Tibby sat looking at us, head cocked to one side and ears pricked up, from his usual position on the stairs, as we said goodbye, gave him a stroke and ventured out into the cold and snow flurries on Tuesday 12th February 2013 to start what would be a wonderful 3 week adventure in the Winelands of South Africa.
I didn’t fully appreciate that I was heading into summer and just how wonderful the heat would feel on my rather pastey pale skin, which felt like it hadn’t seen proper sun in several years. After 24 hours worth of travelling and two very straight forward and comfortable flights with Emirates Airlines, we touched down in toasty warm Cape Town. This trip was all the more poignant as we came to South Africa for our honeymoon almost 6 years ago, and having said we would love to come back we had no idea what the future held and that it would be wine that drew us back to this beautiful country.
Our decision to go to South Africa was inspired by Jeremy Borg, founder of Painted Wolf wines, who whilst visiting the UK in late 2012 came to Carruthers and Kent wine merchants in Gosforth, where we had the chance to taste a selection of his wonderful wines.
Jeremy’s story of how he got into winemaking and his overall passion for wine production as well as the conservation of endangered African mammals, in particular the wild painted dogs, inspired us so much that Kelvyn introduced us after the tasting and asked if it would be possible to see where he makes his wines and maybe get involved by offering to work voluntarily so we could learn in a more hands on way about the wine making process. We were both in the middle of studying for the WSET Advanced level qualifications and were fired up and enthusiastic about a potential future working in the world of wine – a 6 year long dream. And thus the spark was lit!
It all happened quite quickly after that, the final decision to give up our day jobs and spend the next year visiting and working our way around some of the major wine regions of the world was not an easy a decision to make, although you may snort at me in an disbelief for saying that, the risks of what is at stake add up and haven’t been taken lightly but the chance to take our lives in a new direction and embark on such an adventure were too much to put off any longer, it felt right now!
Before we knew it February had arrived and off we flew to Cape Town.