Environmental authorities and hazmat technicians are still busy with cleaning up and monitoring operations at the site of the chemical spill that took place on the Franschhoek Pass on 5 September 2016. The spill was the result of a trailer carrying agricultural chemicals catching fire and going up in flames.
The latest (2015) vintage of La Motte’s acclaimed Bordeaux-style red wine, La Motte Millennium, was recognised as the Best of Show South African Red at the Spring Tasting of the Mundus Vini Grand International Wine Awards.
Nearly 200 international wine experts from 44 countries, comprising oenologists, winemakers, professional wine traders, sommeliers and wine journalists made the selection from almost 6 200 wines from more than 150 wine growing regions all over the word.
Stellenbosch Municipality is supporting the Stellenbosch Can Project that collects canned food for the Stellenbosch Feeding in Action Project. The project will use the cans collected to prepare meals for less fortunate people.
Each directorate in the municipality has received a wooden box and employees are encouraged to bring canned food items from home and place it in the boxes provided. Donations are collected every Friday and kept in a safe place until the end of the project when they will be handed over to the project. The project runs until the end of May 2017.
An innovative temporary shelter for refugees was on display at the Huguenot Museum during March. The shelter was the centrepiece of a travelling that opened at the museum on Human Rights Day, 21 March. Franschhoek was the exhibit’s last stop in SA, before it headed off to Canada on 28 March.
She joined the restaurant 21 years ago, she trained a team to work in it, created food for it, won awards with it and now it’s time to move on. Margot Janse, executive chef at The Tasting Room and Le Quartier Français, has left and The Tasting Room is closing down. All is not lost for the restaurant space at Le Quartier Français however, as La Colombe will be opening a new restaurant there later this year.
The Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch, Advocate Gesie Van Deventer welcomed the delivery of two compactor waste trucks on Thursday, 30 March 2017.
Mayor van Deventer said when she took office in August 2016 that “making sure our towns are clean is a priority. Residents have informed me directly that clean towns are a priority for them. Furthermore, by keeping our towns clean we ensure that the first impressions for our visitors are memorable and positive. Our new compactors will help us to do exactly that – keep our towns beautiful. I urge every resident to do their part in keeping our towns clean by using rubbish bins that are available throughout all areas.”
Franschhoek is welcoming village, but on Monday, 10 April, our country’s kleptocracy would have felt decidedly less than welcome here. At noon a large crowd – many dressed in black – gathered in front of the Town Hall in mostly silent protest at what our own ‘dear leader’ and his acolytes had wrought.
While villagers from all walks of life stood in protest, some holding placards voicing their sentiments, tourists passing by on foot and in tourist coaches signalled their interest and support by giving the crowd the thumbs up and taking photos to share with friends and family back home.
The SAPS and municipal law enforcement maintained a low profile throughout the protest. Thankfully their services weren’t required. Also maintaining a low profile was Stellenbosch Mayor, Adv Gesie van Deventer, who quietly joined the protest after spending the morning in meetings in Franschhoek.
“Change the first five years and you can change anything.”
History, says Lynette Carolissen, principal of the Klein Handjies Preschool at Boschendal, may well show that the decision by Boschendal’s new owners to support this preschool was the most beneficial of all the changes and improvements that they have brought about since taking over the estate in 2012.
The school is an initiative by the Franschhoek estates Solms-Delta and Boschendal. It moved to its new buildings on the Boschendal estate a few months ago and here its numbers have been augmented by children from the Boschendal community.
Lynette has been a nursery school teacher for most of her life but, she says, the Klein Handjies Preschool, which currently has 51 children aged from three months to five years, is far and away the best she has ever been involved with. She says there are six main reasons for this.
· It is set in a clean, calm, beautiful farm environment well away from the big towns and cities which can have negative, harmful influences on young children.
· It has sufficient staff (seven in all) and this means that great attention can be paid to the individual.
· It has spacious and adequate floor areas in beautifully refurbished cottages, the quality of which is appreciated not only by the children but by the parents and staff.
· It is well equipped with books, art materials, educational toys (which are regularly changed and updated), stationery, a playground with its own vegetable garden (maintained by the older children) and a jungle gym.
· It feeds its children throughout the day with breakfasts, morning teas, lunches and afternoon snacks. What is more, the food is healthy and nutritious, most of it emanating from Boschendal’s farms and much of it also prepared in Boschendal’s Werf Restaurant.
· Most importantly, it makes full use of Preschool for Africa’s Play with a Purpose Programme. The Play with a Purpose systems and educational kits were introduced in 1991, were developed in South Africa and are widely considered to be ground-breaking in child development initiatives. The programme is based on a neuro-scientific framework and behaviour-based theories originally developed by Professor James Heckman, who won a Nobel Prize for his work in this field. He was able to show that the economic return on investment in Early Childhood Development (ECD) was up to 17 times greater than the same investment in high school education. Prof Heckman’s findings have validated the Play With A Purpose approach, showing that the human brain develops and learns more in the first five years of the child’s existence than at any later stage. If, therefore, children are exposed to interesting, stimulating activities at this stage their chances of coping with later educational demands, even under very difficult conditions such as overcrowding, will be much improved.
