Wine-tasting at Solms-Delta in Klein Drakensten (and some history about the famous farm and its people)
Solms-Delta is more than just a beautiful wine farm surrounded by breathtaking mountain and vineyard vistas on the scenic Franchhoek wine route (settled by French Huguenot refugees in the 17th and 18th centuries, and originally populated by indigenous Khoisan people ). Situated on the R45 in Klein Drakenstein, around 50 minutes from Cape Town’s CBD, Solms-Delta estate produces world-class wines that are uniquely South African, and behind these is a history that goes back to the times of slavery and far beyond.
Professor Mark Solms, who comes from a six-generation farming family, bought the neglected 320-year-old Zandvliet-Delta farm in 2001 and began researching its history of colonisation and slavery, so as to empower and restore unity and dignity to the community. Now incorporating three farms, Solms-Delta is co-owned by previously disadvantaged farm residents and workers, while producing a prestige selection of wines.
Moving on to the wines themselves, let the magic begin! Wines are sampled either inside the tasting room, or under the oaks in the lush garden, when weather permits . Mercia, who works at Solms-Delta, coordinated our wine-tasting experience. She has a delightful personality and is highly knowledgeable, both about the wines and the history of the farm. Below is a list of wines that Solms-Delta has produced thus far, with a brief description of each. I tasted them all !
Solms Delta selections of wines below
|Chenin Blanc||2016||Chenin Blanc||Ripe summer|
|Rose||2016||Grenache Noir||Fresh red berries with crushed raspberry and|
apple. Dry, complex finish.
|Shiraz||2016||Shiraz||Dark fruit, chocolate and spice |
with a juicy
palate and subtleFrench oak.
|Cape Jazz Shiraz||NV||Shiraz|| Light ,refreshing petillant Shiraz.Low in alcohol|
and infused witha subtle, fruity sweetness.
|NV||Pears||A light, sparkling pear- fermented beverage.|
Blanc, Verdelho, Rousanne, Chennin Blanc
|Rhone-style red blend.|
|Africana||2013||Shiraz||100% Shiraz, |
desiccated on the vine. Dark red with a floral
nose and noble bitterness.
|Gemoederus||2014||Shiraz||Shiraz desiccated on the vine, fortified with |
Wine tasting at Solms-Delta is open seven days a week: Monday to Thursday from 10h00 to 18h00, and Friday to Sunday from 9h00 to 18h00, which makes any day a good day for a glass of Cape Jazz Shiraz!
The estate is also a sought-after function venue and Fyndraai Restaurant is highly rated for its delicious, adventurous, and beautifully presented fusion of traditional and modern Cape cuisine.
We also went on a tour of the farm museum (in the orginal, centuries-old wine cellar) with Mercia, who told us the fascinating history of the Khoisan inhabitants of the farm and showed us their musical instruments. Mercia explained that the The Khoisan musical culture is essentially based on polyphonic chants and intricate vocal techniques accompanying dances. This dances are related to the number of clicks in Khoisan languages. She even sang a song or two to accompany this wonderful musical journey.
Solms-Delta has been widely recognised for its development of musical talent on the farm over the years, and well-attended annual harvest festivals serve to celebrate the fruit of their labours as well as to showcase authentic Cape music performed by the farm workers.
Below is an interesting passage written by Solms Delta, that relates to the significance of the dig (and sums up the philosophy at Solms-Delta wine farm), which I’d like to share with you:
“The archaeological digs also uncovered the realisation that everything on the farm – from the vineyards to the elegant Cape Dutch buildings – was built on the backs of slaves. This meant the tenants who live on the farm today deserve a fair share of the products of their forebears’ sacrifices and their own current efforts. So, together with British social entrepreneur, Richard Astor, Professor Solms set about tackling the social realities of South African agriculture by establishing a platform through which ownership of land and equity in the business could be shared. In 2007 the workers and residents of Solms-Delta acquired a 33.3% interest in the business of Solms-Delta, which interest was, with the support of the National Empowerment Fund and the national department of Rural Development and Land Reform, increased in 2016 to 45%. Solms-Delta continues to pioneer change in the agricultural sector
Hope you enjoyed this post. Take care until next time.