South Africa: Uva Mira Wine Estate

    Uva Mira Winery with Helderberg mountains in the background

Uva Mira Winery with Helderberg mountains in the background

Their catch phrase “A Celebration of Elevation”

The first time we went here, we’d never heard of this winery but it’s one of our hostesses favorites and we can see why. Gorgeous setting with stunning views of vineyards and mountains.

This boutique winery, in the Stellenbosch wine growing district,  is situated at the end of the road, up on the slopes behind the Helderberg mountains. Unlike Blaauwklippen and some other wine estates, which have many activities besides wine tasting, you go there for the magnificent view—up to the mountains and down to the sea and the beaches. You go there to experience the highest wine estate and the highest vineyards in South Africa (although Delheim also claims to have the highest vineyards). You go there to experience the servers with their practiced humorous patter. And of course for the wonderful wines. They tend to be rather more expensive than some others, but the total experience is worth it. Their chardonnay is reputedly the best in the world!

It’s a very pleasant tasting room next to a cellar with huge oak barrels. The tasting room is all in wood, with an outside deck too and an enclosed sun-room with window ‘walls’. It’s decorated with huge vases of proteas, which they also grow (and sell) on the estate. The entrance steps are decorated with bird tiles, many roosters, a whimsical touch.

    The sign directs us to the tasting room

The sign directs us to the tasting room

The altitude of the vineyards ranges from 420-620m (1,335-2,015 ft) above sea level, providing a cooler climate that helps to produce great wine in South Africa.

The tasting room manager is a local woman—Audrey Olckers— who is a real character with a story. She was a vineyard laborer and rose up the ranks to manager, due to her personality and ability to grasp and explain things, and after she was recommended by some German tourists when she stepped in to help the tasting room one day. Her story adds something extra to the whole tasting experience, as she explains all the wines and their characteristics to the visitors.

There are no real gardens for visitors to walk in and no café per se, although you can order a cheese plate or a meat platter.

We bought the Sauvignon blanc 2012 for R75 (about $8.80 at the exchange rate then) and found it excellent; and one of our party  bought the Uva Mira special blended red. It was R200 ($23.50) on the estate but she really liked it at the tasting and decided to buy it. It was good, I must admit, but way over our usual price range.

R40 pp to taste (about $4.70).

Located off Annandale Road, off R44 between Somerset West and Stellenbosch. It’s at the end of the road, past a number of other wineries, such as Ernie Els and Guardian Peak.

Open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-4pm

www.uvamira.co.za

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