'Turn left at Rooiberg and follow the road into the mountain', that is what I was told at the Robertson Information centre on a previous visit to the valley and that is exactly what I did now. 'You will find a brewery with the most amazing views' and that is what I was looking for when I took the turnoff. Blindly we drove the road, with no signs, just the mountains closing around us. I love expeditions like this! My heart beats faster and my mouth start watering at the idea of something special and unique at the end of the road. You always feels like you are the one that discovered it, untill they tell you at the restaurant that it is fully booked for Valentines dinner. 'WHAT! REALLY? But it is in the middle of nowhere!'


Well, the secret is out to this special spot between the vineyards and mountains on the road from Worcester to Robertson.

 

 

A stone building between vineyards and plum orchards greets you when you arrive. A big grass area with welcoming umbrellas over wooden benches invites you to sit down. It is a perfect spot for friends, family, kids and dogs to spend a whole afternoon over many pints of beer.

 

 

It was not lunchtime for us yet, but when I heard they bake their own bread, it quickly became the place to eat. After a beer tasting in the cosy bar, I couldn't wait to have my own whole pint of the local brew. I've tasted some Craft beers around South Africa and the world…some good and some really bad, but this was so refreshing and exciting.

 

 

Everything on the menu is freshly prepared. From the spicy chicken livers, that I had, to the homemade steak and ale pie that my heart wanted, but my tummy did not have space for. Hubby's sandwich came with a doorstop of freshly baked bread and gooey cheese. To find this hidden gem with locally brewed beer and the carefully chosen affordable menu with fresh ingredients, made my heart warm with excitement. These people care!

 

 

The people behind Saggy Stone Micro Brewery Company are Adrian Robinson, his wife Jackie and Adrian's brother, Phillip.

Adrian was kind enough to answer a few questions, so read Saggy Stone's story straight from the maker of this refreshing local craft beer.

 

1. How long have you been making beer?

My brother, Phillip, visited Australia about 6 years ago on holiday and was struck by the micro-brewery industry which was nestled amongst the wineries. So we started home brewing with the intention of designing our own recipes – literally doing 20 litre batches (which took the whole day!!). December, 2010, we opened our brew pub on our farm in Robertson so that we could start selling our beer.

2. Where do you get your ingredients from? Do you grow any yourself?

We buy our grain from Caledon, SAB Maltings, and our hops and yeast from Beer Lab

3. I heard the story about all your previous jobs before you ended as a brewer. What did you do before and why did you start making beer?

Both my wife and I studied teaching at UCT, but after teaching for 3 years we went into the business world and I started at Epic Oil Mills repping to the baking industry. Having this close contact with bakeries inspired us to start our own bakery just as we were starting our own family. We moved back to Cape Town and started A Slice Above bakery in New Church Street and ended up delivering to over 50 customers a day. 8 years later, after a life-changing motor bike accident and a deep meaningful discussion in a Jacuzzi with my brother and a bottle of wine, we decided to buy a farm. Hence the move out to Robertson where we have a fruit and wine farm, delivering our grapes to Rooiberg and exporting our fruit. Being closely associated with Rooiberg, we started the restaurant/bakery at Rooiberg (Bodega de Vinho) which my wife ran for the last 6.5 years. She is now running our brew pub permanently.

4. Why did you decide to make beer on your farm and in Robertson?

The farm has its own natural mountain water supply which makes our beer unique – the amazing taste of the water certainly enhances the flavour of the beer

5. Where does the name Saggy Stone come from?

We have a small place in the mountain behind our farm which was burnt down during a fire about 6 years ago. We rebuilt the lapa using the river boulders in a gabion style manner, unfortunately a troop of baboons sat on the walls before they were complete and the whole structure sagged – our young daughter, Casey, nicknamed the lapa Saggy Stone. When we started building the brew pub we also used river boulders for the walls and the comparison was drawn and the name stuck. It gets called “Shaggy Stone”, “Saggy Bottom” etc so it is good for a chuckle!!

