Located in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley outside Hermanus, Bouchard Finlayson is a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Conservation Champion. In addition to Wine Tastings, visitors may also book Guided Nature Walks to explore the natural beauty of the estate and to learn more about the rich Cape Floral Kingdom. The boutique winery has only 25 hectares planted with vineyard, while in the interest of biodiversity, 100 hectares remain as natural, protected fynbos. Guided Walking Trails are available throughout the year, but is most popular during the Spring months when the wild flowers are in bloom after the winter rains.
Expertly guided by Frank Woodvine, Bouchard Finlayson’s very own resident amateur botanist, a choice of three different Walking Trails (45 minutes, 60 minutes and two and a half hours), are available. (Cost: R300 for up to 6 people, thereafter an additional R50 per person – maximum 12 people in a group). The trails are also available to use 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 Bouchard Finlayson Estate, 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 an 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 door, Wine Tastings are offered during business hours Mondays to Saturdays, showcasing Bouchard Finlayson’s latest vintages – white blend Blanc de Mer 2015; Sauvignon Blanc 2016; Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2016; Sans Barrique Chardonnay 2016; Kaaimansgat/Crocodile’s Lair Chardonnay 2015; Missionvale Chardonnay 2014 and Bouchard Finlayson’s famed red blend, the Hannibal 2015. Also available for tasting is South Africa’s pinot pioneer and founder of Bouchard Finlayson, Peter Finlayson’s award-winning flagship wine, Galpin Peak Pinot Noir (currently the 2015 vintage). A tasting of three wines cost R20 per person; and a tasting of six wines cost R40 per person. By prior arrangement cellar tours are available and larger groups may be accommodated with advance notice too.
Delicious on their own, Bouchard Finlayson’s wines are also made to be enjoyed with food. Scrumptious Deli Platters can be pre-ordered, to be served on the terrace overlooking the vineyards, or in the cellar, and next to a crackling fire in winter. The generous platters are served on wooden boards made from old wine barrels, laden with a selection of Bresaola charcuterie, mild Gruberg cheese, Colby cheese, ciabatta, estate olive oil, olives, olive tapenade and mixed nuts. (Cost R210, serving 2 people)
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