A very South African harvest… by Gareth Hardres-Williams
South Africa is one of the New World wine producing countries and being in the Southern Hemisphere, the wine farmers here typically begins harvesting their fruit from late January through until March or April depending on the weather and a number of other factors. Harvest time on a wine farm is unsurprisingly a very busy time and we popped into one of our firm favourites recently to see how they were getting on, and discovered a lot more than just fermenting grape juice.
The Swartland home of AA Badenhorst Family Wines is the Kalmoesfontein farm on the slopes of the Agter Paardeberg – try saying all of that quickly and correctly – a truly special farm run by some very special people. Adi Badenhorst, farmer, poet, winemaker, father and parrot fancier (to name but a few of the eclectic hats he dons) is the conductor of the orchestra here that on first view should play a collection of utterly discordant notes producing a cacophony of noise. Such is his skill however, with both people and the vine (and indeed the parrot), that nothing but the sounds of sweet, sweet music fills this valley, and the wines are not half bad either.
As the name implies, this farming business truly is a family affair, with Adi and cousin Hein having bought the farm some 10 years ago. Since then the transformation has been nothing short of miraculous and it is very much thanks to the efforts of all the family. Adi’s supremely talented wife Cornelia takes care of all things creative on the farm, and her eye for trend and farm-style chic is clear for all to see. Brother Charl and his wife Semma (pictured below) take care of all the events and beaver away everywhere from the vineyards, to the kitchen and in the accommodation offerings. Charl, who bakes the best pizza ever, also oversees the production of the 4th Rabbit – a Mezcal made from the Agave plant. The farm is home to the production of Caperitif too – this is a vermouth style spirit with an amazing backstory (one will just have to visit the farm to find out more about that). And if all of that was not enough, they also whip up a delicious tonic water here as well! Add to this mix the irrepressible matriarch Judy and the respective brother’s children and you have a wonderfully energetic and homely place to explore. A visit to this farm will see one immersed in an eclectic South African family, one that you simply can’t help but fall in love with.
Be sure to keep up with all the shenanigans on the Kalmoesfontein farm by following them on Instagram here.