Wines of Our Region

This course is an overall and hopefully informative introduction to, and an historical overview of, the development of our world-renowned Wine Industry, the beginnings of winemaking at the Cape and its extension to our region of the southern Karoo and Overberg within the time constraints of the program, which will be covered in English with the option of Afrikaans as appropriate. The course is intended for those wishing to be introduced to the region’s wine production in a light-hearted way and is in no way a complete nor in-depth analysis; the course is being approached from the perspective of a Tour Guide imparting information and anticipating participation. There will be overview course notes but participants are encouraged to take their own notes as well – if necessary.

About The Instructor

I have had an interest in the wine production of the Cape since the inception of the Wine Route concept which began in Stellenbosch in 1972. After graduating with a B.Soc.Sci. from UCT I spent several years in the Advertising industry in Johannesburg and returned to the Cape at the beginning of the 1990’s and became a registered Tour Guide which led to a more formalised understanding of my region and the Wine production of principally the Stellenbosch/Paarl/Franschhoek areas but also touching on the Breede River Valley and Calitzdorp areas.

I added to that in my 20 years of owning a guesthouse in Newlands, a better understanding of the Constantia Valley vineyards.

Out of personal interest I have also travelled to wine producing areas of Australia, California, France, Greece, Italy and Portugal and latterly the Rheingau and Pfalz areas of Germany.

I was also an active participant in the Quaffers Wine Appreciation Club during my last few years in Cape Town, a club I am keen to resurrect here in Swellendam.

What To Bring
  • Notebook and Pen
Course Dates

15 – 16 September 2020

20 – 21 October 2020

Course Details


The course will be open for discussion and welcoming of participation around

  • History and development of wine-making at the Cape;
  • Regional differences and the almighty Terroir;
  • Trends and variants in terminology, varietals, blends and “what’s next?”;
  • Climate change, land values and a changing landscape;
  • Expert opinions and trendsetters;
  • Star ratings, stickers and medals – a jaundiced view;
  • Is there a “right wine”?

This will lead logically to “Our Region”, embracing Swellendam, Robertson and the broader Breede River valley, Montagu and Barrydale, with tight focus on Bonnievale.

The overview is partially illustrated where pertinent; discussion is welcome.

A light lunch will be served at the venue.

There will be an afternoon visit to a unique local wine estate with the chance to meet and interact with the lady winemaker and the man behind the dream – a lesson in compassion, tenacity, vision and philosophy in a one-of-a-kind location. 


Today takes us to Bonnievale and three interesting, small wine estates where passion, the appreciation of terroir and the focus on the training of previously unrepresented staff produces three totally different varieties and styles of wine for each estate – see and feel the soil, taste the wines!

While this is not a promotional or marketing exercise, there is naturally also the chance to purchase wines at cellar door prices, some of which do not make it onto supermarket or bottle store shelves.

Lunch will be somewhere in this mix.

Throughout these two days, the focus is on the unusual, the different, the small and private and the personal – wines commonly found on store shelves are not included. 


Please check the Winter School Schedule for details of my stand-alone Wine and Food Pairing course which follows logically on from the above.



Your package includes:
Tuition, materials*, excursions*, refreshments and meals during the course. Accommodation, dinners, and transport at own cost.
*Applicable to certain courses. See individual course pages for details.

Food & Wine