Wine lovers can taste for themselves at Wine Shed

Juan Koen representing Riebeek Valley Wine Co and Nicole Worthington, The Wine Shed’s wineadvisor, presenting the winery’s hidden gems.
WINE LOVERS: Juan Koen representing Riebeek Valley Wine Co and Nicole Worthington, The Wine Shed’s wineadvisor, presenting the winery’s hidden gems.
Image: supplied

The world of SA wine is always full of new brands, blends, varietals and regions to explore, but much of the Western Cape’s wine output doesn’t find its way to our local Bay store shelves – so, how to know if something you’ve only read or heard about is worth hunting down or clicking on for an online order?

Tucked away in a corner of Richmond Hill Brewing Co in Alabaster St in the Baakens Valley, wine shop and tasting bar The Wine Shed has a novel solution – monthly tastings of wines that you mostly won’t find on local shelves, aimed at introducing wine lovers to unfamiliar producers and wines in an informal, inexpensive way.

A different winery features every month, with a tasting flight of five of their wines that can be ordered any day, any time (R90, and the tasting portions are generous), or as one of many wine-by the-glass options at RHBC and, if you like it, purchased by the bottle for home enjoyment.

The winery of the month also features in a monthly Wine & Nibbles evening (R160 for an informative tasting of ±7 wines presented by the producer and a generous buffet of quality charcuterie, cheeses, paté/dips, etc).

Here, the winery often presents some of their less well-known and not always locally available wines– a great way to get to know what else a winery does in addition to their wines you might already know (and also an opportunity to order them at farm prices).

February’s winery of the month is Riebeek Valley Wine Co, based in the dorpie of Riebeek-Kasteel in the Swartland, a former co-op of 22 farming members (one being the family of Springbok Pieter Steph du Toit, for the wine-loving rugby fans) with a cellar producing varying iterations of the “signature” Swartland wines of Chenin Blanc and Shiraz – vineyards of different ages, different winemaking methods, experimental and innovative stuff you might not expect from a co-op.

They’re also doing really interesting, and delicious, things with other grapes that produce well in those intense dry Swartland conditions that echo the dry Mediterranean conditions of coastal Spain and Italy, especially Grenache Blanc and Grenache Noir.

While Riebeek Valley Wine Co has an entry-level “Collection” range, both reds and whites well under R100 and well worth chasing up on a quality-value scale, the Wine & Nibbles tasting at The Wine Shed last week showed that the upper levels of smaller-batch wines in the RAAR and Kasteelberg ranges, are delivering great value-for-quality and interestingness too.

Hone in, for example, on the Petit Sirah (not the same grape as Shiraz/Syrah), for incredible deep purple colour, super-dry and full-bodied, with inky-deep, dark, juicy fruit and spice, but softness.

You can also not miss the bouncy and freshly intense Carbonic Shiraz, nor the refined reining-in of the flavours that burst out of the Kasteelberg range.

The beauty of this is that you don’t have to believe my ramblings, just pop into The Wine Shed before the end of February and taste for yourself.

Follow The Wine Shed on Facebook and Instagram for updates on events and specials (and, pssstttt…they have some cool Valentine’s Day wine (and beer) tasting offers for the day of love this Wednesday).


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