In addition to your very special Hamilton Russell Vineyards, what are three other spots in the Valley that no visitor should miss out on? In terms of wine production, the Hemel-en-Aarde area is divided into three wine appellations: Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley (both geographically in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley) and Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge (just over the watershed in the next valley). Wine interested visitors should visit at least one property in each of the three appellations. If not Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Bouchard Finlayson in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Newton Johnson in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and Ataraxia in Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge.
What sets this Valley apart from the rest? Unusually close to the sea, we are at closest only 1,500 meters from the cool Atlantic - and an area of unusual beauty, hence the name Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven and Earth). It is surrounded by nature reserves and is the place in the Cape for quality Pinot noir.
Is there any particular experience that is available by invitation only? Lunch with Anthony and I in our home Braemar, following a tasting in the Hamilton Russell Vineyards barrel cellar.
When you and Anthony feel like popping out for a casual meal, where do you go and what is your favourite item on the menu? In Hermanus (only 10 minutes away), Bientangs Cave to enjoy a bottle of Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc and snoek pate, followed by grilled line-fish. In the Valley, chicken pies at the Plaas Kombuis on a rainy day, or on Friday night, steaks at B’s @ La Vierge with a bottle of Ashbourne.
And for special occasions? Where in the Valley would you book and what would you order? The Restaurant at Newton Johnson in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley or Origins @ The Marine in Hermanus. Both have such interesting menu’s that we always try to order something different.