A handsome, if hairy, Scot


Hectic. That is our life right now. We have attended so many events that time to report on them has been very tight. So there is a lot here for you to read. We continue with our journey through Scotland and then tell you about more local matters

Keep a space in your diary for a great wine event. Wine Concepts, in partnership with the Vineyard Hotel has moved their annual Finer Things in Life Champagne Festival with the theme of “Boas & Bow Ties” to the afternoon of Saturday 9th November 2019, using not only the magnificent Summer Room, but the adjoining gardens too. Book at Wine Concepts and online through www.webtickets.co.za For the price of a bottle of champagne, you can taste through a magnificent selection of classic names

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The next part of our journey was to go North, through the Cairngorm National Park to Rothes in Speyside, a town in the centre of the Speyside whisky area, where we were to stay in an old Inn for four nights. First we had to collect our hire car from near Waverley station in Edinburgh. We made sure this one had SatNav. We packed the car and said a fond farewell to Edinburgh, planning to come back some day soon, it’s a lovely city…
John’s grandfather was born in Banff, so we drove there for a look, crossing the River Spey en route by a steel suspension bridge, with trout (or salmon) fishers in the shallows. On the front at Banff, the rocks reminded us of Sea Point beach…
We were very happy to be invited to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Cape Wine Academy. You may not know that we met while we were studying for our Diplomas in the mid 1990s. The celebration was held in a marquee on the lawn in front of the Red House restaurant at Nederburg in Paarl on a near perfect Spring day…
Hope on Hopkins gin has risen to the top of the range of local gins because they do things properly, their gins are interesting, worth drinking and not flooded with unnecessary botanicals and they are very good at marketing. They also make gin for many of the other brands you find locally to their own recipes. We were invited to see their new branding and to taste a couple of their new flavours…

Sometimes you make a mistake that turns out to be a success. Lynne got a date wrong and we arrived in Franschhoek in the wrong week. It was a beautiful Spring day. For once we did not have a deadline or an appointment time and we found being able to go where and when we like quite liberating! So not only did she owe John lunch, we decided to go and visit a wine farm we have not been to for rather a long time, La Lude, to taste some of their MCC…

“We have a free day in Franschhoek, so where shall we have lunch?” Then we remembered that a chef we know, Oliver Cattermole, had opened a new restaurant this year, Bovine, on the Main Street. And we had promised his dad Nigel that we would visit. Lunch sitting on a shaded terrace watching the people go by seemed like a great thing to do, and they had the table we wanted…

An invitation which was hard to refuse, to visit Piekenierskloof Wines. Their offer of transport was gratefully accepted. We were collected at 7 am as it is quite a distance up the N7, past Malmesbury and Piketberg in the direction of Clanwilliam. Then it was off to Canal Walk to pick up more media guests. Where does the name come from? Way back, when the Cape was being settled by the Dutch in the 17th Century, as an ever-expanding colony, the Dutch deployed their Piekeniers (Pikemen) soldiers along the rocky kloof (cliff) range, ensuring safe passage for all travellers…
Last Saturday morning saw us up bright and early to get to the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction at Spier for 8 am. The roads were so empty at that time of the day that we arrived at 7.30! We did a quick inspection of the Silent Auction as Lynne likes to bid on a few of the lots…

Avocados are so in season at the moment and they are beautifully nutty.  Do you know how easy it is to make a good  Avocado dip?  We use it with Chilli con Carne or Nachos or just on toast…

We tasted this wine last week on the farm, in the very vineyard that was planted in 1962  We were given a welcome glass of the excellent Bergendal 2018 Chenin Blanc on arrival as we were stood in that vineyard.  Magical…

11th October 2019

All verbal and photographic content used in this site are © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor and Bacchus, unless otherwise specified

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We want to use wine barrel staves as the covering of a pergola which we wish to build on our deck, which has no protection from the sun. If any of our wine maker readers have old barrels which have outlived their original purpose, or even loose staves from old barrels, we’d love to have them. Condition is not important, we just need the staves. Please let us know


We keep talking about rain and the scarcity of water in our blessed, beautiful province. We are still in trouble. 2018 has seen the lowest rainfall of any year since 2010 and even though 2019 looks as though we're having good rainfall, we still need to be careful; we don't know what the future holds. 

It is not difficult to be careful; just be aware of what you do with water and look after this precious resource. Don't leave the shower running while you soap, use grey water to flush, don't run the dishwasher until it is full..... We're in crisis. Think about it! Your garden may, like ours, become a desert. Sad, but necessary and a minor sacrifice in comparison to queueing at a hose for your daily 25 litre allowance. We are planting succulents and other water-wise plants which will tolerate the conditions and still give us pleasure

So don't think that it's OK if it's raining; the trouble is that it is not raining enough. The dams are only, on average, not sufficiently full. We need to try harder. It is no use hoping that more rain will come. If it does, it will be a blessing, but the long term forecast still does not encourage optimism. Tapping into aquifers and installing desalination plants will help in the long term, but we must face up to the fact that water will always be a scarce, precious commodity in the Western Cape. The world's weather is in trouble. Europe is experiencing temperatures that we are used to here in Africa. Vineyards are being planted in England. It might be normal in Spain, but when we hear stories from chilly Scotland and often icy Norway about temperatures in the 30s.....

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