The Great African Escape: Wine Safari in Stellenbosch

Published by Tamara Harrison - 20th Oct 2018

The winners are…. (🥁 🥁 🥁 ) Julie Roberts-Smith from WA and Santina Velo from VIC. 🙌

One thing that sets Naked Wines apart from others is the close relationship we have with our Winemakers, and in turn, the connection and opportunities that winemakers have with the Angels who fund them. It’s what makes our business unique, and results in a win-win for everyone – great wine, and more of it!

A very fine example of this is the competition that winemaker Paul Nelson offered to Naked Wines Angels – the opportunity to win a trip to South Africa to explore an international wine region, learn about winemaking and of course, drink incredible wines. Sounds tough, but someone had to win it! Those lucky people were Angels Bryan Cave and David Parker, and we caught up with Paul who shared more about this incredible opportunity of a lifetime.

So Paul – let’s go back a few steps. How did this competition come up?
The 2018 Great African Escape Wine Safari competition ran for 9 months on our Winemaker page and Naked Wines.

Since starting with Naked Wines, Angel support for us and our wines has been so amazing, my wife Bianca and I wanted to run a competition that allowed us to give something back to these Angels and offer an amazing opportunity. South Africa was an obvious choice as I had worked there for 4 years and established some great connections across some beautiful wine regions.

The competition prize was a return airline ticket to Cape Town, accommodation for 6 nights in the lovely wine town of Stellenbosch and all meals.

Who were the lucky Angels who won the trip?

Both prizes were drawn randomly and Angels Bryan Cave from Queensland and David Parker from Perth won the 2 spots.

Bryan has been with Naked Wines for 3 years and David has also been with Naked for 3 years. Bryan also brought his wife Linda as it presented an opportunity to not only taste some fantastic wines but also get out of their comfort zone.

We were also lucky enough to have Naked Wines wine guru Mark ‘Poll’ Pollard and his wife Suzie join us for the trip.

Bryan, Linda and Mark and Suzie made the epic voyage from the East coast but nothing could dampen their enthusiasm for what was a greatly anticipated trip!

Without making us toooo jealous, talk us through the itinerary.

We were based in Stellenbosch for the entirety of the trip and visited vineyards in the surrounding regions of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and the Breedekloof Valley. 3 days were spent exploring the amazing Stellenbosch vineyards such as Spier, Mulderbosch, De Morgenzon and Waterford Estate. In this super high quality wine producing region we tasted through amazing variations of Chenin Blanc (wooded and unwooded), Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Bordeaux style blends.

On Day 3 of the tour we ventured over Du Toitskloof pass mountain into the Breedekloof Wine region. Traditionally a larger volume producing area, these family owned operations have taken to producing wines that express regionality and are now looking to focus on great quality in wines such as Chenin Blanc and Shiraz blends. We visited Jason’s Hill in the Slanghoek (snake corner) valley and learnt about the importance of crop management as well as the issues they face from baboons and their affinity for Grapes! This area is also home to wild leopards.

For lunch we had arranged a traditional Braai at Stoffberg wines. Du Toit Stoffberg has been farming this estate for over 35 years and now his children Pieter and Zanelle are slowing taking the reins. This was a real opportunity to be invited into the home of such a welcoming family. Braai’ing is the South African BBQ and all meat is cooked over wood coals. We had a mix of wines from all over the western cape and it was a fantastic experience to chat with a farming family. We of course ate Boerwors! The lunch wouldn’t have been complete however without a tasting of local Brandys. This became the highlight with various aged Brandys from 5, 10, 15 and 20 years opened, and Angel David Parker thought it was Christmas!

The last official wine tasting day saw us venture into the pretty town of Franschhoek. We started the day with an amazing tasting of Sparkling Wines or Methode Cap Classique (MCC), at Haute Cabriere. These wines really do give the French bubbles a run for their money. Not only because of their amazing value for money, but also the time on lees. Some up to 9 years! The highlight of this tasting was not only the great bubbles but their fortified Chardonnay. Fortified with brandy spirit no less! A great way to start the day and end our first tasting.

Our last appointment was at the extremely impressive Boschendal wine farm. Following a lunch under the oak trees we were guided though some of the best Chardonnay’s and Shiraz wines tasted in the tour. A wander around the amazing old manor house capped off a great tasting.

On our last day we visited the beautiful city of Cape Town. A cable car up Table Mountain and a walk around the V & A waterfront was the perfect way to relax and spend our last full day together.

[Side note: Check out this video Paul shared from on top of the world on Table Mountain in Capetown with Angels Bryan Cave and David Parker – stunning!!]

“It has been a life changing experience”
– Angel, and competition winner, Bryan Cave

What were a few absolute highlights of the trip?
Apart from the spectacular grandeur and beauty of the wineries visited, the wines were also world class. The one winery that stood out for Bryan was Spier and for David it was Haute Cabriere.

The other big highlight was the food! There really wasn’t a bad meal and the highlight for both Bryan and David was the Traditional Braai and the Springbok fillet we had at a popular winemakers restaurant in Stellenbosch the first night.

There were so many highlights across the trip and these were just a few that made it so memorable.

For me, it was the chance to showcase a beautiful wine region and country that holds a special place in my heart. The scenery, the wines and the people make it so special, and to be able to share that with these Angels has been awesome.

Any final words?

This trip has only been made possible with the support and commitment of Naked Wines and our wonderful Angels. This has not only given us the opportunity to spend some time with the Angels but to also enjoy what we all love doing…drinking wine!

Oh…and one final question: Will you be running any other competitions like this, Paul!?

The positivity and enjoyment has been so overwhelming that we now look forward to hosting a Great African Escape Wine Safari in 2019!

We take it that’s a yes…woohoo!! Follow Paul Nelson’s winemaker page on the Naked Wines website for updates from his vineyard in Denmark, Southern W.A., including details when his next competition is open for entries!


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