What’s on in JulyJuly 13th, 2023
The arrival of winter brings a sense of calm and stillness, blanketing the farm in a soft haze.
The garden’s bare bones stand tall against the clouded Winelands sky – there’s never a better time to admire the handiwork of our pruning and espalier expert, Oom Anton, and his fellow pruning pros. Why not join them for a workshop this winter to learn their craft and apply it in your own garden?
In July, our gardeners take time to cut away the dead weight of the previous season to prep for an abundant new harvest come spring. Though the earth lies dormant, the farm’s spirit remains alive. Winter crops such as hearty beetroot and cold-resistant kale and cauliflower thrive in the Kitchen Garden (also known as the Moestuin). In our Spice House, the temperate climate allows exotics such as pepper, vanilla and cinnamon to thrive, offering a rare glimpse of distant tropical lands right here in the garden.
Further afield, farmer Ian and his team continue to bring in the abundant citrus harvest. We’re still harvesting Eureka lemons and Tango mandarins as we also kick off the long-awaited blood orange harvest in July. They’ve had ample time to gain their blood-red hearts on nippy winter mornings and now Ippolito – a member of the Tarocco blood orange variety – is first up for the picking. Read more about the blood orange varieties cultivated on the farm here.
5 THINGS TO SEE
◗ Stroll through the Puff Adder walkway to see our collection of unusual rocks. You can also book a workshop with expert Ernst van Jaarsveld for a close encounter with the fascinating world of rocks, stone tools and rock gongs.
◗ Come rain or shine, our farm remains open throughout the winter. Bring the kids during the school holiday for a fun day out. Children aged between 8 and 12 can join our hands-on garden workshop on growing their own veggies. There are limited spots available.
◗ Pull up a chair in our Greenhouse Restaurant to enjoy one of our new breakfast options. The Greenhouse Restaurant is open from 9h00 until 17h00 daily during winter. No reservation is required.
◗ Swing by the last lane of the garden next to the clivia plantation to see the custard apple tree bearing its unusual fruits. Also called cherimoya or sugar apple, this tropical fruit is known for its sweet flavour and vanilla-like smell. It doesn’t have a long shelf-life, unfortunately, which is why we so love to enjoy them when they’re in season.
◗ Duck for cover on rainy days. Book an underground cellar tour and wine tasting when the weather is gloomy, or escape to the ambient Spice House for some tranquillity and warmth.
SA’s TUG-OF-WAR CHAMP VISITS BABYLONSTOREN
On 1 July the Babylonstoren team welcomed SA’s very own tug-of-war champ Marconette Els and her family following a heroic trek by tractor. Marconette’s mom Corné, a businesswoman from Strand, has been on the road on the back of a tractor for days on end in order to raise funds to get her daughter to the World Championship in Tug-of-War in Switzerland in August. She started her trek in Gauteng on 19 June and covered a total of 1796 km through five provinces, ending at Babylonstoren, where the 59-year-old Massey Ferguson tractor that bravely took on the journey has now found a new home.
“This little tractor may be in its golden years, but he’s certainly not cold yet,” says Brent Reid, gardener on Babylonstoren. “This was proven when it crossed the finish line at Babylonstoren on the first of July with a healthy purrr of the engine. The little tractor will now form part of our lively team on Babylonstoren.”
CHEERS TO THE 2023 WINE OF THE YEAR
2020 may have had its obstacles but in wine terms, it was a very good year for Babylonstoren. Our 2020 Nebukadnesar was recently named Wine of the Year for 2023 at the National Wine Challenge. This classic Bordeaux blend, our flagship wine, is the perfect tipple for cooler climes. It boasts vibrant multi-layered dark red fruits supported by tight, well-honed tannins that handle the oak effortlessly. Satisfying for this winter or the next … time will simply develop and unfold its many treasures.