Four wine makers got into a van and travelled all the way from the Western Cape for over ten hours to share their best bottles with Bloemfontein wine lovers. This interesting mix is made up of Johan Heyns otherwise known as “Oom Bok”, Chris “The Bachelor” Keets, Sebastian “Almost-Dangerfield” Beaumont and Neils Verburg who holds together the group of underdog producers.
They had drinkers delighted with their delicious wine and tales of growing grapes along the Bot River Valley. The Bot River Roadshow kicked off on Tuesday at the sophisticated but relaxed Warm Karoo, Bloemfontein before hitting the road once again to visit Joburg, Pretoria and then the Lesotho Wine Show all in one week.
Tanita Hendriks one of the organisers of the event expressed that the aim of the tour is to expose locals to lesser known but great South African wines. “The farmers we have here are neighbours who work together and buy and sell grapes from each other. An opportunity to taste their wine is rare unless you travel down there and visit every single farm,” she said. “These are amazing and underrated wines in our industry,” added Hendriks.
Wine enthusiasts were greeted with a glass of bubbly from Genevieve MCC before getting to taste different offerings from Luddite Wines, Anysbos, Beaumont Family Wines, and Gabrielskloof Wine Estate throughout the night.
“Many people in Bloemfontein are used to drinking the bigger brands but tonight they get to enjoy wines that have been handcrafted by smaller producers. Hopefully this will make people realise what else is out there,” said Verburg of Luddite Wines.
All of the wineries are family-owned and some have had the touch of multiple generations of producers which shows not only in depth of taste but the wine titles that they have. Beaumont expressed that the Beaumont Dangerfield Syrah a lovely spicy red is named after his father’s favourite novel.
“Dangerfield would have been my middle name had it not been for my grandparent’s intervention when I was born,” he said laughingly. The Hope Marguerite which is a barrel fermented and matured Chenin Blanc is named after his grandmother.
“We are new-comers to the area, our first vines were planted in the early 2000s but Gabrielskloof Wine Estate is made up of an intimate collection of people who are passionate about winemaking,” said Keet. “We make two ranges of wine including our estate range which has become our staple wines of fantastic and classic varieties,” he explained.
While Anysbos only offers two wines they proved to be a hit on the night prompting Oom Bok to open more bottles than anticipated. “We first started growing olives before we discovered that we could grow some fantastic grapes on the farm. The weather conditions make a better and softer wine,” he said.
You can also be a part of their journey by following Bot River Wines on Instagram or Facebook.