Sunday 27 May 2018
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Pearl Valley a top five course – Golf Digest

Pearl Valley Golf Course

Golf Digest recently announced that Pearl Valley, Val de Vie Estate’s Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, has been ranked as the 5th best golf course in the country. The course was also ranked as the Best Conditioned Golf Course in the Western Cape.

The biennial ‘Golf Digest Top 100 Courses in South Africa’ is one of the most influential rankings as far as golf in South Africa is concerned, and Val de Vie Estate takes great pride in the 2018/2019 top five placement. Two years ago, Pearl Valley was ranked at number 8 by Golf Digest, and this marked improvement is mostly attributed to Val de Vie Estate amalgamating with Pearl Valley Estate in 2016.

La Motte shines in 2018 Drinks International Wine Tourism Awards

La Motte CEO Hein Koegelenberg celebrates the estate’s acknowledgment as Drinks International Best Food & Wine Matching Experience with Cellarmaster Edmund Terblanche and Chef Gregory Caci from Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant.

No stranger to international acclaim for the quality of its wine tourism offering, La Motte Wine Estate has again been acknowledged as Best Food and Wine Matching Experience in the 2018 edition of the Drinks International Wine Tourism Awards.

Robertsvlei to Theewaterskloof bypass?

A bypass around the village – especially for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) – has been discussed on and off for more than 20 years.  Lately, it has emerged from discussions between stakeholders that the provincial government has become more favourably disposed towards the idea.

Planning for the bypass centres on the Robertsvlei Road. This means that HGVs, and other road users that so choose, will be diverted off the R45 onto the Robertsvlei Road and re-join traffic at the Huguenot Monument intersection.  This proposal would involve paving the Robertsvlei Road, construction of a new dual lane bridge over the Franschhoek River and various other road improvements.

Bottle tops and bread tags get Jason a wheelchair

Jason Jefthas in his new wheelchair with his parents and Bridge House pupils Christiaan Cloete (who launched the bread tag collection) and Bastienne Babl at the presentation of the wheelchair.

Jason Jefthas, a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, who lives in Mooiwater in Franschhoek, was the recipient of a wheelchair that was earned through the collection of bread tags and bottle tops by the Bridge House School community.

Last year, Bridge House took up the challenge of collecting bottle tops and bread tags to exchange for a wheelchair. The project was driven by Bridge House art teacher, Dave Fuller, and is facilitated by the Bread Tags for Wheelchairs organisation. The school provided a large container at its entrance and thousands of bread tags and plastic screw-type bottle tops were collected. These were bagged and delivered to Bread Tags for Wheelchairs who then gave the go ahead for the purchase of a wheelchair.

From Groendal to Gothenburg

The Kusasa Stars

The Kusasa Stars to travel to Sweden

A group of 19 very fortunate 12-year-old boys from Groendal will be travelling to Gothenburg in Sweden to take part in the Gothia Cup 2018.

The Gothia Cup, also known as The World Youth Cup, takes place in Sweden annually and is the largest football tournament in the world. The opening ceremony takes place in the Gothenburg Olympic Stadium and is often attended by over 40 000 spectators.

Festival of Arts 2018

The Festival of Art will be hosting their first art extravaganza on 17 & 18 March at three venues in Franschhoek.

The unique ethos of this festival makes it stand out. When asked, the organizers had this to say: “Our goal is to provide a platform for undiscovered local artists where they can exhibit their work in a creative, relaxed and beautiful environment. We have received an incredible variety of work from all sorts of artists – the only prerequisite was that they live in SA. Amongst those, sixteen underprivileged artists were sponsored by Festival of Art with stands and supplies to assist them in exposing their talent. They teamed up with a community outreach programme Outliers ( that assists more than eighty volunteer-driven initiatives in townships where adults help children after school assisting with homework and teaching them therapeutic coping skills such as creating artwork”.

The venues hosting the Festival of Art each have their own style and character. Each picturesque location will feature a celebrated South African artist – Selwyn Pekeur at Bridge House School, Nanette Ranger at Eikehof and Ronald West at La Bri.

A look at the Festival of Art’s website ( will get you picturing the festive scene; an art in the park extravaganza set in and amongst shady trees and rows of vines.

For entertainment there will be street performers, buskers and musicians constantly delighting all and sundry. One of the highlights for visitors will be that many artists exhibiting their artwork will be working on pieces during the festival. Who doesn’t love watching an artist’s process and connecting with where the artwork comes from?

With everything set for what promises to be two wonderful art-filled days, art cognoscenti and novices alike should not miss this!

Book your ticket at:

Behind the labels: La Motte’s Pierneef Collection

La Motte Wine Estate’s premium Pierneef Collection wines are lauded for their quality, versatility and consistency.  While plenty can be said about wines the estate’s use of artworks by SA master Jacob Hendrik Pierneef on the labels of these wines, makes for another interesting story.

Each vintage of the Pierneef Syrah Viognier and Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc feature six different linocut artworks – essentially six different labels for each vintage of the wines.

The linocuts associated with the 2015 vintage of La Motte’s Pierneef Syrah Viognier are briefly discussed below.

New Chaîne des Rôtisseurs member

Chef Nicolene Barrow received a certificate of appreciation from Allison Rutowitz, Head of the Ambassador Programme of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, after they held their year-end function at the Orangerie Restaurant.

Nicolene Barrow, executive chef of Le Lude Estate’s Orangerie Restaurant, is one of the latest members of the international gastronomic society La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. Membership of this prestigious society is by invitation only.

