While other people have a local bar/pub (depending on if you did the London thing), I have a local wine farm. To be fair, I probably only went 3-4 times in the time that I lived in the area, but I had just fond memories of De Grendel. It was the go-to spot I took guests.
A few Saturdays ago we went for a quick tasting to wind down after my weekend shift. No one received us when we arrived and we had to ask for service multiple times which really soured our experience. Who has the time to wait for the wine to ferment first? In the end we cut our intended tasting of their whole range of wines short to only 3.
I tweeted about the experience, nothing hard core: “Thoroughly underwhelmed by the wine tasting experience at @degrendelwines. Pity because I really do like their wines.” I then closed the matter in my head. They responded with a request to DM them the details. I was impressed that they knew enough about Twitter to actually follow me first before this request, too often one sees people tweeting a company that they can’t comply to their request as they don’t follow them. However, overall I did not expect anything to come of the gesture after a rather shitty experience with another company’s customer service on Twitter who seemed sincere at the time but wasn’t matched offline.
De Grendel followed through. After a 4 part DM their winemaker Elzette du Preez called me personally to apologise and to invite us for a private tour of the cellar and tasting.
Elzette took us through the whole wine making process at De Grendel starting with the history of the farm and the Graaff family, the infra-red photos they take every two years to determine the way to harvest the grapes, overcoming perceptions of South African wine internationally, all kinds of chemical things that made me wish I didn’t fail biology horribly, the process of selecting wine barrels… It was a delightful crash course into the world of wine. De Grendel is very lucky to have such a charismatic woman as a winemaker.
We then moved on to the tasting room to give our palates the benefit of what we had observed in the cellar. The Plus One enjoyed the pinot noir and we both agreed on the rose and sauvignon blanc. I enjoy their Rose simply because it goes completely against the more traditional sweet ‘cold drink wine’ prefer by old people in the interior. It has a lovely dry crisp taste best paired with a second chances.
At 17:00 they closed up the tasting room letting us finish up on the stoep and keep an eye on the sun slowly setting over Table Mountain. It was that magical time of the day where photos came out perfectly without the need of an Instagram filter.
I am happy to say, in the most pretentious way possible, that I once again have a local wine farm.