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Wine farmers success runneth over
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A GROUP of 24 DStv subscribers are on a four-day sponsored wine excursion exploring some of Cape Town's finest wine farms.

And on this particular Saturday morning, we visit the Rangaka wine farm, the makers of M'hudi wine. The farm, unlike the established and sophisticated ones such as Nederburg and Alto, isn't particularly breathtaking.

One doesn'st see the typical English or Italian-inspired architecture or long winding pathways flanked by perfectly trimmed rose bushes.

And the interiors are not filled with majestic vintage d├ęcor or paintings that map out ancestral connections.

The M'hudi wine estate, about 45 minutes from Cape Town's buzzing CBD, is rustic. But its wines have a weighty character, especially the pinotage, sauvignon blanc and the sparkling wine.

The 2011 sauvignon blanc is crisp, fresh and smooth on the tongue with a slightly woody undertone and a clean swallowing experience.

The pinotage holds its own against other offerings of this Mzansi speciality, but the beautiful surprise is the sparkling wine, Palesa, with its perfect balance between the slight sweetness of the grapes and the bubbles.

The stunning collection, like many fine things in life, has an inspiring story behind it. Diale Rangaka, his wife Malmsey and their children Tseliso, Senyane and Lebo say they made big sacrifices to get the estate off the ground.

They left their comfortable, professional lives behind in 2003 and took the bold step of buying a farm while knowing nothing about wine farming.

They learnt about wine farming from Internet research, reading and five gracious farm workers who taught them everything they could.

They are also indebted to the assistance of one of their neighbours, the Greer family, who produce the Villiera Wines. They use the Villiera winery for the middle and final stages of their wine-making.

They have braved many challenges and today their wines can be found on most Woolworths' shelves around the country and in overseas markets such as the US, the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and even Nigeria.

Given this achievement, it is no surprise that the M'hudi collection is inspired by late intellectual and South African writer Sol T Plaatje's novel of the same name.

"We like that story. It says to us when your life changes, you must come out and do something about it," says Rangaka.

Boitumelo Tlhoaele was a guest of DStv.

Tel: +27.614997263   Fax: +27.865282974   Email: malmsey@mhudi.com  
M'hudi Farm R101 Old Paarl Road Koelenhof P.O. Box 30, Stellenbosch, 7605, South Africa