The FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage, scheduled to happen from 8-10 November 2021, is the second of the three FNB W2W events to reach full capacity!

While Covid-19 has put a dampener of the usually high levels of #SeriousGEES over the past 18 months, the FNB Wines2Whales is excited to announce that the Pinotage event, scheduled for 8-10 November 2021, has officially reached capacity and there are no additional entries available. For riders still eager to take part, Shiraz entries are available until 10 September, or until completely sold out.

The Pinotage event, which takes place during the work week, has long been a highly sought-after event as it is perfectly positioned for riders who travel to the Western Cape. With the race beginning on a Monday and ending on a Wednesday, the Pinotage presents the perfect opportunity to enjoy pre- and post-event weekends in the spectacular Mother City, taking in the sights and sounds, and enjoying the FNB Wines2Whales Wine Route!

“We are stoked to share the news that we have reached capacity in the FNB W2W Pinotage as it shows the dedication and commitment of our riders,” explained JK, FNB Wines2Whales Founder. “This past year and a half has been nothing short of a nightmare for us as event organisers as we had to postpone the 2020 event, something we never thought would happen in a million years! At least we had two years to shape the new FNB W2W Switchback route, with many surprises up our sleeves. I’d like to personally thank each and every rider who has placed their trust in us; I promise you that we are going to offer you the best possible FNB Wines2Whales experience under the sun!”

Following swiftly in the Chardonnay and Pinotage’s tracks, the Shiraz event is also reaching capacity. But do not stress, just yet! Any riders longing to experience the inaugural FNB Wines2Whales Switchback can still get their hands on an entry to the Shiraz event up until 10 September when entries close, provided they don’t sell out before then!

 

Be warned, entries are highly limited and they’re only available here: https://wines2whales.com/riders/entry-information/

Arguably the most iconic of the Hemel en Aarde, Hamilton Russel Vineyards is as synonymous with the valley as a wine region as it is with Pinot Noir in South Africa. The estate’s pioneering spirit led, in no small part, to the establishment of the Hemel en Aarde valley as a world-renowned wine region.

Founded in 1975, Hamilton Russel is the oldest wine farm in the Hemel en Aarde valley. Purchased as undeveloped fynbos, by Tim Hamilton Russel, the estate was carefully chosen for its cool, maritime, climate and clay-rich, shale-derived, soil. Initially a broader approach to wine making was taken; but under current owner, Anthony Hamilton Russell’s, guidance the focus was narrowed to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Since 1991 Hamilton Russell Vineyards have specialised in those two varietals. “We are not so much using Hamilton Russell Vineyards to make Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as we are using Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to express the beauty and personality of Hamilton Russell Vineyards” Anthony Hamilton Russell has explained. “Our terroir, in effect, ‘chose’ these varieties as its most individual and beautiful expression.”

Sister farms, Ashbourne and Southern Right Wines add Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc to the Hemel en Aarde Valley’s world-class wines. Though the main attraction for visitors on wine tasting tours surely remains the old dame of the region.

Hamilton Russell Vineyards
Location: Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Hemel en Aarde Road, Hermanus
Website: www.hamiltonrussellvineyards.com
Opening Hours: 09h00 to 17h00 on weekdays and 10h00 to 14h00 on Saturdays

 

Perhaps better known as Die Plaaskombuis, Lötter Family Wines is one of the Hemel en Aarde Valley’s best kept secrets. Perfectly located for a mid-ride meal the farm is also well-worth a visit without your bike so you can indulge in a wine tasting too.

A place of refuge and healing, Vrede Farm has been owned by the Lötter Family since 1978. Along with 4-kilometres of singletrack, all of which is used during FNB Wines2Whales, every grape used in the production of the Lötter Family Wines is grown on the 30-hactare farm. The shale derived clay soils and cool climate provide the terroir for winemaker, Hannes Storm’s passionate productions.

