Review: mooiplaas Wine estate
“Mooiplaas” directly translated to ‘Pretty Farm’ is everything it promises to be in its very un-mysterious name. Pretty. Think grass lawns, trees, mountains, 200-year-old barns and of course small canopies shading small tables and chairs. It’s pretty, very pretty.
Asking only R20 a wine tasting (a very delicious variety with very generous servings), Mooiplaas attracts a familial crowd rather than students from the local university hopping past cheap wines. “Why? It’s so darn cheap?!” You may ask. Well, to get to Mooiplaas is quite a mission, you know when the GPS preaches “turn left on unpaved road” that you are going to the unknown side of things. About 5km of “unpaved road” further, a road lined with century-old trees and cobble stones, you feel steadily lost and confused until right at the end of the road, as a mirage, Mooiplaas funally shows up. Apart from a required carwash after the trip, this road offers Mooiplaas a special kind of solitude, quiet. You don’t hear cars or highways for miles to come, much less see anything but stretching grass lawn and shading trees.
The wine tastings are held in what looks like ancient stables, with high ceilings and gigantic old doorways. Even though the wine is dry and aromatic, it is in fact the picnic that keeps visitors coming back for more. The picnic basket, which should be ordered in advance, is stuffed full of treats that you take down to the lawns bordering the vineyards. There are bottles of preserves, olives, hummus, and a homemade basil pesto (it’s not quite blended, just mixed which means the flavours are just-just getting unleashed. It’s to die for…) Digging further in what seems an endless rabbit-hole of treats you also uncover a moorish baguette (a heavy carb, almost like a sourdough) and a variety of rich cheeses and delectable cured meats.
Lying on the lawns stuffed with food and wine happiness is the ultimate conclusion. Be warned, though, Mooiplaas can get uncannily busy, with every shade having a resident for the day, so come rather sooner than later to ensure a good spot. Staff run up and down the lawns for extra supplies of wine, water and cool drink and everyone is extremely friendly and eager to help.
Why not make a day of the trip and go hiking, mountain cycling or even horse riding in the mountainous vineyards, all of which Mooiplaas also supplies. Driving the dirt road back and the 40 minutes to Cape Town, reality will soon sink back in, but not to worry, Mooiplaas is open every Sunday, waiting for you with a basket in hand.
Costs: The winetasting is R20 pp, picnic basket is R250 and is enough for two people. Wine bottles start from R43.