It was really special to celebrate my 30th birthday at Hartenberg Wine Estate, as this place was one of my childhood favourites. The estate is famous for it's Shiraz, made under the watchful eye of their cellarmaster, Carl Schultz, who joined Hartenberg in 1994.
Although the estate serves a lovely, sit-down lunch in their beautiful courtyard (see below), it is their picnics that have always attracted me. They have always been reasonably-priced, and it was one of the few wine farms I frequented that actually included wine in the cost of their picnic. However, their picnic menu has been a bit 'spruced up', and is much better than it used to be. Still reasonably-priced, but you get more value for your money now.
The standard picnic is R195 per person and includes a bottle of wine to share between two people. The ingredients are seasonal, fresh and locally-sourced. This picnic includes food such as; pâté, cheeses, charcuterie, gourmet sandwiches, quiches and salads. They also give you a choice of desserts! You can choose between the deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake or a Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert. Both of these are served in a jar, which makes for a really nice touch.
Although this picnic sounds amazing, I was keen for something a little more fancy, being my birthday and all. The estate's Destinations Manager, Johann, offers something called a Celebration Table. This great idea enables guests to have a more special dining experience, which includes, amongst other things, a beautifully-decorated table (see below).
Within the Celebration Table Package, there are two options. You can have a Set Menu, where you can choose one starter, one main and one dessert out of three options per course. These dishes sounded amazing! I would have chosen the prawn ravioli with shellfish bisque, the crispy-skinned salmon on pea risotto, and the flourless dark chocolate cake. However, for the set menu, everyone at the table needs to order the same dishes. And I couldn't pick that option for my family, because they are a bit fussy (sorry guys!).
So I opted for the picnic-style lunch instead. Their usual picnic-style menu includes gourmet sandwiches, salads, quiches (which are amazing), pâtés, pestos and the two desserts in a jar mentioned above. However, I wanted something particularly fancy for my birthday, so Johann made up a special menu for me (see below). We were treated to really great salads (watermelon, rocket and feta; melon, Parma ham and Parmesan shavings; and a green salad, with strawberries and biltong); Salmon Roulade, Beef Carpaccio, and two yummy quiches (Bacon, caramelized onion and feta, and, Roasted vegetable). For dessert, we had Cassata and Cheese Cake, both served in glass jars.
The Celebration Table Package includes various other things to make it even more appealing. You get the beautifully-decorated table, a selection of five wines, still and sparkling water, a bottle of Villiera Traditional Brut or Brut Rosé, and gratuity for two waiters. To qualify for this package, you need to have a minimum of 10 guests and a maximum of 25.
The wine selection typically includes a bottle of each of the following wines: the Eleanor, the Riesling, the Shiraz (which the estate is famous for), the Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Merlot.
Although I enjoy all the wines, I particularly enjoyed the Riesling (see below). It was a hot day and the Riesling was really refreshing.
Johann was willing to adapt the wines for us too (isn't he great?), as my family are not big red wine drinkers. So we also added the Sauvignon Blanc and unwooded Chardonnay into our mix.
You can also taste all of these wines at the farm. If it's a nice day, you can sit in the pretty courtyard area. Otherwise, they can accommodate you inside in their tasting room. It costs R30 to taste 6 wines, which is very reasonable. The Riesling typically costs R80 a bottle and the Shiraz is R160. While you taste the wine, they bring you a bowl of olives and some crackers, which is another really nice touch. Service is super great at this place!
I'll definitely be popping round for another visit soon!
Contact: +27 21 865 2541
Address: Bottleray Road (M23), Stellenbosch