Despite the farm being a valley institution for decades the first bottle of Lötter Family Wines was produced as recently as 2015. The estate’s style is driven by a philosophy of simplicity and minimal interference, with a focus of showcasing the terroir and varietal.  Storm believes the wines will develop beautifully with age, but is eager to point out that they are elegant enough to be enjoyed upon release too.

No trip through the Hemel en Aarde Valley would be complete without a stop at Die Plaaskombuis. Famed for its farm hospitality and authentic traditional Overberg cuisine its Curried Tripe, Cape Style Bobotie, Oxtail and Lamb Curry, served with samp or rice, attract hungry visitors year-round. For lighter meals the kitchen produces delicious homemade pies and also sells organic vegetables, fresh farm eggs, local cheeses and home baked breads.

A safe and spacious play area for children means visitors can bring their kids to Die Plaaskombuis too. While you relax over a glass of Lötter Grenache Rosé or Lötter Syrah the younger family members can keep themselves entertained. At least until lunch is served at least…

 

Die Plaaskombuis & Lötter Family Wines
Location: Vrede Farm, Hemel en Aarde Road, near Hermanus
Website: www.dieplaaskombuishermanus.co.za
Opening Hours: 7 days a week from 10h00 to 17h00

The appeal of the FNB Wines2Whales has long been the journey from Lourensford to Hermanus, along incredible mountain biking trails across world famous wine estates. With the route change up for the Switchback, that classic formula remains consistent as wine farms, and their wines, are the heart of FNB W2W. These are the farms which make it tick…

Cool climates, sea breezes and fertile soils make for great wines and spectacular mountain biking; as any FNB Wines2Whales rider can confirm. Wine making and mountain biking go hand-in-hand in South Africa, in a way which simply doesn’t happen elsewhere in the world. Where else are riders welcomed onto private properties, invited to ride purpose-built trails and then encouraged to linger, in glamourous tasting rooms or restaurants, still outfitted in muddy cycling kit?

We are spoilt! FNB W2W is very aware of how fortunate South African mountain bikers are. The wine estates which host the Chardonnay, Pinotage and Shiraz events make the races the world-class events they are. Too often, though, we speed through the farms, swooping thought their manicured singletracks and speeding past their vineyards – making notes to return for a slower visit another time.

Well, now is the time and here is the list. A unique wine tour through the farms which make up the Wines of FNB Wines2Whales. Starting from Onrus, we’ll take you on a wine tour of the FNB Wines2Whales Switchback route, but from the wales to the wines of Lourensford; as we upload each individual wine farm, you’ll be able to click through to a unique story of each region listed below.

For a taste of the FNB Wines2Whales Wine Route, be sure to take a look at Wine Village Hermanus’ amazing FNB W2W Wine Collection, consisting of only the best wines from the farms along the route; click here to shop.

Hemel en Aarde Valley

The deep valleys and high peaks of the Hemel en Aarde Mountain Range, along with distinct soils and crisp Atlantic Sea breezes, creating a geographically diverse region for producing world-class wines. From their aspects, the vineyards soak up bountiful sunlight to produce site-specific Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Bot River

The Bot River ward and village in the Overberg region is flanked by the foothills of the Groenlandberg and Babylonstoren mountain ranges. With favourable soils of shale and sandstone, this maritime influenced winegrowing area cradles just enough warmth to produce rich Pinotage and Shiraz and Chenin Blanc.  – Roxanne Waldeck, Sommelier and Wine Educator.

Elgin

The Elgin district lies in the Cape South Coast region on a unique, high-lying plateau overlooking the sea. It boasts the coolest ripening season in South Africa, producing Sauvignon Blanc and Méthode Cap Classic of distinct character, with the integrity of the surrounding features echoed in the wines.

 

Helderberg Basin

The Helderberg mountain range as its gentle slopes face out to False Bay, and boasts a wine offering as diverse as its terroir. With some of the oldest wine estates of the region, Somerset West has a proud reputation for port and red wine, while in recent years is receiving attention for its remarkable, site specific white wines made from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

– All region descriptions by Roxanne Waldeck, Sommelier and Wine Educator.