It's a chilly day in Franschhoek as we make our way towards the Franschhoek Wine Tram. It seems like we are in some European village, which adds to the atmosphere. The first world feel continues as we pick up our tickets at the office. It's efficient, friendly and full of helpful information. Spot on time our guide Pumzi appears and again in foreign style we follow his flag to a bus which will take us to the first stop. Viva la Franschhoek - why leave South Africa when first world Europe has come here and it's much cheaper.
After a short trip we arrive at the train where a recorded message plays giving us a safety briefing before given us interesting information about the history of the railroad. With a toot we begin our chug along the rail line.
The open sides of the tram provide beautiful views of the vineyards as we chug slowly past them. From the tram we board a rickety trailer pulled by a tractor that bounces us in fun style along the road to, appropriately - Rickety Bridge wine farm.
And so begins the taste and visual extravaganza. A warm log fire welcomes us in, which is much appreciated, and soon we are seated sipping world-class wine and snacking on a cheese platter. It's only 11:30 but somewhere in the world its past noon so I shrug away any guilt about sipping from the vine before noon.
As the lingering flavor of “blackcurrant and mulberry with subtle hints of chocolate” mingled with my blue cheese platter fades away I'm thinking “this wine tram tour is going to be amazing!”
Spot on time our bouncy tractor ride arrives. This is like clockwork. Efficient. And to celebrate the sun pokes out washing us in its warm glow. As we head to our next destination on the train a rainbow stretches out before us. There's certainly likely to be gold at the end of it - liquid gold.
We arrive at Grande Provence and are welcome by an impressive display of sculptures from a huge elephant to a garden full of artistic wonders. Soon we are sipping Angels Tears amongst other wines seated next to a roaring log fire. I certainly could get used to this.
Like synchronized swimming, we are picked up and dropped off. So efficient. From here the trip gives us options of which farms we will visit. We decide to stop in Franschhoek village for a lunch before catching the next bus, which of course is spot on time, and delivers us at La Couronne wine estate.
It's after lunch, so of course wine paired with chocolate is what we need and receive. Seated on comfy couches we sip and nip, relaxing in the ambiance and slowly succumbing to the magic of this experience.
Our final stop is Holden Manz where even though it's the end of the day they are super accommodating. The kitchen's closed but they manage to find us some snacks to accompany our red wine experience. As I sip my final glass for the day, a 2010 Good Sport (aka port) cape vintage I muse, as one does with the help of many good wines, “Wow. A visit to Europe. Tasting the world's best wines. Mingled with stunning vistas. Interspersed with scenic rides. Finished off by South Africa hospitality. And I never left town. Viva la Franschhoek. Viva South Africa. Who would ever want to leave this stunning place?"
Next stop Winetram Tour Red Route. Would tomorrow be too soon?
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