Paarl: One of South Africa’s most reputable names in wine, Nederburg, is hosting this year’s Varsity MTB Challenge, taking place on 30 September and 1 October.
Now in its second year, this hugely popular adrenaline-driven annual race, sponsored by First National Bank, will see alumni, student and public teams of two riders each, pedalling their hearts out for their tertiary institutions. The two-day event also incorporates the Varsity Sports race, with teams from six universities competing in their official varsity colours.
The races start and finish at Nederburg. Katrin Cross, Nederburg’s brand home manager, says: “Nederburg offers more than magnificent tastes, history and views, but also an excellent infrastructure for events such as the Varsity MTB Challenge. Situated on the edge of the Drakenstein mountains near Paarl, it provides easy access to the mountain routes to be taken by the cyclists towards Wellington and back. Part of the cycling track will be maintained after the race in an effort to welcome ongoing visits by cycling enthusiasts.
“We are geared and really excited to be welcoming a large contingent of South Africa’s cycling community to our beautiful farm, and introducing them to our award-winning wines.”
In signature style, Nederburg will be warming hearts with pure country hospitality via a host of offerings.
The Red Table restaurant, situated in the historic manor house, a national monument, will delight taste buds with a tantalising array of country-fresh food prepared using locally sourced ingredients.
On the terrace and in the fragrant gardens surrounding the manor house, you’ll find leisurely spots in the cool shade of the age-old trees to enjoy fare created to complement Nederburg’s delicious wines. These will be available to purchase from the restaurant or Visitors’ Centre.
Just a few steps away you’ll find the Old Cellar Museum. Take a stroll through this space for a fascinating glimpse of the Nederburg story, from the early days of Nederburg’s founder Philippus Wolvaart to his successors, including winemaking legends like Johann Graue and Günter Brözel. It was they who developed Nederburg’s reputation as one of the most awarded names in South African wine, maintained today by cellar-master Andrea Freeborough and her team of highly-skilled winemakers.
ASG Events’ operations manager Darren Herbst said that Nederburg’s continued involvement added much value.
“Not only are they one of the premier wine farms in the world, they also have a strong link to cycling through a number of projects, so this is a good fit for them.
Herbst said that apart from the existing infrastructure they would set up a “premium tented race village”.
Nederburg’s Global Brand Development Manager, Anna-Marie Marks, said they appreciated the growing popularity of mountain biking and saw this interaction as another opportunity to engage with the cycling community.
“Like winemaking, cycling demands high levels of talent, connoisseurship, resilience and discipline. At Nederburg, we can identify with that, having built a reputation of excellence through impeccable quality credentials and a team that continually explore ways to better their best efforts.”
She said their link with the varsity race tied in with their commitment to the sport in a number of other areas and most notably their involvement with Africa’s only World Tour team. The latter compete in events such as the Tour de France to raise awareness and funds for Qhubeka, a non-profit organisation that uses bicycles to move communities forward by empowering and mobilising for socio-economic change. Marks said Nederburg housed one of only two Qhubeka bicycle assembly facilities in the country. “Don’t leave Nederburg without a visit to the facility. Here bicycles are built for distribution to South Africans via various community affiliated programmes. You could even try building one yourself!