Passport to great cellar door offers and bonanza of tastes

Monday, 28 October, 2013
The Cellar Door Collection Passport
The Cellar Door Collection Passport, priced at R120, offers R399 worth of tastings, experiences and discounts at 14 top-name South African cellars.

A convenient and easy-to-use passport to great winery, brandy distillery and other drinks experiences has been launched by a suite of high-profile cellars. Priced at just R120 but offering R399 in real value, the Cellar Door Collection Passport covers 14 cellar stops mostly in and around the Cape Winelands and is valid for a full six months from the date of purchase.

Those participating have all been acclaimed for excellence on local and international competitions. They are South Africa's most awarded winery, Nederburg, as well as Plaisir de Merle, Fleur du Cap, Alto, Le Bonheur, Stellenzicht, Uitkyk, Neethlingshof, JC le Roux, Van Ryn's Distillery, Durbanville Hills, De Oude Drostdy, Klipdrift Distillery and the Amarula Lapa.

While most cellars are based in or close to Stellenbosch, Paarl or Simondium, but others stretch as far as Tulbagh, Robertson and Phalaborwa in Limpopo.

The new-generation passport follows on a highly successful initial launch several years ago, says Samantha Stilborg, who has co-ordinated the initiative. "What's new is that we have an even more generous range of offers, worth an additional R279. These have been developed on the basis of feedback from the many domestic and international visitors who purchased the first version of the passport."

She adds that the passports are ideally suited for people who enjoy the Winelands but also have a chance to venture further afield, like Limpopo, famous for its game viewing and safari lodges. "They are extremely popular amongst South Africans, but also foreign travellers. We have also found they are frequently bought as birthday, special occasion and festive gifts."

The collection offers a varied and interesting combination of tastings of wines, including sparkling and Cap Classique wines and fortified wines, specialty luxury pot-still and popular brandies, as well as Amarula, the country's best-loved alcohol cream drink. These can be sampled on their own and one can be upgraded as a complimentary bonus for passport-holders and paired with a variety of foods, depending on the combinations conceived by the individual cellars. The food pairings range from cheeses to canapés and confection, like meringues and marshmallows, chocolate and fudge.

Passport holders are entitled to a combination of eight drinks tastings for the cover price, discount vouchers worth R90 on products purchased from participating cellars, as well as complimentary coffees served in some of the restaurants involved. Several of the establishments also offer tours as part of their cellar door experiences to passport holders.

Van Ryn's, for example, takes visitors to see its traditional copper pot stills at work and to watch the coopers assembling the French oak barrels by hand that are used for ageing the connoisseur brandies. Fleur du Cap's stop-over includes a tour of the famous Bergkelder cellar built right into the side of the Papegaai mountain, while visitors to Nederburg will go into the working cellar and also encounter some of the winery's rich history that goes back more than two centuries.

Passport holders can stay updated on special seasonal offers from participating establishments by subscribing to the Cellar Door Collection newsletter.

Passports are available for purchase from any of the participating cellar doors.

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