News and reviews, autumn in Stellenbosch

Discover the ingenious ideas, unmissable events and notable places that make our town remarkable this autumn. Experience a new tasting lounge, get the ultimate bubbles fridge, rethink skincare, bag something special, get your padel on, and discover the new home of the Cape Wine Academy.

A tranquil sense of place  

Stepping into Paserene’s tasting lounge, inspired by migratory swallows’ nests and located in the Franschhoek Valley, one is about to discover a bespoke lifestyle experience. Derived from the word Passeriformes, which refers to the largest order of birds classified by their perching habits, Paserene boasts an impressive portfolio of elegant wines. At first sight, the contemporary yet classically understated tasting lounge resembles a swallow’s nest. Light wooden cladding creates a modern ‘cryptoporticus’ offset against rough slate accents, resembling the mud and clay that swallows use to build their nests. Stacked glass doors allow for the whole building to become an open structure, transforming the interior into a natural extension of the exterior. Overlooking a small dam, the recently completed tasting lounge symbolises a swallow’s habit of swooping over water. The estate’s recent addition of a conference venue also offers personalised private events of no more than 18 guests. And while sipping on wine from three distinctive terrors, you can tuck into a selection of small-plate offerings made with locally sourced produce, including cured organic olives and classic bitterballen. Choose between the Elements Tasting (R100 per person, five wines from the Elements Range), Paserene Tasting (R200 per person, three wines from the Paserene range as well as the popular Shiner wine) or food and wine pairing (R160 per person, something savoury and something sweet paired with specific Paserene wines).

Good to know: The Paserene Nest is open Mondays to Sundays from 10am to 5pm. For more information, call 076 050 8611 or email. Instagram @paserene

Cool, cooler, coolest

Marking 250 years of Veuve Clicquot, the Maison has recently collaborated with Italian home appliance giant Smeg to launch a head-turning fridge. Sporting a combination of design and innovation, the 1950s-style FAB28 refrigerator will undoubtedly please the discerning collector. Better yet, the 270-litre fridge includes 36 bottles of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label. And for those with something smaller in mind, the Veuve Clicquot–Smeg collaboration also features a limited-series mini fridge gift box that embodies the very same design principles. Available in limited quantities, this gift pack is available in classic solaire yellow, bears the 250th birthday emblem and retails from R799,95. Having pledged itself to a greener future in 1990, Veuve Clicquot has made monumental shifts in the way that it produces its Champagne from grape to glass. For the new Clicquot mini fridge, this means a plastic-free box designed in pewter, an infinitely recyclable material. With a removable inner wedge made from sugar cane waste, the box can be reused. Further emphasising Veuve Clicquot’s talent for innovation, the box is isothermal, keeping your bottle of Champagne cool for up to two hours and broadening the horizons of where to enjoy blissful bubbles.

Good to know: The Veuve Clicquot–Smeg FAB28 refrigerator can be purchased at Yuppiechef, Makro, Norman Goodfellows, Pick n Pay, Tops at Spar and Boulevard Cellars at R89 999. Instagram @veuveclicquot

Nourish, hydrate and protect

Therese Lambrechts has been experimenting with skincare and beauty ingredients since 2006, from conceptualising and formulating to painstakingly sourcing the best ingredients from various fields and ultimately creating products by hand. “‘Therese’ means to gather or harvest. I have spent years experimenting and combining different ingredients and the result has been our flagship ranges GOEDHEID and GEUR. GOEDHEID is our signature frankincense and myrrh body crème, made from the finest-quality essential oils and butter and blending them together to create a luxurious cream that will leave you feeling pampered and moisturised. It gives me great joy to work with natural skin-care ingredients and discover the many benefits they provide,” explains founder Therese, who believes in meeting present needs without compromising future generations. “We’ve moved away from focusing on skin problems and now proactively pursue holistic vitality. Our goal is to give your skin the goodness it needs so that you can feel confident in yourself and your body.”

