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Thread: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

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    A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    It's very fortunate that the most famous area of winemaking in South Africa is just an hour away from Cape Town. My wife and I hired a driver and car to spend a day visiting Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.

    I was very surprised to learn that our first stop, Fairview Winery in Paarl, is the maker of two inexpensive brands -- Goats du Roam and Goat Rotie -- one of which I see often in American stores . Both names are plays on famous official French wine regions, Côtes du Rhône and Côte-Rôtie. The two brands explain why the estate's entrance includes a tower and small area that allows, ahem, its goats to roam. This one inside the tower reverently curtsied to my camera.

    A day in South Africa's Wine Country


    Once inside the winery's tasting area, I liked this romantic display of old bottles.

    A day in South Africa's Wine Country


    Though we didn't do any tasting at Fairview because it was only 9:30 in the morning, others were already drinking and this table was set up for a group to momentarily begin its session.

    A day in South Africa's Wine Country


    Our last stop of the day was at Mulderbosch winery, which is located in Stellenbosch and has long been one of my favorite wine producers. I don't like most Chardonnays but have always liked Mulderbosch's. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find it in my area for a few years. So, I made a point of stopping in for a wine tasting.

    Not only did I find a drop-dead wonderful Chardonnay (the 2008 barrel fermented wine, which is far superior to the next two vintages), but I struck up a terrific chat with the assistant manager. He then asked to pose for a photo. I learned later that he had been a professional model for thirty years, so I was obliged to apologize that I was able to use only the existing lighting in the room, knowing of course that he was surely aware of the lighting systems that would have been used in a professional situation.

    A day in South Africa's Wine Country


    Our 12-hour day of exploring the wine country was great from start to finish. Late in the afternoon as we were returning to our rented apartment in Cape Town, we came upon this beautiful scene.

    A day in South Africa's Wine Country
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 8th October 2013 at 04:01 PM.

  2. #2
    Wavelength's Avatar
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    Re: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    That was a great narration; enjoyed the story
    Nice photos; i really liked the drama in the first shot

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    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    Mike, excellent photos with good narrative.


    Bruce

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    Re: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    Thanks, guys!

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    Re: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    I hope they treated you with Capetonian hospitality.

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    Re: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    The first photo is stunning. I love it. It's all about that look in its eye. What a capture.

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    Re: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    Definitely the majestic goat...

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    Re: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    Very nice set of shots Mike. You've captured the mood of your day very well and the last shot really tops it off.

    Dave

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    What I really miss is all of your shots of empty wine bottles...

    Beautiful images, by the way. Enjoy your trip! South Africa is a really stunning country.

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    Re: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    It's very fortunate that the most famous area of winemaking in South Africa is just an hour away from Cape Town. My wife and I hired a driver and car to spend a day visiting Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.
    You lucky .....! I'm very jealous, but I hope you had a really great time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    A day in South Africa's Wine Country
    That is a beauty. Gorgeously crafted image.

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    Re: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    Thanks again to everyone!

    Manfred: My wife and I have already returned. We spent 2 1/2 weeks including getting there and back. The trip to South Africa is actually our favorite trip in our three decades of traveling. Though our 30th anniversary was in June, this was our 30th anniversary trip and it exceeded all expectations.

    I will get back to photographing empty wine bottles soon. We developed great friends while traveling with them in South Africa (which is a big reason it is our favorite of all vacations) and they gave us a parting gift that will make it possible to stack ten wine bottles. (Yesssssssssssssss!) I also broke another wine glass while in South Africa but this time only the top broke, not the stem. I'm sure you're not the least bit surprised to learn that I brought it back with me.

    Donald:
    Thanks for the kind comment. I actually thought of you as I was setting up a shot of a gorgeous tree. I doubt that I'll be able to conjure up the quality of image you would surely make but I was thinking in black-and-white from the very beginning.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    Sounds like you had a great time. South Africa was the first trip that my wife and I made (that was over 30 years ago) and it is really what got us hooked on traveling the world. Capetown has got to have one of the most stunning settings for any city anywhere, and the wine areas just out of town are simply gorgeous with their Cape Dutch architecture.

    We are hoping to get back some year, but alas my wife's half-sister and husband moved to Northern England over a decade ago, so while we see them more often, the local is not exactly exotic.

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    Re: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    Lovely images Mike and glad to hear your trip exceeded your expectations. Your curtseying goat should definitely be printed and framed as a reminder of the day

  14. #14

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    Re: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    Hi Mike,

    I am glad you enjoyed your stay in South Africa. It seems you have been treated with Capetonian hospitality. Western Cape Tourism is really trying hard to make the Cape a very tourism friendly Province.
    Your comments about your stay will be much appreciated by Cape Tourism.

    The weather was horrible during your visit (from June to September) it was one of the wettest winters the Cape has had in many years (and very cold). The farmers are expecting a very good season and I think the 2014 wines are going to be some of the best ever produced.

    It is very cheap for American, British Isle, European, Australian and New Zeeland tourists to visit South Africa (look at the exchange rate). You should plan a Photo Safari with Outdoor Photo to Botswana (Okavango/Chobe) for your next trip, you will be exhilarated. It is a safari arranged by photographers for photographers. Just don’t do it in the mid summer months (December to February) if you cannot stand heat, April-May will be a good time to visit.
    Last edited by AB26; 9th October 2013 at 08:49 AM.

  15. #15

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    Re: A day in South Africa's Wine Country

    Andre and everyone,

    All of the locals were so friendly that I'm surprised that any particular area is trying particularly hard to make it a tourist-friendly place. Everywhere seemed to be naturally tourist-friendly because everyone seems to be naturally friendly. That's so true that my only disappointment with regard to photography is that I didn't take advantage of the everyday opportunities to photograph the locals and their ear-to-ear smiles. For whatever reason, I just wasn't in the mood to do that type of photography along with all the other subject matter that was tugging at me to capture while being always on the go.

    The currency exchange rate really is especially attractive for Americans and others. It also changes rapidly; the dramatic change caused the cost of our trip to decrease about 15% in the two months prior to our departure. In fact, our cost was about 17% less than we budgeted despite that we paid for our airfare about one year in advance.

    While some of the days were cooler than average, that variance wasn't any greater than happens everywhere in the world. As for rain, we had three days each with 10 minutes of rain that was so light that one time we weren't sure whether it was a light rain or mist that we were encountering. One of those ten-minute periods was while driving to an airport. While in the bush and elsewhere, the light varied from completely flat to perfection, depending on the situation.

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