On Wednesday morning we woke up bright and early to depart for Waterford Estate in Stellenbosch. We drove up the stunning entrance to Waterford through the clementine trees just before sunrise. There we were met by Kevin Arnold, the Waterford winemaker, who spent the day with us, telling us “The story outside of the bottle”.
Our first task was to head into the fields and pick Malbec grapes with the Waterford team! The Londolozi staff were very excited to touch and taste the grapes that later ended up in the wine they pour for their guests in the bush. We ran up and down the vineyard picking the grapes and loading them into the tractors. After a couple of hours in the field we returned to the main building for tea and coffee before our tour of the estate and explanation of the winemaking process.
We saw everything – from where the grapes were de-stemmed, crushed, and fermented to where they were put in the barrels and stored. We even saw where the wine was bottled, labeled and shipped off to the distributors. It was an incredible experience to see the long and gentle process of winemaking from vine to bottle.
Kevin took us on a ‘game drive’ of the beautiful estate in the Wine Tour Land Rover while explaining to us the ‘Waterford Way’ which has many parallels to what we do at Londolozi. He emphasized the importance of the land, the people and the wildlife and how winemaking respects nature just as we do in the bush.
Overall our visit to Waterford was an eye-opening experience for everyone. Now that we understand the process of making the wine and all the work that goes into it, we can give our guests at Londolozi a better experience in camp and teach them about South African wines.
A big thank you to Kevin Arnold and the Waterford team for making this such an incredible experience!
Written, Filmed & Photographed by: Trisha Siegel