For almost a decade Julian has stood far from the standard wine tours available in South Africa. It’s not just his knowledge of more than 300 vineyards, it’s his appreciation of the palate that makes the difference.
Most wine tours from Cape Town or Stellenbosch follow a trusted route to the same vineyards, usually large wine farms best set up to receive international visitors. Julian creates a new route for every trip, dependent on the tastes and preferences of his guests. This includes multi-day trips with 20+ vineyards or adapting the itinerary on the day.
“The Cape Winelands are brilliant because there are so many vineyards. I always have at least ten nearby options I can call upon during a trip. So based on their reaction to the first vineyard I can adapt where we go next. If my guests are drunk by midday we can visit a quiet farm for a slow lunch and afternoon. If they get really excited by their first Pinotage we can go to the best Pinotage vineyards, or meet the family of the man who first cultivated Pinotage."
Julian now trains his own guides to do the day tours for him and mostly sticks to more complex multi-day itineraries, in his role as travel designer. But he still guides a few trips himself, especially for people who share his passion for wine. Some people come to Cape Town and have been told they have to do a wine tour. But they don’t like wine. These are not the people who can benefit from Julian’s expertise.
“My favourite trips are with visitors who really want to understand and appreciate South African wine. People who know you can’t know a country’s wine in a single day. We first do a nice day introducing the varietals and style. I get to know their palate and we do two or more days that really focus on the details, including meeting winemakers and vineyards not usually open to the public.”
If you want to do some wine tasting then there are hundreds of wine tours in South Africa. If you want the very best in South African wine, Julian is your travel designer.
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