Old part of town, new life

Signal Hill, South Africa’s newest winery, is in Cape Town’s historic centre. Photograph by Andrew Ingram

The old financial heart of South Africa, the couple of blocks bounded by Adderley, Burg, Wale and Shortmarket Streets, has a new winery.
In London, this part of town is called The City. In Cape Town it’s called Upper Adderley.
It also has a couple of deluxe hotels (they’re described as 6-star in the brochures), a 400 seater, multi-level restaurant and plenty of smaller ones, plus all kinds of opulent decadence (pools, spas, cigar bars, whisky clubs). They are all new and they all look old.
They are in a development retaining all of the old colonial buildings while adding a heavy touch of lux on the inside.
You can roll out of goose-down dreamland, pull on your shorts in front of the harbour view and sip extra creamy latte while watching the harvest go through the tiny wine press.
This baby winery crushes grapes from 11 minute vineyards. Three of them are in the city suburbs, planted between the houses.
Signal Hill Winery belongs to Jean-Vincent Ridon, French-born Capetonian who inveigled for a city-centre winery for 10 years. And there it is.
Derick Henstra, Dutch-born Cape Town architect, designed the whole Mandela Rhodes complex with the wine cellar as its hub.

You will need to bring a French phrase book.
All of the wines have names like ‘Clos d’Orange’.
No screw caps here.


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