So last Sunday my mother and I went to see two of the students I know at Stellenbosch University. I had also been asked by a good friend to buy some wine from Rickety Bridge Winery in the Franschhoek Valley if I found myself in that region (which has about a bazillion wine farms). So I decided to kill two birds with one stone.
One of the students couldn’t make it, but fortunately the other student likes wine tasting, so I dragged her along to Rickety Bridge. She turned out to be central to the whole day. First, she took us to an excellent little bistro for lunch, which turned out to be breakfast (because they don’t serve lunch on Sundays) and then made sure that I bought the correct wine after our wine tasting. I have been known to make mistakes before. 😄
Once we were all stocked up, we headed back to Stellenbosch to drop off the student. But first I stopped to shoot this:
My mother and the student were then kind enough to accommodate my need to photograph beautiful things, and suggested we stop in at Boschendal – one of the oldest wine estates in South Africa – as we were driving by anyway. Boschendal was farmed by the de Villiers family from 1715 to 1879, and as I am de Villiers vintage on my mother’s side, it seemed appropriate to shoot on the estate.
We hadn’t planned on being out all day, but from there we drove up to Delaire Graff, one of the youngest estates in the valley. Despite the fact that I can only shoot with my macro lens at f/2.8 and with my wide-angle at the tiniest aperture (while not being able to actually see what I’m shooting through the viewfinder) I was in my element.
Apart from its core business of winemaking, the estate is known for its luxury lodges and spa, its restaurants and boutiques and for housing art from the personal collection of its owner, jeweller Laurence Graff. The gardens too are a work of art, with sculptures by Dylan Lewis and Anton Smit nestled in immaculately laid-out gardens of indigenous plants and other imported, non-invasive species.
I didn’t even scratch the surface in terms of everything I could have photographed and would love to return one day when my camera and lenses have learned to communicate with each other again.
(As usual, you can click on the images to open them bigger.)