In the Swartland, by Swartlanders – that’s the essence of an upcoming wine-and-food series like few others! This is the opportunity that awaits everyone from serious epicureans to vino babes keen to get an insight into one of South Africa’s most fascinating regions. Launching on July 1, the wine-and-food series features six wineries, from Swartland blockbusters to niche rockstars, alongside delectable menus prepared and served at The Barn in Riebeek Kasteel. The dinners take place once a month until December 2, with just 20 tickets available for each event.
“The Swartland is home to incredible wines and wine personalities,” says The Barn founder and chef Thomas Jamneck. “We’re proud to be able to create a platform that will further showcase this diversity, giving out-of-towners an opportunity to see where they’re born, and locals, a close-to-home chance to experience an event commonly reserved for larger towns and cities.”
Thomas has long been a supporter of local producers with the bulk of his wine list comprising wines from the region. The restaurant, with its cosy interiors and comfortable outdoor seating, is among the most popular for its delicious culinary offerings and elevated views of the village and valley beyond.
The first dinner on July 1 sets the tone for those to come and features Intellego Wines and maker, Jurgen Gouws. The name Intellego is Latin for “understanding”, which for Jurgen is an important concept to knowing a wine and its story. The winery is located in the Paardeberg area and produces a range of eight natural wines, sourcing fruit from diverse vineyards. Jurgen did his first harvest in Swartland in 2008 and was smitten by the approach of local producers to wine. Among his wines are The Pink Moustache red blend, The Sleeping Co-pilot Viognier and The Story of Harry white blend.
The evening menu sees his wines paired with amongst others, Patagonian calamari in home-made butter and dusted with garlic and pink peppercorns; a ceviche; spicy pork belly served with litchi mousse on sweet potato mash; and, Karoo lamb cutlets.
The rest of the wine program (each with a different menu) comprises, on:
- August 5 – Mullineux
Internationally acclaimed winemaking team Chris and Andrea Mullineux helped put the Swartland region on the map through their involvement in the Swartland Revolution and with their beautiful, award winning wines that express the old vines and ancient soils of the region. As 4-time South African Winery of the Year, they will share some of their most important wines with you, including their Old Vines White, Single Terroir Syrah’s and Straw Wine.
- September 2 – Knolfontein
Hailing from the vineyards of Du Toit Family Wines in the Riebeek Valley, Knolfontein is a boutique range that reflects heritage, excellence, and unique expression. Fourth generation farmer Pieter du Toit has traditionally sold all his grapes, but recently launched his own niche brand with wines made from his top-performing vineyards.
- October 7 – The Blacksmith Wines
Tremayne Smith was raised in the Eastern Cape and initially enrolled in chef studies. A different interest caused him to divert into winemaking. He launched The Blacksmith in 2014, a wine project dedicated to natural wines fermented with native yeast and little exposure to sulphur. His wines include Barebones Pet-Nat, Hell Yeah Pinotage and The Horseman Pale Rider.
- November 4 – Vine Venom
Vine Venom truly hit the headlines when its Serenade 2015, the first release, won a WineMag Top 10 Cap Classique. Since then, Swartland-based winery of Samantha Suddons has gone from strength to strength with its focus not only on Méthode Champenoise but also Chenin Blanc skin contact, Flor, Rosé and Syrah. Her range includes Silence Chenin Blanc and Satellites Red.
- December 2 – (ℓ) Equinox Wines
Namibian-born winemaker and viticulturist MC Stander’s career began in 2006. He worked for various producers before founding (ℓ) Equinox Wines in 2018. Working with grape growers from Swartland, MC creates natural wines inspired by the Beaujolais tradition. Among them are the Wish You Were Here red blend, Keep It Loose white blend and Find Your Happy Place red blend.
Ticket prices range between R600 and R850pp. To book, contact The Barn on 071 844 2726.
For those who don’t get tickets however, there’s a little good news. Wines from the featured wineries will be available at The Barn, by glass or bottle – while stocks last.
The Barn is located at 34 Church Street, Riebeek Kasteel. The venue is open from Wednesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, as well as for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.