6. Any interesting/funny stories about you, your beer or animals on the farm?

I think the answer to 5 answers this one but only to add that we have a Great Dane, Chilli, who has become a bit of a celebrity at Saggy Stone. He makes his way across to the pub every weekend where he lies, regally, on the grass watching the activities of the day. He is extremely gentle and allows the kids to play with him unperturbed. We often get repeat customers who ask for him if he isn’t there!

7. What is your recipe for success?

Just love what you do – if you wake up in the morning and enjoy going to work then whatever you do will be a success

8. Your favourite meal with your beer? Beer and Food pairing?

To be honest – braai! But my favourite beer and food pairing is the Desert Lager with Peri-peri prawns

9. Where are you originally from?

I was born in Namibia, staying in Swakopmund and then in Mhlume, Swaziland on a sugar cane farm as a youngster. Finally living in Cape Town.

10. Who will be inheriting your fantastic brewery and business?

We have 3 daughters and my brother has a son and daughter so there are a lot of contenders but I plan to do this for MANY years to come.

 

During our lunch the owners came around with a crate of beer to be labelled and suggested a tour of the brewery! To me, this is what real South African hospitality is made of. I will forever stay a fan of Saggy Stone Brewery and their delectable food and their passion.

So next time you are on the road between Worcester to Robertson, take the turnoff at Rooiberg. Follow the road untill you get to Saggy Stone. It is worth the time and it is the best place to have lunch and a well deserved break! Sometimes it's good to take the road less travelled to find that little oasis.

 

 

Read My craft beer.co.za for expert knowledge of the selection of Beer at Saggy Stone Brewery and how it's made.




Saggy Stone Brewery


www.saggystone.co.za

Like Saggy Stone Facebook

Twitter: @saggystone


Jackie Cell: 083 4533526

Adrian Cell: 072 5507602

Email: info@saggystone.co.za




How to get to Saggy Stone:

From Worcester:

Take the Nuy Valley turnoff from the R60 and follow the road for 6.2km. Turn right at the Amandalia sign and follow the road for a further 10km. You will pass the Nuy winery just after turning right. At the Saggy Stone sign, turn left and the restaurant and pub are 600m ahead.

From Robertson:

Take the Agter Vinkara turnoff of Rooiberg from R60 and travel for 4km to reach a cross road. Continue straight on for another 10km until you see the Saggy Stone sign on your right.

 

Open Fridays to Monday and Public Holidays

11h00 – 16h00

Closed Tue, Wed, Thur

 

 

mapbbe.gif

 

 

6 comments


I want to share this unique cork with you. Sometimes I think this is my motto in life too.

“Wine is Life!”

 

The cork seals the special wines from the Suvla winery in Turkey. It is situated on the Gallipoli Peninsula. I fell in love with Turkish wines, while living in Istanbul. Turkish wines is where history meets wine and with every sip you taste the character of this colourful, exotic country.

Read more about Suvla and their Wineshop in Istanbul here:

Little Oasis of Suvla wine

 

1 comment

The road to Bonnievale is lined with kilometers of flowers, boasting this amazing splash of colour. It already puts you in a good mood and gets you ready for the adventure that awaits. This valley offers you beautiful wine and fruit farms and majestic mountains on the one side and the Breede river following you all the way untill you reach the unpretentious town of Bonnievale itself.


Reading about this charming, peaceful town, I found this touching story about the family that founded Bonnievale. Christopher Forrest Rigg was born in Scotland and named Bonnievale in memory of his Grandfathers home in Scotland.

 

Riggs and his wife, Lilian lsobel Elizabeth Moon, had a pretty seven year old daughter, Mary Myrtle who loved to play in the lucerne fields near her home. When Myrtle contracted meningitis in 1911, she asked her dad on her deathbed, to build her a small church. Her dad kept his promise and built this small church in her memory. Myrtle was buried in her favourite playground, the lucerne fields next to the Myrtle Rigg Memorial church. Mary Myrtle Rigg Church is the only church in the world known to be built at the request of a child.

