A lot of reviews talked about how this was an amazing tour that included a winery tour, tastings, and blending your own wine.
We did get to bottle our own blends, which was the reason I chose this tour over others.
Now, our tour had a lot of weird things from the start, and almost all of it was not something Beyond the Vine was in control of, and they did their best to make up for it I am sure. That being said, I was disappointed that I didn’t actually get a tour of anything, but was simply chauffeured from one wine tasting to the next, and at the last winery I bottled my own blend a little sloshed.
My husband and I were staying in Stellenbosch, so already I knew our tour would probably start differently than the usual tour, which offers to pick up in Cape Town. I did get a confirmation email saying that we would be picked up from our hotel in Stellenbosch and it would just be an hour later than that posted tour start time. Great customer service with that, and of course, it makes sense that they would pick us up last and that’s about an hour after everyone else.
They also did a great job communicating the morning of, when there was a traffic accident on the road, and they would be even more delayed picking us up. They called the hotel right away to let us know. I thought that was wonderful and appreciated the communication. When we were picked up, we were the only people. We were picked up in a regular SUV and driven around on a private tour of sorts. The gentleman who picked us up might have been new? Or maybe he only contracts with beyond the vine or something? But it felt more like an Uber than a tour. Then we got to that winery, and it was closed.
I found that to be unusual that they would take us to a winery and not know if the opening hours. Our driver seemed very surprised, so it could be that that winery was closed unexpectedly for a purpose and didn’t tell anyone. That was the winery we were supposed to get a tour of the Vineyard and other winemaking areas, so I was quite disappointed that we didn’t get to go there. Our tour was on a Sunday and perhaps that was why the winery was closed, but if that was the case, then you would think our driver would know that. He called a supervisor, presumably the owner, who told our driver to take us straight to the third winery on our list, and that he would take care of it. They did buy us the specialty cheese platter at that winery, which I really appreciated. I could tell that they were trying very hard to make it up to us that we missed the first winery.
The customer service at Muratie was wonderful, and our server was great and even gave us a couple extra pours. However, even though this was a very old winery and really cool to walk around in, I was maybe foolishly expecting some kind of tour from a person at the winery but instead it was just me exploring by myself.
We then went to Delheim, which was next-door, although it wasn’t on the original itinerary. But the service there was great. The wine was wonderful, and the views were exceptional.
Lunch is included at a restaurant in town and it was delicious. Beverages at lunch or not included. That’s totally fine with me. I understand that I just want to make sure that anyone reading this knows that.
After lunch, we went to the winery Middelvlei where we blended and bottled our own wine. I didn’t think there would maybe perhaps be any kind of instruction or any little lesson from an employee at that winery talking about the varietals we were given, and why they taste good together or not or anything, but the person employed there just gave us the equipment took us to a table in the yard (another beautiful setting!) told us to taste the three different burritos and then try mixing them and giving it a taste and then once we find the one we like, we use the large measuring tube to keep the proportions, but at the right amounts for a whole bottle. If you did not know that a bottle of wine was 750 mL, you might not have come up with the right proportions and may have over or under fills your bottle. Like there was no lesson at all about how to correctly do this. We were just on our own. Luckily I had taken in winemaking class last year and was actually very familiar with the process, but my husband doesn’t even drink so he had no idea what to do.
All in all, we had an alright time, but I was definitely disappointed that this was just a series of wine tastings, and we definitely felt rushed throughout the whole experience. I know that because of the traffic incident we started an hour later than we were supposed to, but I thought that would mean that we would finish an hour later, and have the same pace throughout, but we finish the tour at the time it said on the website we would finish, so I definitely felt a lot of pressure to do my wine tastings very quickly or to blend wine very quickly, and not really have a moment to breathe.
I am hopeful, that if things hadn’t gone wrong right out of the gate, that some of these problems wouldn’t of happened. That being said, I do think beyond the vine could maybe have a stronger backup plan for what to do when the unexpected happens.