“Play With A Purpose programmes were introduced to Gauteng some 25 years ago by Robin Wieland, who still heads up the Preschool for Africa programme, but Klein Handjies is the first school in the Western Cape to buy into their educative methods. This exciting change has come about because Preschool for Africa is represented in the Western Cape by Colleen Harvett, a very experienced nursery school owner and principal who, when not running her own school, devotes most of her spare time to promoting Play With A Purpose programmes in the Western Cape – and it was she who talked to Boschendal CEO Rob Lundie, who, she says, very quickly grasped the value and the concepts of Play With A Purpose.
“What makes the Play With A Purpose programme so revolutionary,” says Harvett, “is that previously too little thought was given in farm schools of this kind to stimulating and developing the minds of our youngest children. If the preschool was comfortable and the children were looked after and kept amused that was often thought sufficient. It is only quite recently that it has been understood that these initial years of a child’s life are crucial to its later ability to learn and adapt.”
In 2017 Klein Handjies will more than double its current intake and former farm cottages on the school site are being renovated to make this possible.
“This means,” says Harvett, “that it will in time be able to take on pupils up to Grades 1 and 2 – and later possibly they will be able to go even further. It is likely that this school will set new standards for farm education in the Boland and will find many imitators.”
www.boschendal.com | 021 870 4200 (Rob Lundie)
Leeu Estates features on Travel + Leisure’s prestigious ‘It List 2017’. Leeu Estates and the other award-winning properties will appear in the March issue of Travel + Leisure and can also be found on TravelandLeisure.com.
Every year Travel + Leisure editors and contributors vet the most exciting debuts around the globe to create this highly selective list, which encompasses openings and major renovations from the previous year. This year, only 44 properties were included on the It List and Leeu Estates is thrilled to be one of the chosen few.
“It is a great honour to have Leeu Estates included on this prestigious list, in such good company. Analjit Singh, founder of Leeu Collection, along with the team, has brought to life the beauty and warmth of this property. We look forward to further growth in 2017 and invite everyone to experience the magic of Leeu Estates and the entire Franschhoek region,” said Carrie Wicks, CEO of Leeu Collection.
It’s that time of the year when wagons labouring under loads of grapes roll along the valley roads to deliver their crush-ready berries to the cellars. We speed dialled one or two wine makers before going to print, to find out how the harvest was doing. By all accounts it’s going to be a good year. Here’s what they said:
DP Burger, manager and wine maker at GlenWood:
“As a rule GlenWood usually starts with grapes sold to some of the prominent bubbly producers in Franschhoek. The initial feeling was that the 2017 crop will be a bit lighter than 2016, but this is definitely not the case here. To date, with all Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes picked, we look to be on par with the 2017 yields.
“Starting approximately 1 week later than 2016, the vintage did catch up quickly and harvesting dates, especially on the whites, are now 3 days ahead of 2016.
“Quality is right up there with beautiful flavours and firm acidities throughout. Suddenly the light at the end of the harvesting tunnel is definitely a train on its way! Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet etc etc are all there, ready to be picked!
There will be an interesting couple of weeks ahead.”
Craig McNaught wine maker at Stonybrook Vineyards:
“With the weather leading up to the 2017 vintage, the vines have been pretty stressed, which means the grapes are getting to optimal ripeness before the sugars are too high. This is a really good thing for our style of wine, as we like ripe flavours without having super high levels of alcohol. I’ve been really happy with the quality of the grapes that have come in so far, particularly the Chardonnay. I think 2017 has the potential to be a great year, provided we don’t get massive heat in the next few weeks.”
Clayton Reabow, wine maker at Môreson Family Winery:
“Thus far in Franschhoek the 2017 vintage looks promising and most certainly a better vintage than 2016. Although a water deficit as a result of the on-going drought continues, we have been very fortunate not to have experienced a damaging heat wave such as December 2015 prior to the 2016 vintage.
“Overall, vineyards that have received sufficient rainfall have recovered well and we are experiencing a 25% increase in crop. Ripening patterns are also stabilising and are in some cases 7 to 9 days later than last year.
“The fruit is very healthy and packed with flavour. We should see as good a vintage as 2015 if patterns continue, especially on Chardonnay.”
Wikus Pretorius, wine maker at La Petite Ferme:
“The 2017 harvest started off a couple of days earlier for La Petite Ferme. We picked some of our earlier Sauvignon Blanc at lower sugars to retain the freshness. I was really surprised at how good the acids were even through the drought. It’s been relatively cool and this definitely helped. Berries seem to be smaller and yields per ton are down, but the quality so far is excellent. I anticipate being about 10% up in volume from last year.
For now it seems that the ripening is going nice and slow which is great for the reds. If the weather holds I expect 2017 to be a good one.”