Who doesn’t enjoy a little leisurely wine tasting at a beautiful estate? Our family loves spending time in the winelands but in recent years we’ve tended to focus on picnics or meals.
The reason is that there’s nothing relaxing about wine tasting when bored kids are running rampant. The consumption of wine becomes a medicinal exercise versus an activity in appreciation and discovery. Am I right?
A few wise places have gone beyond your run of the mill jungle gym offering and created kid friendly tastings to entertain the little critters while mom and dad sample the real deal.
One such place that has it waxed is Eikendal in Stellenbosch.
I sourced this valuable info. in my trusty and dog-eared Stellenbosch guide. We set off on a weekend outing to check it out with one request from my daughter as we reversed down the driveway, “daddy can we actual follow Google’s directions this time please?” She raised a valid point and I was forced to conceal a smirk of amusement.
Eikendal is a Swiss owned farm located off the R44 on the magnificent slopes of the Helderberg Mountain. A unique microclimate contributes to excellent quality grapes. We arrived early as I like to avoid the crowd. As we wandered around it became evident that Eikendal is actually a bit of a destination.
Being first to arrive we were able to grab a lovely table in the courtyard. R100 gets you 3 wines paired with 3 delicious mini cheesecake slices or R60 gets you 5 wines with no pairing.
We took one of each and hubby and I shared. Booking is required for the cheesecake option.
The kid friendly tastings are R40 each and includes a glass of milk and a cute little box with cookies and decorating kit inside. There were 3 smug faces as they were presented with their treats and it kept them well out of mischief and very entertained. Not a crumb nor a sprinkle was left.
Cellar tours can be booked by arrangement. Many of their wines are award winning. I particularly enjoyed their Charisma red blend. I’m not a big Chardonnay fan as it evokes thoughts of heavy wooded flavours but their unwooded Janina Chardonnay was delightful with its cosy honey and citrus flavours.
After we’d finished with our tastings we took a walk through Eikendal’s beautiful vineyards. For R20 per adult you can follow a map through the vineyards but we opted for a briefer DIY route.
Being the height of summer, the vines were hanging with juicy ripe fruit.
Free tractor rides are on offer around the vineyards on weekends from September to April between 1100 and 1600. The tasting centre unfortunately missed telling us about them when we visited but we will definitely include that next time. Kids love tractor rides!
Cucina Di Giovanni
This is the restaurant at Eikendal offering indoor and outdoor seating. I always opt for outdoors weather permitting. The vibe outside is lovely with bench style seating, plenty of lush grass and an enticing jungle gym plus sandpit area to keep kids busy.
As the name may suggest, food is Italian inspired and they offer a kiddies menu with prices set at around R65 per meal. There’s at least 1 highchair.
If you are not from around town and wish to stay over there is also the gorgeous Eikendal Lodge here. Well-appointed, offering a pool, views and a peaceful environment, you’d be hard-pressed to not feel relaxed.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and will definitely return.
Julie Glück is the author of the blogg One Stop Wanderlust.