The city life can be so overwhelming sometimes, traffic, work, noise pollution and the everyday anxieties. Sometimes you just feel that life is passing you by. Maybe just take a step back for a second and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Literally!! About 120 Km away from Cape Town, travelling in a north easterly direction you will find a picturesque little country town called Worcester and she has a treasure chest full of wonderful hidden gems.
Firstly, as you come out of the tunnel on the N1 you are greeted by the most beautiful mountain views. If you come after some really good rainfall you will see waterfalls after waterfalls. If you come in winter, the mountains are covered in Snow. It feels like you are in another country. South Africa is truly beautiful if you just take the time out to discover it.
This part of the world genuinely can boasts about its many award-winning wine farms. If you are a serious wine enthusiast, you will be able to write a thesis on some of the wines in this area. If you like me, you will just enjoy the moment, tasting good wine, taking in the the breathtaking landscapes, overlooking luscious vineyards and soaking up the sun. This time of the year (March) is the best time to be in this valley. It is not too hot and it is not cold yet. A lovely warm glow which gentle touches your skin, the perfect amount of Vitamin D!
One of the wine routes in this region, is the well known Breedekloof. There about 22 wine cellars along this route, all covering Rawsonville, the most beautiful Slanghoek Valley that is just absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, Goudini and the Breede River areas, all ranging from either a Boutique Cellar to Wine Estates.
Coming from “wine country”, Stellenbosch, I hadn’t realised that there is actually more to life and wine than the Stellenbosch Wine Route. Don’t get me wrong, Stellenbosch is beautiful and there are many fantastic wine farms but yes, there is in fact life after Stellenbosch! I know, shocker right? Well I was shocked! This part of the world just amazes me, and can’t believe it is not well traveled.
One of these farms, for me left me in complete awe! Tucked away in the heart of the Breedekloof, beneath the Slanghoek Mountains, you will find Jason’s Hill!
Jason’s Hill is one of those rare places that is so beautiful that it takes your breath away on every visit. Huge mountains towering over a fertile valley full of vineyards after vineyards.
About Jason’s Hill:
The farm was established round about in the 1800’s when JC Rossouw, alone owner of the Slanghoek Valley. He then at that time divided the valley for his nine children. The youngest daughter, Beatrix, got the piece where Jason’s Hill is situated on. Her husband, Izak van der Merwe bought the land from his father in law and it has been in the family ever since. It was a mixed farm with sheep and vines for many years.
“Jason’s Hill got its name from an old shepherd of the name Jason, who used to herd his sheep on the farm. The family have been farming with grapes for six generations, but it is only with the latest generation that the farm got its own winery. Jason’s Hill has been producing award winning wines ever since its establishment in 2002. It strives to give people an enjoyable time when visiting the gorgeous area and to have them taste lovely wines and food.”
What I love about Jason’s Hill is the friendly hospitality you will receive and they have some amazing award winning wines.
They have 19 various varietals on the farm of which most of it is Chenin Blanc. The average tonnage of wine produced is about 2 000 tons of which 20% gets bottled.
As we are nearing the end of harvest season I am always fascinated in the different techniques farms use for harvesting. Jason’s Hill uses the old handpicking method for their vineyards in the mountain area and the vineyards planted lower in the valley, they use a harvesting machine. They use a good combination of old and new world techniques for making their wine. Depending the they style of wine the wine-maker is wanting to achieve as well as what price point they are wanting their wines to sold.
Jason’s Hill current winemaker is 6th generation owner, Ivy Du Toit. The feminist inside of me gets all so excited, it is just fantastic to see women in the wine-making industry achieving some pretty amazing stuff. Ivy studied agriculture, she worked both in South Africa and abroad before she decided to start making wine in 2001.
Her first wines was such a success that they decided to build a cellar onsite in 2002!! In 2003 she was the first female to win the Diners Club Young Wine Maker of the Year award and in 2004 she walked away with the first held Woman Winemaker of the Year Award!!
Whooohooo! Girl Power!!
She manages to balance life between running the winery, not only is she a great wife to her husband and co-owner of the farm but also an excellent mother to her three children. She loves challenging herself and tries something new every few years.
What to see/do at Jason’s Hill:
Well they have a damn good bistro. My favourite offering at the time was their pull pork sandwhich. Their menu does change, so I am not sure if they still offering it. They do also serve a good variety of seasonal food that will pair super well with their wines.
It was the perfect warm spring day when we visited Jason’s Hill for the first time. We sat on the balcony, soaking up the sun overlooking the picturesque Slanghoek valley, where the vineyards had just started to bud.
The Bistro is open Monday – Saturdays 10:00 – 15:00
Wine Tasting & Sales:
Jason’s Hill allows you to taste all their award winning wines for a small fee, but normally get’s wavered if you purchase a few bottles of wine. I will be entirely suprised if you don’t purchase a bottle or three. I have to say, their red wine is like what Oom Oubaas from 7de Laan would say: “Dit is uit van die boonste rak!”
Sadly, that day, I was only tasting red wine – I am so sorry I didn’t try their whites as well. Sigh!! I will have to go back again. What a hard life! I have to go back and try their Chenin Blanc, as this is Chenin Blanc month in My Boozy Kitchen!
The tasting room is opened on the following hours: Monday – Friday: 08:00 – 17:00 and Saturdays: 10:00 – 15:00
I could not help myself and bought 3 bottles of wine. One of each: 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015 Merlot and 2013 Shiraz. All 3 double gold award-winning wines, and they believe me when I say they taste amazing! I can’t wait to open a bottle. This is my first winter in Worcester, so I am stocking up for those cold winter nights.
Even if you are not into to wine, you should still come and visit, as children have a lovely play area outside, a gorgeous aviary too look at or just enjoy a walk around their beautifully maintained gardens enjoying the scenic view, and just have a bite to eat.
Yes, that is correct, you heard me, at Jason’s Hill you can hike through the mountain, experiencing it first-hand. The trail is 6,6 Km long with two waterfalls and a running stream for drinking water during the winter months. It is a difficult route and should be done with extreme caution. There are quite a few baboons in the mountains as well as a wide range of birds. If you are lucky, you might just spot a few leopard tracks in the mountains. Hikers should start the trail before 13:00 as it can take up to four hours to finish, depending on your fitness level. Mine, it may take me the entire day. Registration at the reception desk is required. I haven’t done the hike yet, but it is on my to do list. So keep an eye out on an update!
As you can see, you can surely see my friends, why I am so in love with Jason’s Hill. Good food, excellent wine and stunning views! Is this not what My Boozy Kitchen is all about!
I am sure Jason’s Hill will love to see you there!
Thank you for taking the time in reading my article, if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to sign up. I am also doing a giveaway this month (ends on 31st of March 2018 and for those living in South Africa) if you sign up you can win a 2 Bottles of Chenin Blanc (one wooded, one unwooded) as well as a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc.