Of Toads and Vines

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

When taking a road trip along Chapmans Peak Drive from Houtbay and Noordhoek, know that the endangered Western Leopard Toad who also resides here, has right of way.

Bold road signs in the area remind motorists that they are in the breeding ground of this magnificent amphibian species, known to make their way across this busy road during migrating and breeding seasons toward the nearby wetlands.

The Chapmans Peak area boasts many enviable qualities, mostly surpassing the expectations of visitors who only need to drive 15km south of Cape Town, to enjoy this magnificent setting that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to Chapmans Peak Drive’s status as an engineering feat located along the near vertical face of a majestic mountain, is another of the area’s claims to fame. That is the Cape Point Vineyard winegrowing area, known for producing world class Sauvignon Blancs and other prize winning wines.

The stunning Chapmans Peak Drive

Asked about the secret of this estate’s viticultural success says winemaker Duncan Savage, lies in the its unique terroir, on the low lying slopes of Chapmans Peak amid the fresh ocean breeze. Savage, who considers himself and his colleagues lucky to work in such spectacular surroundings, says the mixture of mountain soils along this narrow strip of land, nestled between the icy Atlantic and temperate False Bay currents, produces an ideal micro climate and slow ripening conditions.

When the farm was originally established, and not yet open to the public, local residents by then accustomed to the fine wines cultivated in their neighbourhood, expressed their desire for the estate to one day be opened to the public. Such locals, hailing from exclusive estates such as the ‘five acres only’ De Goede Hoop Estate, and Monkey Valley Private Estate, are famous for convening at the local eateries of Noordhoek Village. Many residents share a love for animals, and regular gatherings at Noordhoek Common include horse shows and community fairs, where mink and manure alike enjoy many hours of open air entertainment.

Cape Point Vineyards, owned by Sybrand van der Spuy who established it as a wine estate in 1996, saw the product of the farm’s earliest harvest produce a winner in 2000. And almost ten years later, to the delight of local residents, was the event of the estate opening a wine tasting facility accessible from Chapmans Peak Drive. Suited to all seasons, patrons can enjoy the estate’s offerings both in and outdoors amid breathtaking views of the nearby mountain peaks. An introduction to the Estate’s lifestyle label, Splattered Toad also brings home the local community’s passion for all things natural, such as Cape Point Vineyard’s commitment to the cause of the Western Leopard Toad’s conservation and proliferation into the future.

The most recent development on the farm is the additional public offering, of a new picnic area now accessible through what was previously the entrance to the private estate. Located next to the estate’s dam amid vineyards and indigenous fynbos, this picnic sites makes for wonderful outdoor entertainment against the backdrop of the Noordhoek Mountain, and panoramic views of Noordhoek Beach.

Norrhoek Beach

Cape Point Vineyards is currently in the process of designing a special underpass, which will allow toads a safe migration from where they breed at the foot of the vineyards, to nearby dams and other garden areas.

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