 

It is a beautiful church and you can visit the church and Myrtle's grave alongside that of her parents and grandparents. It is small towns like Bonnievale and stories and places like this that makes exploring so exciting for me. Bonnievale will now be more than only a wine area to me, it is a place of solitude and home to a beautiful girl with her own church.

 

 

On our Valentines weekend away in Bonnievale we stayed in an old workers cottage on the Weltevrede Wine Estate. It is very romantic and private and they surprise you with a bottle of wine and grape juice in the fridge and freshly baked rusks with your morning coffee.


Now, this is a place where the only thing you can do is relax. You just sit on your verandah with a glass of wine in the hand overlooking the Breederiver and the vineyards. It is picture perfect. It was a hot weekend and with the glistening river in front of us, it tempted us to go for a swim. It was glorious!

 

www.weltevrede.com

Contact:

Phone: +27 23 616 2141

Fax: +27 23 616 2460

Email: info@weltevrede.com

 
 


The main reason for going to Bonnievale is for the wine! Quando Boutique Wine Estate has always produced some of my favourite wines.


Fanus and Martin Bruwer believe in hands-on winemaking with a focus on quality rather than quantity. These brothers taste and rack their wines according to the moon. They say that with the full moon all the flavours on the nose are much more pronounced because the moon 'pulls' the flavours out of the wine and with new moon the wine is more stable for racking, which means less filtration.

 

“… we have the time to nurture our grapes and handle our wines as gentle as possible to create something special and unique”



The story of the name Quando: Friends kept on asking the brothers when they will make wine, so they decided they will call their wine Quando – 'when' in Italian! Just think of the song, 'Quando, Quando, Quando!' The lyrics sound like my love affair with wine!

 

'Tell me when will you be mine

Tell me quando quando quando

We can share a love divine

Please don't make me wait again'

 

To put you in the mood, listen to Michael Buble's version of the song here: Quando,Quando,Quando


www.quando.co.za

 

 

 

Visiting Springfield Estate in Robertson, I have to say my highlight was tasting the Thunderchild. It is a wine that touches your palate and your heart. I fell in love with the label and the story behind it. Thunderchild is a wine made for an orphanage and children's home in town and 100% of the profits goes to the children of this orphanage. And what makes it more special is that 100% of the grapes used, grows in the vineyards next to the The Herberg Children's Home.

 

The maiden vintage of Thunderchild was produced by Abrie Bruwer of Springfield Estate and as they go forward other winemakers in the area will act as custodians of Thunderchild.

www.springfieldestate.com

 



Why the name Thunderchild?

“The name Thunderchild accurately describes the orphans in the most beautiful way – the wonderful power of nature. They are nature’s wonders who fight through thundering clouds to overcome darkness with the light and beauty and power of an electrical storm. They are true Thunderchildren.”


www.herberg.co.za

www.thunderchild.co.za

 

 

 

Bonnievale is such a pretty, peaceful place to get away to. There is a lot of things to do from visiting museums and winefarms to boat trips on the Breede river. But you can also just sit on the verandah with a bottle of local wine and take in nature. Perfect place to read some poetry of Breyton Breytenbach. He was born in 1939 in Bonnievale and is widely recognized as one of South Africa's leading poets.

Bonnievale's name is a perfect description of this valley. Bonnie = Pretty and Vale = Valley!

 

www.bonnievaletourism.com

 

7 comments

 
Sir Herbert Baker is one of my favourite architects and it was no surprise to find out that he designed one of my favourite places to visit in Cape Town, Rhodes memorial.
 
I always loved this place for the energy, for the grandness and for the view. I even had my 21st birthday at Rhodes Memorial, as it has a special place in my heart. As a student I used to run the steps to stay fit and if I needed to be by myself to think a bit, this is where I came.
 

Rhodes Memorial was built on the lower slopes of Devils Peak as a memorial to the late Cecil John Rhodes. It was to mark his favourite spot which he declared had a view 'unsurpassed anywhere in the world'. To the left of the memorial is Table Bay, while on the right is False Bay. It feels like you have the whole world at your feet when you stand at the top and look down on Cape Town.

