Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Autumn Vineyards

It's autumn in the Cape and every morning city and harbour are swathed in a layer of low lying mist.  The mournful call of the foghorns and the salty smell of the sea drift up the mountain slopes and the mist slowly dissipates as the sun rises above the Boland mountain ranges.  The days are beautiful now, warm and mellow and the light has changed from bright gold and blue to a softer old brass and milky blue shades. 


We took a slow afternoon trip out into the Durbanville wine growing area, with its vineyards snuggled between rolling valleys and softly rounded hills.  The grapes have been picked and the leaves are turning to shades of yellow, gold,  green and red, glowing valiantly against against the setting afternoon sun.


A ubiquitous feature of  South African wine farms, brilliant bougainvillea sprawling over a wine barrel, Cape Green painted sash window, vine tendrils drooping from a pergola above and intricate patterns thrown against whitewashed walls.


After driving up a perilously winding, one vehicle-width road with with car undercarriage-wrecking drops at each side, we arrived at the top of one of the highest hills in the area.  


The views from here are simply stupendous, patchwork vineyards, edged by dark gree trees and dotted here and there with white-wash cottages.   Flocks of white birds float in perfect formation over the fields, dipping and swooping, never settling even for a moment.  The Boland mountains can be seen in the distance and in winter are are often covered in snow.


Edging our way down the hill again, slowly and with some trepidation, praying not to meet another car on its way  up, we found a place to pull over and take more pictures.  My daughter disappeared down a row of vines and, being able to crouch and kneel on the ground, was able to take some quite wonderful pix.


I contented myself with a couple of awkward shots through the leaves at the tops of the vines, without managing to fall over all the vine clippings and stones lying on the ground.  Isn't it amazing what poor soil grapevines will flourish in?



Next we drove up another hill to take a look at Durbanville Hills Winery, even though we knew that it would be closed on a Sunday afternoon.  As the birthplace of one of our all time favourite wines, Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc, this state of the art winery has an exceptional glass-fronted restaurant with panoramic views, notably of Table Mountain, the distant ocean and the surrounding countryside.  I particularly liked this pedestrian ramp with its beautiful sandstone cladding, stretching up towards the blue sky.


Small velvety green areas of lawn adorned the garden on the flat terrace at the top of the ramp and green and silver trees shaded the softly trickling water rills.


At the end of an afternoon filled with such visual beauty, the day had to be completed by a glass of liquid perfection.


1 comments:

Pam said... [Reply to comment]

I enjoyed so much this peek into your part of the world. It looks like you had a wonderful time and the photos you have shown capture the light and sense of the day beautifully! Thanks for sharing this.

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