Three country cottages to Wine away during Winter

by Jared
 * This article originally appeared here in VIEW Magalogue

As winter continues to bath the country in cold weather and rain, it also affords us the opportunity for cosy breakaways to comfy cottages… and if the image that conjures up for you is sitting before a fireplace with a glass of wine, here are three stays either on or nearby wine estates worth visiting.

Laurel Cottage, McGregor

McGregor is the ever-so-charming country village on the infamous ‘road to nowhere’. Two hours from Cape Town this perfectly preserved 19th century Cape Village is replete with cute cottages, charming dusty backroads, and of course friendly locals. Laurel Cottage is perhaps my favourite escape in the village. This airy farmhouse offers plenty of space for up to six guests – and even their well-behaved four-legged friends. The sprawling veranda overlooks the cottage’s olive grove, orchard, and lap pool.

For wine time, first take the three-minute walk into town and for an intimate tasting at Bemind – a garagiste winery located on the main village stretch. Winemaker Ilse Schutte produces an MCC, a white, and two red wines. Tastings and run 10 am – 5 pm, Wednesday to Sunday. For a scenic drive, head out of town and up into the hills to Lord’s Winery. Both the views and their Chardonnay are worth the drive.

Spookfontein, Hemel-en-Aarde

Offers two four-sleeper cottages on the estate – one of only a handful of estates in the valley that offer accommodation. Both have indoor fireplaces and then large verandas for taking in the view – possibly the epitome of fuss-free country living. If you’re not curled up in front of the fireplace, then there are kilometres of fynbos-crested hills for exploring on bike or foot.

From the cottages, it’s a short and refreshing walk up to the winery: an impressive building with curves that echo the contours of the mountains that lie a short distance away. The range of Spookfontein wines are surprisingly affordable and of the quality you’d expect from the reputable wines of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. The Pinot Noir is a seductive offering, and their Cape Ruby is a fireside crowd pleaser – especially in its distinctive bottle.

South Hill, Elgin

One hour from Cape Town, the green vineyard-laden hills of Elgin make for a great winter escape. South Hill offers a variety of accommodation options – including a boathouse – but for now our focus is the gorgeous Pumphouse Honeymoon Cottage. This romantic two-sleeper sits in a private location overlooking a dam, mountains, and of course vineyards. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a Jacuzzi, hammock, braai facilities, and indoor fireplace.

A short wander from the cottage and you’ll find the farm restaurant and art gallery. Be sure to order a coffee – the barista’s coffee art is something else. Take a flight through the bouquet of South Hill wines – if it’s available the King of the Hill Chardonnay is a must-taste. The Sauvignon Blanc is also a beautiful expression of the cool climate white wines that have become synonymous with the region. When you’ve had your fill, casually saunter back to your private cottage to enjoy a sundowner from the jacuzzi.

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