On Saturday I got to be a plus one to a stunning event taking place in the heart of the Langeberg Valley. Tucked around a corner, somewhere between Robertson and Ashton, lies the beautiful destination of Zandvliet Wine Estate.
The old Cape Dutch houses stretch out to welcome you in. It was late afternoon and the Klein Karoo air was cold. The event was to be hosted in the Kalkveld Lounge, on the Zandvliet Wine Estate. It was an unusual pairing of a wine tasting and a gallery launch, which was to take place underground. The first artist to grace the ancient cellar walls is Laresa Perlman.
I was staying in McGregor for the weekend to visit my childhood friend. Instead of remaining at home for the whole weekend, we took a little road trip out of the village towards Ashton. We wound through the vineyards. It is my favourite time of the year along Route 62. The leaves turn a rich shiraz, chardonnay and rosé. It is wine country after all.
The air gets a sudden chill in the late afternoon. There is a certain sharpness to its edge that slices through your clothing and deep into your bones. And it is only May. My friend Mira and I were layered up with scarves, cardigans and jackets, which we could gratefully strip off once inside the venue.
The Kalkveld Lounge is a dimly lit but spacious room. It was beautifully decorated with recycled and upcycled materials found on the farm. The heart of this room was the fireplace centrepiece. It was a warm room with hearty laughs, red wine and joyous conversation.
Jacque Cilliers took the floor and introduced us to this splendorous venue and auspicious occasion.
“This is not an ordinary tasting. It’s a place where you can come and have an experience. Part of the experience is to have a pairing or a blending experience, eat from a platter, entertain your friends, and appreciate art,” says Jacque.
The art gallery is hosted in the underground cellar. Hidden away for sixty years at the bottom are the old cement tanks where they made the Muscat wine. This underground cellar has now been lit up with natural candle light and soft light bulbs to capture the mood. Meandering through the different rooms really feels like a trip back in time.
Laresa Perlman is a local photographer who lives in the “majestic foothills of the majestic Langeberg mountains,” says Jacque. Because she has lived here her whole life, she knows the region. Her intricate knowledge of farm life and the local faces are central themes in her photography, which she has been practising for thirty years.
“I love transforming what I see into something more magical,” shares Laresa.
And you can see this passion reflect in her flora photography. They are on the edge of the fantastical with the attention to colour and detail. Her art seems to celebrate life. She shared with us her“Youth & Wisdom” portrait series, “Time in Nature” where she captures details of the natural world, and “Harvesting” where she photographs the throes and celebrations of the local harvest.
Her themes were well suited for the launch of the art space at Zandvliet wines. Her work will be displayed until 31 July. So swing by, grab a glass of wine and a chair by the fireplace to warm your hearts this winter in the Langeberg Valley.
We spent the evening sipping Shiraz by the fireplace, engaging in conversations about art, and admiring Laresa’s raw portrait and nature photography. Then it was time for the Klein Karoo’s famous red sunset.