Fynbos Nature Walk

Bouchard Finlayson is offering a unique wine tasting excursion to make the most of the upcoming wild flower Spring season when the Cape Floral Kingdom will come alive after the winter rains. Guests to the farm are invited to explore the natural beauty of the area with a guided walk, followed by a wine tasting and a delicious Deli Platter that can be enjoyed in the cellar, or on the terrace on sunny days overlooking the vineyards. The wine tasting and excursion has to be pre-booked (R245 per person), and includes a choice of three different walking trails (45 minutes, 60 minutes and two and a half hours), expertly guided by Frank Woodvine, Bouchard Finlayson’s very own resident amateur botanist.

Located in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley outside Hermanus, Bouchard Finlayson is a member of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI) – a partnership between the South African wine industry and the conservation sector, which is aimed at protecting the Cape’s rich floral kingdom. The boutique winery has only 22 hectares of vineyard, while in the interest of biodiversity, 100 hectares remain as natural, protected fynbos. All the walking trails on the farm are also available free of charge to visitors who prefer self-guided walks – hikers may collect maps and sign indemnity forms at the cellar door.

More than 306 plant species have been identified on the farm, some of which are scarce and protected, such as Witsenia Maura (commonly known as the Bokmakierieriet), which was thought to be locally extinct in the greater Hermanus region. The walks may also include other exciting sightings such as the first bloom of the Gladiolus bullatus, also known as the Caledon Bluebell, and many different species of Erica and Protea. Hikers may also be lucky enough to spot South Africa’s national bird, the Blue Crane, as well as grysbok and mongoose, and on rare occasions could even come across footprints of the elusive Cape mountain leopard, which is known to roam through this region.

The Red Route (2,5 hours) incorporates a newly extended Forest Loop in the Galpin’s Kloof. This part of Afro-montane forest is one of the few still surviving on the northern slopes of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and carries some fine specimens of indigenous trees. It is the only section of land on the estate sheltered from the strong winds and veld fires, allowing fine specimens of Rooiels (Gunonia Capensis), Boekenhout (Rapanea Melanophloes), Cape Holly (Ilex Mitis) and others to flourish here. The Forest Loop trail reaches a small, grassy sward at the foot of a waterfall that is ideal for a picnic.

Back at the cellar after the walk, wine tastings include six of Bouchard Finlayson’s latest vintages – white blend Blanc de Mer 2015; Sauvignon Blanc 2015; Sans Barrique Chardonnay 2015; Kaaimansgat/Crocodile’s Lair Chardonnay 2014; Bouchard Finlayson’s famed red blend, the Hannibal 2014; as well as pinot pioneer, winemaker Peter Finlayson’s award-winning flagship wine, Galpin Peak Pinot Noir (currently the 2013 vintage).

Available Mondays to Saturdays (departing at 9am), guests may book a choice of three walking trails, varying in distance between 45 minutes and two and a half hours. The excursion includes a wine tasting of Bouchard Finlayson’s latest vintages, as well as a Deli Platter (bread, olives, olive tapenade, estate olive oil, cheese, salami, mixed nuts, biltong and droëwors). Total cost is R245 per person (children under 12 pay R145, children older than 12 and younger than 18 pay R195) and groups are limited to a maximum of 12 people. The package is subject to availability and needs to be pre-booked a week in advance. Minimum charges apply for groups smaller than six people. Groups bigger than 12 people may be accommodated on request – also at other times.

Reservations: info@bouchardfinlayson.co.za or Tel 028 312 3515.