Love is complicated. We all know that. Poets and novelists, songwriters and pop stars all write about this thing of being in and out of love. The past, it seems, was no different and Solms-Delta has had its fair share of romance and heartache in the pages of time.
André Brink was a great friend of Solms-Delta. In fact his family owned Delta in the early 1800s, when it was still called Zandvliet. We designed our Museum van de Caab — which displays the social history of the farm — to follow the structure of his brilliant book about the 1825 Cape slave rebellion, A Chain of Voices. The books tells the story of that rebellion from the multiple viewpoints of the different protagonists, slaves and slave-owners alike. This somehow makes it possible for the reader to identify with all of them. André cut the ribbon when we opened our museum in 2005, and he was very interested to learn how his family had treated the slaves here, specifically Philida van de Caab. His own harrowing account of her story was published in 2012 — and it was longlisted for the Booker Prize. He was delighted to learn that our farmworkers are now producing a musical version of Philida, which will be showcased at the Zabalaza theatre festival at the Baxter later this year. He was very interested in the musical life of Solms-Delta. He and Karina attended almost all of our Oesfees celebrations, starting with the first one in 2008. They also attended many of the other vernacular cultural events here, and on more than one occasion they were spotted eating at Fyndraai restaurant, unannounced — and once even took a picnic in our forest without telling anyone they were here. A portion of the French television documentary, André Brink, l’Africain, was filmed at Delta. The last time we saw them here, a couple of months ago, André was looking very frail. It is fair to say that he simply loved Delta; and we, in turn, loved him dearly. We shall miss him always.
– Mark Solms
We have to hand it to our indigenous Khoe and San ancestors, they really knew about sustainability and how to find everything they needed in nature without destroying its future. And it seems that nature had an answer for every ailment too. Take the succulent known as ‘kougoed’ (Sceletium tortuosum; ‘kougoed’ literally means, ‘chew(able) things’ or ‘something to chew’), not only was it used as a natural mood enhancer it also happens to cure headaches, constipation and toothache. As one Khoe woman explained, “ ‘kougoed’ makes you love the whole world. It doesn’t matter how angry you are, eat just a little ‘kougoed’ and you will forget about your bad mood. It won’t make you fall down, walk with a high step, wake up with a hangover or go to jail…it won’t make you drunk or aggressive, but you will believe that no one is richer or more beautiful than you”. We could perhaps all do with a dose of that, especially on a Monday morning.
Having a wedding reception on a beautiful wine farm might feel like a modern trend, but actually in Cape history it is where most people would have hosted their reception – at their own homestead. Of all the social and family occasions it was the wedding reception that was the most lavish.
Ever wondered about the social lives of Cape inhabitants 300 years ago?
In an age before TV and internet and being able to read emails and chat to friends 24/7 with the aid of our smart phones, what exactly did people do with themselves? They had to spend ‘real’ time with each other, and the Cape was especially noted for its hospitality.
October has bestowed Solms-Delta with substantially earlier sunrises, sunnier Sunday afternoons, sudden downpours of summer rain and some bright green leaves on our vineyard vines. Most noteworthy, however, are the three new additions to our already glorious herd of Sanga Cattle*, who roam the pastures at Dik Delta Fynbos Culinary Garden at Solms-Delta.
The latest addition to the Solms-Delta cellar is 42 new demi muid (500L oak) barrels imported from France from various Coopers. Our style will be shifting to use bigger oak to have less extraction – which is in line with our continuous quest to create wines that better express balance and sense of terroir (the specific site where the grapes are grown) better.
As the cold and waterlogged days of winter melt away, and we slowly but surely begin our ascent into the months of spring, Solms-Delta and Fyndraai Restaurant once again offer guests a chance to experience perfectly scrumptious farm picnics for the whole family to enjoy!