Nicolene, who trained as a chef in Europe, plied her trade at the renowned Le Gavroche Restaurant in London before setting up the Orangerie Restaurant at Le Lude.  Here she presents French cuisine with a contemporary twist, combining “the purist, disciplined approach of the European masters with a hint of individual, modern creativity” to create dishes that look as good as they taste.

“It is not only a huge honour to be invited to become a member, the local chapter also held its year-end function at the Orangerie Restaurant”, says Nicolene “that made it an even bigger honour for me. It is always nice when one’s peers recognise your efforts.”

La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs was founded in Paris in 1950. It is based on the traditions and practices of the old French royal guild of goose roasters.

Since its rebirth, the society brings together professional and non-professional members from around the world who share in the “spirit” of the society and who appreciate and enjoy wine and fine dining. The international headquarters (Siège Mondial) remains in Paris.

The organization is represented by its 24000 members in 80 countries around the world. In South Africa there are six regional chapters (called bailliages).

Creative eating at GlenWood

GlenWood's Tasting Palette

Conjuring up a new concept in a crowded field takes some doing.  After a languid lunch at the GlenWood tasting room in early December I have to say “By Jove, I believe they’ve done it!”

GlenWood’s Fine Wine and Food Experience is indeed a fresh take on food and wine pairing.

This is how it works: On arrival, each guest is presented with tastes of six of the estate’s award-winning wines together with a ‘tasting palette’ featuring tastes of six carefully prepared matching dishes. A knowledgeable waiter/tasting room assistant is on hand to explain more about the wines and matching dishes.  Once guests have tried all six pairings they get to choose one of them for their main course along with a glass of the matching wine, or one of the others if they’ve hit upon their own favourite pairing during the tasting.

On my visit the following pairings were on offer: Sauvignon Semillon 2016 with Smoked Salmon Trout, Shiraz Vigneron’s Selection 2016 with a ‘Rugby Snack’ (You’ll have to go there yourself to find out what that is!), Chardonnay Unoaked 2017 with Ceviche, Chardonnay Grand Duc 2015 with Chicken Legs, Merlot 2016 with Chicken Caesar Salad and Syrah Grand Duc 2014 with Rump Steak.  End your meal with a taste of Noblesse Grand Duc – GlenWood’s maiden noble late harvest.

GlenWood’s wines never fail to impress and certainly live up to the estate’s mantra of Simple, Natural, Quality. While it’s their Chardonnays that tend to steal the limelight – and bucket loads of awards – I have to say that I consider their Sauvignon Blanc Semillon a revelation.  Franschhoek isn’t prime Sauvignon Blanc territory, but at GlenWood it benefits from the cooler temperatures of the Robertsvlei Valley.  The addition of Semillon – an iconic Franschhoek cultivar – results in a wine that balances frivolity and class and makes its way straight into my list of top 5 summer wines.  The Platter’s Wine Guide judges loved the 2015 vintage so much they awarded it five stars in their 2016 guide. The current (2016) vintage claimed four stars in addition to being rated 90 out of 100 points by, winning Gold at the SA Women’s Wine Awards and Double Gold at Vitis Vinefera 2017. To top it all off it’s budget-friendly too!

The Tasting Palette can be enjoyed indoors in the tasting room, or outside on the terrace.  Take my word for it though; the terrace is where you want to be on a hot summer’s day.  Shade, pond, views… need I say more?

The price of the Fine Wine and Food Experience Price including Tasting Palette, main course and glass of wine is R395 per person.  As GlenWood only seats 20 guests at a time (fantastic, as you’ll never feel crowded) booking is advised. A vegetarian alternative is offered, but booking is essential for this option. | 021 876 2044

World Class Franschhoeker

Kickboxing champion Rodney Cornelissen

There are only two people in the whole world who could stand higher on the podium than Franschhoeker Rodney Cornelissen when medals were awarded for the K1 u71kg category at the World Kickboxing Championships in November 2017.

In the October we reported that Rodney had been selected for the South African Proteas team to compete in the WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organisations) Championships in Budapest. Well, he went; he fought; and came home with a bronze medal. Pleased as punch, Rodney smiles and says at least in the semi-finals he lost to Gielala Adam from Poland who went on to win the gold medal. Adam’s strong point? He is tall and has a long reach which found Rodney’s face before Rodney could make contact with him, “But I know how to get him next time!”

It was a wonderful experience for the SA team and the young Franschhoeker – a first time in Europe, mixing with other nationalities, fighting with opponents who have a different style and communicating about familiar things with people who speak an unfamiliar language. It was also tough to fight three rounds in short succession and being battered and bruised when going into the semi-finals. As Rodney puts it, “It means day four is a mental game.” He takes it in his stride; nerves gnaw until the first fight gets underway and he knows although it’s going to hurt, it will not kill him. After that training and discipline kick in.

Our medallist says he would not hesitate to do it all again, the physical and financial demands notwithstanding. International participation requires funding and donations for the Budapest trip via the sports club helped a lot but he had to find the balance himself. He took out a R25 000 loan at the bank and is now paying it back. He says, “You can’t expect things to fall into your lap, you must work for it.”

What’s next for Rodney? Apart from his day job and studies, he is working on a black belt grading, doing kickboxing clinics in outreach programmes and aiming to take part in the International Championships in Turkey in April. We will be watching and listening.

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