 
 

Surrounded by Oak woods, the views up the slopes of Devils Peak and out over Cape Town's rich suburbs and the great expanse of the townships are impressive.

The monument was inspired by an Ancient Greek Temple and was completed in 1912. You are greeted at the bottom by a statue of a man on a horse. It is an exact copy of the statue “Physical Energy” found in Kensington Gardens, London. The one in London also commemorates Sir Cecil Rhodes and is described as “… a symbol of something done for the time, while the rider looks out for the next ting to do.” As you walk up the steps, there are 8 large lion statues, 4 on each side if the steps. The steps do make you feel like you want to re-enact a scene from the Rocky movie and run to the top.


So who was Rhodes? He was a English businessman, mining magnate and politician in South Africa. He became immensely rich after making his money during the diamond rush in Kimberley. He owned huge areas of the lower slopes of Table Mountain. Part of his estate, that he donated with his death, now houses the University of Cape Town and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

Facts about Cecil John Rhodes and Rhodes Memorial:

  • Cecil John Rhodes was born in 1853 in Bishops Stortford in Herfordshire, England.
  • After his move to South Africa, he founded De Beers Diamond company.
  • Rhodes was Prime minister of the Cape colony from 1890.
  • He controlled a territory that covered modern day Zambia and Zimbabwe which he renamed Rhodesia.
  • He established the South African fruit industry with his Rhodes Fruit Farms in Franschhoek.
  • In 1887 Cecil Rhodes bought Boschendal situated between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. It is now a well known Wine estate.
  • There are 49 steps at Rhodes Memorial, one for each year of Rhodes' life.
  • Rhodes redesigned Groote Schuur with the help of his friend Sir Herbert Baker. It was used as the official residence of the South African President and is now a museum.
  • Rhodes was great friends with Rudyard Kipling who wrote 'The Jungle book' and the Kipling family lived in a house on his Groote Schuur Estate
  • The company of JA Clift that cut and erected the granite for Rhodes Memorial still exists to this day in Paarl. They also did many other contracts like the Parliament and Franschhoek Huguenot Monument.
 

“To think of these stars that you see overhead at night, these vast worlds which we can never reach. I would annexe the planets if I could; I often think of that. It makes me sad to see them so clear and yet so far.”

Cecil John Rhodes

 

While I'm writing about Rhodes Memorial and doing research on Cecil Rhodes and Sir Herbert Baker, I realized why I love blogging. The memories that come back and the new things I learn about something that I love. I get excited! I walk away a richer person and I love to share it with friends and fellow bloggers.
 
 

Sir Herbert Baker was born and died in Cobham in Kent, England. After moving to South Africa in 1892, he was commissioned in 1893 by Cecil Rhodes to remodel Groote Schuur. One of many projects that they worked together on. Sir Herbert Baker was an important and dominant force in South African architecture for two decades, between 1892 and 1912.

Other places that Sir Herbert Baker designed and built:

 
Because of Rhodes Memorial's dramatic background, it is a popular spot for fashion shoots.
 
 

 

Make Rhodes Memorial part of your trip next time you are in Cape Town. The Tea Room at the back has great coffee and the biggest scones. And with the views you can't beat the aspiring atmosphere. It is doggie and kiddie friendly with waterbowls lining the entrance for the dogs and a fairy wonderland play area for kids. My daughter believes that the Smurfs live in the forest behind the memorial. See, I always knew that Rhodes memorial was a magical place!


www.rhodesmemorial.co.za

 

Directions:

Rhodes Drive, Southern Suburbs

Take the M3 towards Muizenberg,

Past the University of Cape Town take exit 8 towards M164, Princes Ann Avenue

Keep right and Rhodes Memorial will be on your right hand side

 

 

Rhodes Memorial Tea Room


Trading Hours: 9am – 5pm, 7 days a week

Phone: 021 687 0000

E-Mail: info@rhodesmemorial.co.za

 

 

3 comments

I grew up in a little town in the Western Cape, South Africa. Surrounded by apple orchids and Appletizer. When our neighbour, Paul Cluver, planted the first commercial vineyards in the area in 1986, everybody thought that he was a bit crazy, that grapes can never grow in this cold, wet valley.

