Turns out, I don’t like wine but I do like cheese.
Today was the (much anticipated by the group) wine tasting day. It was a later morning which was perfect for us because we had gone out the night before. After a Dream breakfast of lemon poppyseed muffin and pineapple, we boarded a nice charter bus with the same driver and tour guide as the day before. We would be touring the Stellenbosch region.
We arrived at the first tasting, Fairfield Wine Club, at 10. It was the oldest of all of vineyards and the largest. It was a more French rustic feel. There was a large circle set up for us with a wine glass and 6 paired cheeses. They started with the white wine and then moved to reds. I think the best wine I tasted the whole day was the Elderberry white wine but I didn’t know it was that much better than the other ones until it was too late. I didn’t know what I was looking for. Madi ended up buying the Elderberry for her fam. The cheese was the best part and it was special to have a cheese with each sip. The portions were small enough that I tried everything. Miranda took a sip and then rotated who she gave the rest between Leedy Megan or Paul. We didn’t get a tour of the vineyard or cellar but our wine guide described each pairing as we went through them. They sold bread which was a good idea. A few people snuck a few croissants from the breakfast buffet which is a pro tip for the next class.
On our way to the next wine spot, we drove by the prison where Nelson Mandela was released. He negotiated his release to be out of this prison even after they told him he was moving. It is low security so he had a nice home inside. The statue out front is said to be the most life like statue of the many many staues. I took Schiley’s photo by the statue.
The second wine tasting was at a small single family vineyard. The had to import some of their grapes and dairy to produce. Before we sat down, we toured the cellar and our guide explained the fermentation process. It wasn’t in production because the harvest had just ended but we saw the sorting area and how they made the special wines with the first natural press. They make white wine with green or red grapes without the skin and rose is just referring to the color. We saw the metal fermenting tanks and the oak barrels. You can tell if a white wine was fermented in a barrel by holding it up to a white piece of paper and seeing if it is slightly yellow. That is the give away. I loved seeing the tubes and size that they produced in. There is a whole world of wine that I don’t know about. They didn’t explain the bottling process and I regret not asking. Our guide was from France. The second wine tasting was seated and we split up into two big tables. It was more rustic but less chic rustic because it was a smaller company. They had crackers and jam on the table as well as cheese pairing. During this wine tasting, our guide taught us the proper form for sniffing and tasting wine. He sent around bad wine for us to smell and compare. The bad wine def had a different smell but I am not sure if I am fancy enough at wine to tell. Our table mixed up the cheese pairing for one of the tests. Megan split her glass and it shatter on the ground all over her maxi dress. The man gave her a bit of white wine to wash over the red wine to try to take up the spill but it was past the point of no return because it was a glass with her and Mirandas wine. She tied up the dress and made it work though and you couldn’t even tell unless you knew. The last paring was with the Cape Ruby which is what I ended up getting because it was very sweet. Idk.
All a buzz, we all chatted away on the bus until the bus stopped at a round about. The bus died right at Stellenbosch center which was good for us. They called a replacement and it would come by the time we finished lunching in the area. Madi Eli Ama and I wandered around a bit before we chose the same resturant where half of the resturant was at. They had a deal for a meal for 59 rand. I had meatballs and I was really good. Everyone was full and happy. We still had a good bit of time before the bus came so we walked around the downtown a bit. It was very winterparky in my opinion. Cute shops and stores. The University of Stellenbosch was in the area but we didn’t see it. There was a man in the street that mad very lifelike animal sounds (chicken goat cow) and when we walked by he hopped out, made a loud noise and scared Madi.
At this point, I was done with wine to be real but no time for wining. The final spot was a contemporary clean garden vineyard. LOOK UP NAME OF VINYARD. It was a big company that sold in the US. They started with a white rose and red from their signature collection and then let us taste special white and red ones. It was at a trendy long table that reminded me of Anthropology store. There was a really pretty garden outside and it was for sure a wedding venue.
With happy hearts, we headed back to the Penisula Hotel and all slept on the way back. Leedy invited us to watch the sunset and finish a bottle of wine but I was beat. Ama Ziqi and I booked out kayaking for the next morning and watched the sunset.
The senior class organized a final dinner out at the waterfront so we got in the hotel shuttle with Dr Leedy. We dropped him off at a Africa bike movie premier for the cycling race he would be competing in a few months. He was returning home the same time as us but he was coming back to Cape Town in July for the four day race. It was weird to have just our little group separated from the others. We seemed so small.
The first place that looked nice for dinner was by the mall at the waterfront. It faced the peir and we had live music from outside. We sat down and then 15 mins later, they move our table to diagonal because we were taking up too much space. Questionable. It was a steak and lobesgf fancy resturant. I got a yummy seasoned grilled fish and potato. We went around and shared our favorite memories together on the trip and all of the trips. There was a lot of love for Cape Town and the hikes. My favorite is Machu Picchu in the rain and mist in the morning. Outward bound made an appearance more than I thought it would. Eli talked about how much we had changed and grown. There was a lot of love being thrown around which was true but ever too sappy for me (and Mihael from his eye rolls). Austin summed it up best. He said we all have so many special shared memories together that we will forever be a family because only we can relate to each other how much fun we have had on all of the trips. It was better in Austin lecturing but yah get the gist. So much love. I wonder if I will see all of them after college. Probs at Elis wedding but idk when after that when we graduate. It was a calm and relaxing dinner and we sat for a long but after just sharing happy memories. No rush like we usually were in.
We hopped in a taxi and all headed to Long street to meet the other class. They were at this nasty bar so we met them there for a second and then decided they would have to meet us at the karaoke bar. Schiley Nik Mihael Maid Eli Ama Megan and I led the way to the music. It was a long walk and there was a point when a homeless man followed us but the boys took care of it. Once we were inside it was golden.
It wasn’t empty but it wasn’t popping yet. We requested BlankSpace (Taylor Swift) to sing with all of the Lombardi girls. By the time it was our turn to go, the rest of the crew joined us so we had a good cheering crew. Megan and Austin sang Hello Goodbye by the Beatles and Nick sang When We Were Young (the Killers) and Californiacation (Redhotchilipeppers). It was so much fun to sing along with everyone’s songs. My scene. It started get busy which I wasn’t about. I would have stayed a bit later but Trey Nik Schiley and Eli wanted to go home so Madi Ama and I left with the first shift. If you miss the first wave of people going home, you are at the mercy on the other crazy part of the group and you don’t know when or where they are going.
Fairview Wine CardEli feeling fancy with the wineMandelas FreedomWine CellarFilling up our bellies with not wine and cheese in Stellenbosch CentralAma was also very excited about her foodLast song of the night. Nik’s Califoniacation joined by two randos