The Bot River Road Show 2019


The Bot River Wineries embarked on an epic adventure and the wonderfully eclectic bunch of winemakers dusted off their gumboots in exchange for their city savvy attire.
Hitting the road for a trip to Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Maseru (Lesotho) to promote the beautiful Bot River Wine Route was no small feat for these country dwellers. Bot River has

long been a region known for its wine pioneers and mavericks and these farms are family-owned and run, producing world-class wines.
This road show was a fabulous opportunity for the public to personally meet and interact with these very talented producers.

Below is their diary of their trip:

Day 1 – 8th October 2019

At 5:00am we all met in front of the Bot River Hotel and after sticking our cool branding on our bus we were off on our trip.

Our winemakers are a good mix of characters, two old hands(Sebastian Beaumont of Beaumont Family Wines & Niels Verburg of Luddite Wines) one youngster (Chris Keet of Gabrielskloof)) and one Oom -(Johan Heyns of Anysbos Wines) and the bubbly (Melissa Nelsen of Genenvieve MCC).

Our first stop was Matjiesfontein for a quick photo shoot in the early morning light. This is a historic village which lies in the heart of South Africa’s arid desert of the Great Karoo. An interesting fact: Matjiesfontein is named after a reed or a rush called “matjiesgood” which translates to mat stuff from which early mats were made.

Our next goal was to find a traditional windpomp to quench our thirst with the beautiful fresh water from the resovoir, but first we had to hurdle a fence with all our wine bottles in hand. This was a great photo opportunity to photograph our famous wines balancing on the edge of the resovoir and to take some important selfies of course!

After another stretch on the road we stopped off in Colesburg to catch the second half of the world cup rugby game – South Africa VS Canada and a quick bite to eat. This little town is situated in the center of the Great Karoo in the Northern Cape and is surrounded by koppies or small hills. It is the most famous of these. Early travelers named it Towerberg (Magic Mountain) because it can be seen from 40km away, never seeming to appear nearer the closer one gets to it!

Our fist public tasting was in the evening at a fantastic place called Warm Karoo and Kitchen which is situated just outside Bloemfontein. We received such a warm welcome and the guests thoroughly enjoyed meeting our winemakers, experiencing our wines and asking us lots of questions.
After the tasting everybody stayed to enjoy the left over wines with dinner. Needless to say the last ones to bed were the winemakers only to be rudely woken in the early hours by the loudest lion roar courtesy of the big cat sanctuary next door.

Day 2 – 9th October 2019

We were treated to the most lavish breakfast and set off on our journey to Johannesburg. More photo shoots en route courtesy of our ex film producer – Oom Bok (Johan Heyns of Anysbos Wines). Plenty of laughs while trying to get a close up of the bus in front of the FNB Staduim outisde Soweto.
We checked into our hotel in Pretoria for a quick power nap before we headed off to our next venue which was the awesome Thief Restaurant in Johannesburg. We were greeted by 125 tasters which is much more than we bargained for and there was such a vibrant atmosphere! Our wines were extremely well received, needless to say all the guests stayed as long as possible to enjoy the left over wines with dinner.

Day 3 – 10th October 2019

A fun filled morning taking photographs of our bus and our wines with the backdrop of the magnificent Pretoria Jacaranda trees in full purble bloom!

After lunch we made our way to our third venue – Meet on Milner in Pretoria, a trendy restaurant tucked away in the heart of Waterkloof. By evening the temperature had dropped from 32 degrees to 18 degrees which made the tasting outside in the car park a challenging affair as we were all totally under-dressed in our sexy Bot River Road Show T-shirts. Luckily the weather didn’t deter the Pretoria crowd, as 82 people came to enjoy the fine Bot River Wines.

Day 4 – 11th October 2019

A super early start to the morning as we made sure that we got Sebastian Beaumont and Johan Heyns to the airport on time. It was time for them to head home. The rest of us pushed on to the Lesotho for the night.

Day 5 – 12th October 2019

Another photo shoot of our awesome Bot River branding in front of the Maseru Club signpost which signaled our arrival in the capital. The annual Lesotho Wine Show has become the social event of the year in Maseru. A large marquee on the lawns of the Maseru Club housed 1,200 guests and the remaining three Bot River producers. A great time was had by all, followed by a late night in the casino to try and recoup some costs.

Day 6 – 13th October 2019

It was time to return home to the beautiful Bot River Valley and Niels and Chris hit the long road home while Melissa took the short route by flying.

In summary we are a small wine region who always think out the box to highlight the fantastic wines that come from the beautiful valley of Bot River. This was a great opportunity to get a lot of exposure on social media and to take our wines to the market. We have converted a few hundred people to the Bot River wines and hopefully the extra awareness will encourage more people to visit the wineries in our area.