This valley is called Elgin and as I arrived to very familiar mountains and hills last weekend, a different exciting Elgin awaits me. This valley that I grew up in produces wonderful Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noirs and Rieslings. I'm excited and proud of my beautiful valley. It is like a child that grew up and blossomed into this educated, elegant person. So proud!

After reading many good things about Almenkerk Wine Estate, it was definitely on my list of Elgin wineries to visit and it ended up the only one that day, as I got lost in the views, the wine and the hospitality.

Almenkerk Wine Estate is nestled high up into the mountain slope and provides spectacular views over the Elgin valley. Surrounded by fynbos and trees, are 15 hectares of vine and additional orchards with apples and pears. The Estate Wines are grown, made and bottled on Almenkerk Wine Estate.


This is a true family estate! The story of Almenkerk starts in 2002 when the Belgium/Dutch family moved to South Africa. They found a beautiful apple farm and turned it into a architectural beauty! Joris van Almenkerk is the Winemaker and Natalie van Almenkerk does Sales and Marketing and their aim is to build a family estate for the next generation.



“We refuse to compromise where the quality of the wine is concerned and are strongly committed to making elegant wines. We strive for sustainability on all levels: farming practices, recycling and especially ou workforce.”

 

 
Arriving at Almenkerk, the tasting room was busy, but the view and the architecture kept us intrigued untill we could take a seat for a tasting. It was one of the best tastings I've had. Ruth, that gave us the tasting made us feel like she is welcoming us into her own home with a big smile. She was busy, but made time for us, told us the stories and answered our questions. It's refreshing to see that she loved being there.


“We are bon-vivants and part of our mission statement is to have loads of fun while making wine!”


bon vi·vant

A person with refined taste,

especially one who enjoys superb food and drink.

[French : bon, good + vivant, present participle of vivre, to live.]

 

 
 
There are two ranges in the portfolio: The flagship Almenkerk Range and the delicious Lace Range. The Almenkerk Flagship Range is all single vineyard wines to express the climate and soil of the family estate in Elgin and the Lace range is estate wines to be enjoyed and showcase an abundance of fruit. The high, cool Elgin Mountain plateau, with it’s proximity to the sea and protection by the surrounding mountains is ideally suited for the production of premium varietal wines and Almenkerk take advantage of that.

 
Of the production of 50 000 bottles a year, half goes to Belgium. Joris's mom has been running a well known restaurant in Oostduinkerke since 1976, called De Mikke. So to my international friends, you will find South African Almenkerk's amazing wines there.
 
De Mikke

Leopold II laan 82

8670 Oostduinkerke

Belgium

www.demikke.be/nl/

 
 

The estate was originally an apple farm and although it not their core business, it is nice to see that they have kept some of the original orchards and even planted additional varieties of apples lately.

 

I enjoyed each and every wine of theirs and can see why Almenkerk is known for its delicious wines and warm family hospitality. Take with that the views and the acclaimed architecture of the winery and tasting facilities, they have a big recipe for success.

 

As part of the 2014 Elgin Cool Wine & Country Festival , Almenkerk offers a Library Lunch on Saturday, 3 May. Lunch is served with all their old vintages! This is a great event to feel part of a family run wine estate. Only 40 seats! I can imagine that the van Almenkerk family will spoil you with great food, wine and hospitality….and a game of boules afterwards!

www.elginvalley.co.za

 

 

 

Almenkerk Wine Estate

Tel: +27 (0) 21 848 9844

Fax: +27 (0) 86 523 08 77

Email: info@almenkerk.co.za

 

Opening times:

Tasting and Sales: Wednesday until Sunday from 10am – 4pm

www.almenkerk.co.za

 

Here's how to find them:

Elgin Valley is only an hour from Cape Town on the N2. Almenkerk is located on the Viljoenshoop Road just south of the N2. The turnoff is right next to the Peregrine Farm stall. Follow the road for about 6.0 km and you will find Almenkerk on your left.

 

Map and Entrance Gate

 

2 comments