Good to know: The THERESE range includes the frankincense and myrrh body crème (with baobab, jojoba and argan oil), the lanolin lip balm (beeswax, olive oil and avocado oil) and the cedar and bergamot room mist (combined with orange peel and lavender oils). Instagram @therese.co.za

Stellenbosch Street Soirees

Hosted yearly from November to March and a highlight on the Stellenbosch social calendar, Stellenbosch Street Soirees showcase the region’s best wine and fine food while giving soiree-goers the opportunity to experience the heartland of South African wine in all its glory. Enjoy balmy evenings under famous oaks while taking in Stellenbosch’s many sights and sounds during the Cape’s finest time of the year. On 1 and 15 March, the festivities return from 6pm to 8pm, with some 25 wineries participating. “The Stellenbosch Street Soirees have really taken on a life of their own since launching in 2011 and continue to gain momentum. It’s always a treat to catch the happy surprise on the faces of visitors who unexpectedly stumble upon the festivities on closed-off Drostdy Street. We encourage people to stick around afterwards for dinner at one of the stunning restaurants within walking distance or even continue the party at one of Stellenbosch’s many wine bars,” says Stellenbosch Wine Routes manager, Elmarie Rabe.

Good to know: Tickets cost R170 per person (includes a wine glass and 10 tasting tokens) and can be purchased online via Plakton. Email or call 021 886 4310 for more information. Instagram @stellwineroute

Not just bread bags

How many plastic bread bags do you discard weekly? What if these bags could be upcycled into something that generates income for other households to buy bread? These are some of the questions the Bags4Bread project wants consumers of this international staple food to consider the next time an empty bread bag goes to waste. “We have joined forces with incredibly talented women in Kayamandi, just outside Stellenbosch, who can, with the magic of crochet, turn a humble plastic bread bag into a uniquely South African item that is both useful and sustainable. Every bag will help a local Kayamandi family put bread on the table and keep plastic out of our oceans, rivers and landfills,” says Jeanneret Momberg, CEO of Visit Stellenbosch. Upcycled products include water bottle bags ideal for hiking, wine bags that make perfect gifts, lanyards for conferences or events, key rings and various other custom-made bags. Portia Nzanzana, one of the inspiring crochet boffins behind Bags4Bread, says the project helps people to earn a meaningful wage.“We can stay at home and take care of our families while earning money.”

Good to know: Contact Helene Oosthuizen if you would like empty breadbags to be collected from your home or workplace in the Stellenbosch vicinity. Alternatively, you can drop them off at Visit Stellenbosch, 47 Church Street, Stellenbosch. Send an email to bags4bread@visitstellenbosch.org or call 021 886 4310 for more information. Instagram @visitstellenboschnow.

Get your padel on

When the sport of padel hit local shores, South Africans became obsessed. The Padel Hub at Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West was one of the first. ClubPadel has just opened three indoor courts at the Woodmill Lifestyle Centre in Devon Valley, Stellenbosch, with two outdoor courts to follow soon. The club has rackets to rent and balls for sale. Padel is a mixture of tennis and squash with rules similar to that of traditional tennis, but the walls of the court being part of play as in squash. While gameplay and scoring are identical to tennis and squash, the game is much easier than these racket sports and a fast-paced padel session usually only lasts an hour.

Good to know: Book online via Playtomic or download the Playtomic app on your phone. Instagram @thepadelhub

A new home for Cape Wine Academy

For more than 43 years, the Cape Wine Academy (CWA) has been welcoming students to immerse themselves in the study of wine. Recently, South Africa’s most recognised wine school began a new era of education and training at its brand-new centre of learning in the heart of Stellenbosch. “We are thrilled to give CWA a presence in the vibrant fabric of wine, tourism, hospitality and student life in Stellenbosch. This new space at Oude Postkantoor offers diverse and exciting opportunities to engage with Cape wine during courses, talks and tastings as well as networking with the wine community,” says CWA principal, Heidi Duminy. The triple-volume destination’s first floor includes an impressive 1 200-bottle wall of wine and collection of wine books, while full video conferencing and hot-desking facilities are available for students, study groups, sponsors and members. The CWA also offers online courses for distance learning. Instagram @capewineacademy