24 March 2008

Cruising with Viljoensdrift

The view from the upper deck of Viljoensdrift's boat

The first time I went on a river cruise with Fred Viljoen the wind was so fierce that the boat couldn’t make headway, diners wine glasses and food were whipped off tables to delight the fishes and the trip had to be abandoned. But this year the weather was perfect. Fred has a spiffy new aluminium boat with two decks and more space, which is needed as these picnic trips along the Breede River have become very popular. There are now several trips a day but even so some people who have turned up without a booking are disappointed. But not too much because they can enjoy their picnic on the river bank.

The idea is that you arrive at the riverside forty minutes before departure and order your picnic choices of breads, meats, cheeses, nuts and olives from their delicatessen. Bread is baked to order and the picnic basket is assembled. Then there is the important task of ordering wine and you can hone your choices at a tasting counter. Then it is time to collect your picnic, wine, water, glasses and ice buckets and board.

The boat heads down the river until progress is impeded by a weir then back the other way, passing the boarding jetty, until it is time to turn again and head home. The river is peaceful, the scenery changes at each bend. Fish jump, there are birds in the trees, the sun is shining, the sky is blue and there is an ice bucket and chilled wine from Viljoensdrift to sip. It is an idyllic way to spend an hour.

Viljoensdrift ‘River Grandeur’ Pinotage 2004
There’s creamy cassis, plums and stone fruits in this well made attractive wine, and it has a really nice finish. This is a clean, modern fruit driven wine, and very reasonably priced. Lovely stuff.

When you visit the Viljoensdrift website at http://www.viljoensdrift.co.za/ don't miss the eye symbol with the word 'view' on their homepage. Click on that for a virtual tour of the winery and river, where youcan select your view point, including birds-eye views. Clever stuff.

Sign on Viljoensdrift riverside tasting room door


  1. Hey Peter

    It seems like you are really enjoying our beautiful country, hey?

    You are an excellent tourist and wine lover, sir!

  2. Hi Peter,
    I'm a big fan of Viljoendrift's Pinotage, a divine dream-away wine! I've been to their estate twice and loved the river cruise! An enchanting place!

    Best regards,