A beautiful pioneering wine estate in the middle of nowhere at the end of a long, dusty, bumpy road at the Southern tip of Africa. This is the first sentence on the Sijnn website and a very accurate description. Sijnn (pr. SAY N) is the original Khoisan name for the Breede River. This exciting new vineyard was established in 2004 on a stony plateau between the hamlet of Malagas and the fishing village of Cape Infanta, only 15km away.
When I hear "dirt road", I think "mountain bike". And when I hear "pioneering wine estate", I know it will not be hard to convince my wife to pick me up :)
Today I mountain biked to Sijnn wine estate, with my family and parents following with the bakkie. This is a dirt road but can easily be driven with a car. Wine tasting at Sijnn wine estate is on Saturdays from 10:00 - 15:00. There are two roads on opposite sides of the Breede river that lead to this wine estate and I prefer the one that starts at Oude Post Bistro and crosses the Pont. Oude Post Bistro is the perfect place for someone to drop you off with your mountain bike. The "droppers" can spend time at the new Hartsgoed gift shop and enjoy great barista coffee, while the kids play on the jungle gyms or feed the animals, before they start following to meet you at the Pont. Or they can go ahead and start the wine tasting without you. Today I moun the animals, before they start following to meet you at the Pont. Or they can go ahead and start the wine tasting without you. The Pont is the last hand-pulled one in South Africa and adds to a great trip.
I started riding at 8:15. The route is a non-technical dirt road with rolling hills. This time of the year everything has been harvested and it is quite dry, with sheep and cattle seen grazing every now and then. Because the route is non-technical your speed (on the mtb) should be between 15-22km/hour which is quite fast. The route is easy to follow and you just keep heading in the direction of Potberg. My parents and the rest of the family left the farm (close to Oude Post Bistro) at 9:30. We reached the Pont together at 10:00.
Luckily the Pont was on our side of the river when we arrived. As mentioned this is the last hand-pulled Pont in South Africa. My boys thoroughly enjoyed helping to pull the Pont across the river and I struggled to get them to pose for a family photo. It was a lot of fun to see big and small join in.
On the other side we made a quick stop at the Breede River Trading Post Farm Stall to get some refreshments and ice cream. This farm stall has everything including a liquor store and bakery. They even have a parrot with a sign declaring its tendency to bite. When we arrived the freshly baked bread was just coming out of the oven. This farm stall is like a super spar in the middle of the desert and was just rated one of the 5 favourite farm stalls in South Africa by The Weekender.
From here it is a mere 3km to Sijnn wine estate. The green vineyards are in stark contrast to the dry surroundings. Owner/winemaker of De Traffords Wines in Stellenbosch, David and his wife, Rita, found this amazing vineyard site in the year 2000 and bought the 125ha property a few years later with the help of some business partners.
The parking is at the back of the artistically built cellar and wine tasting area. As you walk around the building towards the tasting area, you are struck with one of the best views of the Breede River that I have ever seen. This enhances the wine tasting experience to follow. Their wine focus has been on top quality Mediterranean varieties from low yielding bush vines.
We tasted the WHITE 2013 (4.5 star Platter), SAIGNEE 2013 and SIJNN 2010 (93 Points Wine Spectator). I am not a wine expert, but this wine made me feel like Russell Crowe in A Good Year. Great wine, great view. We also enjoyed a platter with locally sourced produce: Freshly baked bread from Breede River Trading Post, Cured Meats from Strictly Cured in Robertson, Olives from Sijnn winery, Pickles from Wildebraam in Swellendam, Goats Cheese from Buffeljags Primary School, Royal Ashton from La Mont in Ashton etc. While we were enjoying the wine and view our boys were playing with others on the lawn in front of the tasting area. And catching tadpoles.
On our way back we stopped for freshly baked buns at Breede River Trading Post. This was done to ensure that we have enough energy to pull our weight across the Breede River Pont. Great trip.
These are the times that they will be open for tasting during the vacation:
16 - 19 Dec (open for tasting and platters 10am - 3pm)
21 - 23 Dec (open for tasting and sales only - no platters 10am - 3pm)
28 - 30 Dec (open for tasting and sales only - no platters 10am - 3pm)
Cost at Pont:
R48 for motor and bakkie
R18 for motorbike
R10 for mountain bike (no rate, but this is what I give them)
Breede River Trading Post is open:
Mon - Sat: 8am - 5:30pm
Sunday: 8am - 12am
Oude Post is a great place to start the mountain bike ride.
I had to stop and rescue two of these - a sign of rain in the evening.