Wine Tasting & Sales (at The Bergkelder)


OPEN TIMES
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Hol
Monday - Friday: 08h30 - 17h00
Saturday (November to March): 10h00 - 16h00
Public Holidays: 10h00 - 16h00
 
Closed on Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Good Friday

Do you simply drink wine, or do you taste wine? Anyone can drink wine, but it takes practice to be able to recognise and distinguish a wine's characteristics. So whether you are an experienced wine connoisseur or a novice, welcome to our celebration of wine.
 
Tasting Techniques 
Wine is not just like art, wine is an art. It can be subjective in nature, but there are some general "guidelines" by which wine connoisseurs judge a wine. It is very easy to learn the techniques of wine tasting, and if you already enjoy wine, learning the nuances of wine tasting will simultaneously increase the pleasure you derive from tasting. In wine tasting you don't simply drink the wine. There are important steps that precede drinking. They are: visual, smell and tasting. 
 
VISUAL 
 
How do you study a wine? 
What can its appearance tell you? You can tell much about a wine simply by studying its appearance. The wine should be poured into a clear glass and held in front of a white background (a tablecloth or piece of paper will serve nicely) so that you can examine the colour. The colour of wine varies tremendously, even within the same type of wine. For example, white wines are not actually white; they range from green to yellow to brown. Paler whites are lighter. More colour usually indicates more flavour and age, although a brown wine may have gone bad. Where as time improves many red wines, it ruins most white wine. Red wines are not just red; they range from a pale red to a deep brown red, usually becoming lighter in colour as they age. 
 
Rim colour: You can guess the age of a red wine by observing its "rim". Tilt the glass slightly and look at the edge of the wine. A purple tint may indicate youth while orange to brown indicates maturity. 
 
Swirling: Swirling the wine serves many purposes, but visually it allows you to observe the body of the wine. "Good legs" may indicate a thicker body and a higher alcohol content and/or sweetness level. 
 
SMELL 
 
Why is smelling a wine important? What can you derive about a wine from its smell? 
Have you ever wondered why wine connoisseurs always swirl a glass of wine before smelling or tasting? Swirling releases molecules in the wine that allow you to smell the aroma, also called the bouquet or nose. 
 
There are two main techniques that wine tasters use:
  1. Take a quick whiff and formulate an initial impression, then take a second deeper whiff. or...
  2. Take only one deep whiff.
Either way, after you smell the wine, sit back and contemplate the aroma. Don't try to "taste" the wine yet, concentrate only on what you smell. What did you smell? 
 
It may be difficult to describe in words when you're a novice, but after trying many wines you will notice certain similarities and differences. Sometimes a certain smell will be very strong with underlying hints of other smells. Take your time and differentiate by labelling an aroma you will probably remember it better. You may even want to keep a notebook of your impressions of wines, and/or save the labels; next time you see the wine you won't have to purchase it or open it to know if you like it. 
 
Later, as you taste the wine in your mouth, your sense of smell adds complexity to the taste. Your tongue only recognises four sensations (sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and bitterness), while aroma receptors at the back of the tongue clarify the taste. Your sense of smell can also warn you that a wine smells "off", or is defective. 
 
TASTE 
 
How should you taste a wine? How can you describe the wine? 
The most important quality of a wine is its balance between sweetness and acidity. While our sense of taste would seem to be the most important in exploring a wine, the sense of smell largely determines what we taste. There are aroma receptors on the back of the tongue which help clarify the taste of the wine, and this is why it is important to slosh the wine to all parts of the mouth and draw in some air. 
 
Common wine characteristics: 
  • Taste - Dry to sweet
  • Body - Light to full
  • Acidity - Low to high (crisp)
  • Tannins - Weak to strong
There are three stages of tasting: 
  1. Initial taste: (Or first impression) This is where the wine awakens your senses (your taste buds respond to sensations).
  2. Taste: Slosh the wine around and draw in some air (even if you do look funny in front of your dinner guests). Examine the body and texture of the wine. Is it light or rich? Smooth or harsh?
  3. After taste: The taste that remains in your mouth after you have swallowed the wine. How long did the taste last? Was it pleasant?
After tasting the wine, take a moment to value its overall flavour and balance. Is the taste appropriate for that type of wine? If the wine is very dry, is it supposed to be? Some serious wine connoisseurs assign a point score to a wine to determine its quality. While this method can be useful, it is in no way necessary to determine a quality wine. The more different wines you try, and the more attention you pay to each wine, the better you will become at ascertaining and describing each wine's characteristics.
 
Costs for Cellar Tours and Tasting
R25 per person and R10 per person (non-taster fee) for just cellar tour without tasting. 
R20 per person for tasting only in the wine shop
 
Another Option: Cellar Door Passport
1. R50 passport allows visits to 4 of the 14 wine farms that includes tour and tasting and can be used up to 6 months
2. R100 passport allows visits to all 14 wine farms that includes tour and tasting and can be used up to one year.