One of the highlights of a trip to Excelsior is going to the wine tasting centre, located on a very picturesque dam with the Langeberg mountains in the background, and the opportunity to blend ‘your own creation’ wine.
It all started seven year ago at the Wacky Wine Weekend when Excelsior tried to give visitors to the farm a different experience. We have a bottling line in the cellar and we invited visitors to mark a bottle, watch it go through the process of being filled with wine and then label it themselves. Despite its popularity, we quickly realised that this possibly wasn’t the brightest idea as it’s clearly not in line with food safety requirements, there’s the expense of having the entire operation going and things that usually run like clockwork have a habit of going wrong in front of a crowd!
The initial idea evolved into inviting visitors to have a go at blending their own wine and bottling it themselves. There are three gravity fed tanks containing Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon in the wine tasting centre and visitors are invited to blend small batches to taste (some are much better than others!).
When you have the combination that suits your taste, you fill up the bottle in the correct proportions leaving a small space for the cork.
The ‘wine blenders’ then puts in the cork themselves using the standard corker which used to be used at Excelsior for small runs. Thank goodness we don’t have to cork all our bottles by hand anymore! It’s actually much harder than it looks so there’s always a member of the Excelsior team on hand to help.
Once the cork is in place, the capsule is placed over the neck of the bottle and then ‘melted’ into place by the shrinker. You’ve got to be quick though or you melt it beyond recognition.
Guests then label their ‘own creation’ and record the proportions of the wines in their blend.
Often visitors tell us that they save this bottle for a special occasion like an anniversary or make several with friend and have a ‘blend-off’!
Come and have a go! Click here for more details.