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The turn off to Paul Cluver is alongside a giant apple packhouse, and you drive through neat apple orchards to reach the tasting room. This is serious farming country, and the Cluvers are serious 4th generation farming folk.
The whole family is involved on the farm, and they are no ordinary family. Neurosurgeon Dr Paul Cluver built the estate into a model deciduous fruit farm, and re-introduced wine grapes to the Elgin area in 1986, producing the first wine ever to carry the Elgin Wine of Origin on the label. Today the wines are all very highly rated. Look out for the Gewurztraminer and the Riesling, superb examples of varieties that are not common in South Africa.
The family has a passion for many community causes, but perhaps most of all for conservation, and the farm has over 1000 hectares in The Cluver Family Reserve, which in turn, is part of the Kogelberg biosphere. Their passion for all that is green can be seen the tasting room where the tables are hewn from alien trees, removed so that the natural vegetation can regenerate. Similarly the outside walls and the big tables in the rustic Fresh Restaurant have been crafted from farm wood.
Fresh may be rustic in appearance, but the food is far from that, the seasonal and colourful palette of organic, farm-fresh dishes are simply delicious.
Next to the restaurant, you will find an old copper still where the luxury apple spirit brand, Malus, is twice distilled before maturing in casks and bottled in hand-blown decanters. The farm's latest product is Cluver&Jack craft cider, the crispest most refreshing cider I have ever tasted.
If you are a keen mountain biker, this is the place for you. There are four trails of different distances, some fairly technical. And then there is the Mamba, a rollercoaster ride down through a river valley with 6 bridges. All the information is on the Cluver website…just reading it makes me feel weak.
The most marvellous place on the farm is the woodland amphitheatre, situated in a forest of towering eucalyptus trees, also made entirely of wood felled on the farm. The venue seats 600 people and holds concerts from November through to February. Bring your own picnic and buy some Cluver wine or cider and let the magic happen. All the proceeds go to the Thembalitsha Foundation and their projects for less advantaged folk in the area.
Update: January 2018
Fresh has been replaced by SALT- the latest venture from legendary chefs Craig Cormack and Beau du Toit. The ‘SALT’ philosophy is to have an authentic approach which means using only the best ingredients to cook honest, no fuss, but tasty food.
Close Encounter Riesling 2015
Mon – Fri 09h00 – 17h00
Sat 09h00 – 15h00
Sun 09h00 - 15h00
SALT Restaurant Tues - Sun 08h30 - 16h30
Booking advised. Closed 24, 25 December and 1 January.
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Paul Cluver Estate Wine, Grabouw, South Africa, -34.168786, 19.085451000000035