartberger” and is described as a “spicy citrus, rich, crisp and refreshing”. I found it delicious with a distinct honey flavour. Perfect for those of you who aren’t the biggest beer lovers with the added bonus of no preservatives. We bought a few bottles to take back home.

It was after lunch and since we hadn’t eaten since breakfast we were a little peckish we thought we’d take a look at the menu. It was simple but offered exactly what we were looking for, platters and for a mere R55 each they were the best value for money I have found in a long time.

We ordered one platter of each. Both were piled high with delicious treats. Each included a mini homemade loaf of herbed bread (YUM), a wedge of camembert and a chunk of cheddar. Mine also had pickles, olives, a spicy sausage and prosciutto. Rik’s included the most mouth watering ostrich carpaccio, figs, salami and biltong. We made sure our plates were clean.

 

Karusa Vineyards

Photographs: Left – Ploughman’s Platter / Right – Amazing selection of cold meats and tasty treats

It was the most wonderful afternoon and I would definitely suggest popping in if you’re in the area. I am sure this will become am extremely popular attraction in the area.

You might need to stop off to break your journey on the Garden Route if you’re heading from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay, so why not book yourself into an Oudtshoorn Guest House?

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Tania Stephenson

About 

Tania loves to cook and create magic in the kitchen for family and friends (or even just herself). Be it finding a new recipe or making a tried and tested dish from her recipe folder - the kitchen is her sanctuary. Find her hanging out with friends round the braai or curled up on the couch reading the latest crime drama. With a spring in her step and a song in her heart you’ll find her supporting local artists in theatre, music and dance – from a hip hop competition or the latest musical on stage at Artscape in Cape Town. Enjoying all things culture she likes to share her experiences and delights with those around her.

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