Tuesday, January 10, 2012

new years wine

houses in Amherst spaced out like the waitress' teeth
who served us coffee on the way to a useless beach
kids in the parking lot just barely getting by
since the cops found your stash, this whole town's run dry...

-the Diableros, "No One Wants To Drive"

We wanted to start celebrating New Years Eve as early as possible, but the only way we could justify drinking this early in the morning was by booking a wine tour for 8:30AM in Stellenbosch, South Africa’s famous wine country. We had a lovely South African woman of British descent named Fern as our guide who drove us around and explained to us why people do things like swirl the wine around in the glass, raise it to the light, and sniff it, rather than my preference to just chug it down.

wine tour! wine tour! wine tour!

At that point I was starting to come down with a cold and a stuffy nose, which meant I couldn’t really smell or properly taste anything, but I was not going to let that stop me from going on the wine tour. It was still a rip-roaring good time. We went with Eleanora, Cesar, Sarah, and Till.

eleonora inspects the casks


The first place we went to was a beautiful sunny champagne farm, where we got to view how champagne is made. Fern opened the bottle with a sabre. I would like to get a sabre so I can get into sabrage.

cesar wields the sabre

The second place was a wine farm called Tokara. By this point I was on my fourth glass of wine so I actually remember very little about this place, except for a vaguely racist piece of artwork on the wall that only I seemed to have noticed.

wait, when did this photo happen?

We stopped for lunch at a cute little place called Le Pommier, which had a petting zoo outside with animals that Cesar bonded with. My main question was whether the animals were for petting and pet-related purposes or for fresh food. We were served a yummy dish of bobajtie, a South African meal that comfortingly reminded me of Rob’s shepherd’s pie, with a glass of wine, of course.

Our next stop was Solms-Delta, located in the little village of Franschhoek. When we arrived, a high school brass band was performing on the lawn, which made me happy because it reminded me of my own concert band days in high school. When I die and go to heaven, I’ll be playing in a big brass band. I particularly like this winery because they gave us like nine drinks, pushing me over the edge into bubbly cheerfulness. The estate featured wines with lovely names like Cape Jazz Shiraz and Lekkerwijn. It also featured the expensive Africana wine, which incidentally was included in the 1001 Wines To Try Before You Die book. We did not get a taste of this, no matter how much we tried to plead with our drunken charm.

Our final stop was Fairview, which in addition to providing many samples of their yummy wines like their Pinotage, also offered samples of their famous cheese. Yesssss.

By the time we got back to our hotel after the tour around 6PM, we were feeling pretty darn tipsy. But it was New Years Eve! There was still much more partying to be done for the evening. It was time to man up.

We dealt with our headaches caused by red wine and hot sun by ordering some Ethiopian take-out food from Addis in Cape. I. Freaking. Love. Ethiopian. Food. We invited folks to gather at our hotel suite for pre-drinks and soon enough we were dipping back into the wine we had bought from the tour that day.

We made our way through the crowds at the Waterfront, past the overpriced restaurants packed full of overdressed tourists. it was as hectic as Canada Day on Parliament Hill, and we could barely move. there was a street party going on around every corner.

We finally found ourselves climbing down a concrete wall on to a remarkably empty dock, overlooking the harbour. It was the perfect Gloria Guns sort of moment, waiting on someone's private dock in my little black cocktail dress with my friends for the midnight countown, with a Powerade bottle full of wine wrapped in a plastic bag, bare feet dangling into the Atlantic Ocean. it was like a scene right out of my high school days, or a line from a Diableros song.

Sarah and Till

incredibly unflattering photo of me on the dock

Midnight snuck up on us without warning. If there was a countdown, we missed it, possibly because of the Powerade bottle. We initiated our own second countdown and cheered with champagne and hugs. Then it was time to go dancing. Somewhere on the streets we found Mathieu and his lady.

Several clubs and bars later, we went back to our hotel with our CBA couples, where Joseph whipped up some food that he had magically found in our fridge. It was no McDonalds, but magnificent nonetheless and we all appreciated it. By the time I stumbled into bed, the sun was already up – we had been drinking wine for nearly twenty-four hours.

here is a picture of me riding a lion for some reason.