Canetsfontein’s epic Cliffhanger challenges MTB riders and wine drinkers

Canetsfontein Cliffhanger Organic Red 2022: Vegan, 100% organic, and sulphur-free

by Tia
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A Wellington wine estate is carving its niche in international mountain biking circles. So much so that with the advent of the prestigious 2024 ABSA Cape Epic, the term ‘Cliffhanger’ has gained new significance, resonating with both mountain biking and healthier wine enthusiasts.

Canetsfontein Organic Wine Estate, located at the foot of the iconic Bainskloof Pass outside Wellington, is an official route partner of the ABSA Cape Epic this year. Anticipation is building up for Canetsfontein’s new world-class singletrack, named Cliffhanger, which will challenge riders to a climb of 1 000 metres above sea level on Thursday 21 March 2024. At the same time on this public holiday, wine enthusiasts can come and enjoy Canetsfontein’s new mountain bike-inspired red wine at the Go Wellington family festival at the popular Old Tannery destination just outside Wellington.

A new era: In harmony with nature

During the Imbuko Big Five MTB Challenge on 18 February 2024, the first mountain bike race featuring the Cliffhanger, riders compared it to a world-class Tour de France experience. Crafted by Pieter van Wyk, a renowned Wellington and Cape Epic trail builder, professional riders tout the Cliffhanger as one of the world’s most challenging trails.

As the Cliffhanger winds through pristine fynbos along the Hawequa mountain range, Canetsfontein’s vineyards thrive in harmony with nature. While winemaking at Canetsfontein dates to 1781, a new era dawned when the Falk family acquired the farm in 1994. Expanding Canetsfontein into a diverse agricultural estate, the focus shifted to organic and sustainable farming, yielding outstanding wines lauded with accolades over the years.

Motivation: A healthy lifestyle inspires healthier wine, naturally preserved with honeybush and rooibos

Canetsfontein’s latest release is the Cliffhanger Organic Red 2022, a wine inspired by mountain biking, nature, and a health-conscious lifestyle. This vegan, 100% certified organic, and sulphur-free wine invites adventurous wine drinkers to explore something new and different, a healthier wine naturally preserved with honeybush and rooibos.

According to Alexander Falk, Canetsfontein’s owner, Cliffhanger pays homage to the courageous riders tackling one of the world’s most formidable mountain biking routes.

“Cliffhanger is crafted for individuals embracing an active, healthy lifestyle while appreciating life’s finer pleasures,” says Falk. “Also, the demand for vineyards cultivated in harmony with nature has grown enormously, with more consumers around the world wanting their wine to be sulphur-free as well.”

Frank Meaker, Canetsfontein’s winemaker, acknowledges the challenge of creating a wine that ticks all the boxes while delivering quality and exceptional taste. “Due to Canetsfontein’s replanting programme, their organic vineyards are still in their infancy, thus Cliffhanger’s 2022 vintage is a blend of selected varieties from 20-year-old premium organic vineyards in the coastal region,” explains Meaker.

Meaker suggests approaching Cliffhanger with the same fearlessness as tackling a mountain bike trail. “Aromas of dried fruit, ripe cherries, and mulberry will lure you down the slope, while hints of chocolate will quicken the pulse, and gentle spice and vanilla notes will reward you at the finish. Enjoy it chilled on an epic day!”

Meaker explains that by using an innovative, patented method for natural winemaking, they can naturally preserve the wine with antioxidants from honeybush and rooibos plants, eliminating the need for chemical preservatives like sulphur. “Within this wine’s deep, vivid red colour lies inherent wholesomeness, akin to the health benefits of blueberries.”

Challenging and innovative, Cliffhanger, the wine and the trail both call for further exploration. It’s no wonder the Falk family crest features a dragon – keep an eye out for it on Canetsfontein’s wine labels!

Celebration: Enjoy the Cliffhanger at the Go Wellington Family Festival

You can taste and buy Canetsfontein’s Cliffhanger wine along with wines from other wineries on the Wellington Wine Route at the Go Wellington family festival, on the Human Rights Day public holiday, Thursday 21 March 2024. The festival will be held from 10:00 to 18:00 at the Old Tannery venue, just outside Wellington. In addition to wine tasting, there will be food stalls, activities for children, and live music.

Admission is R150 for adults and R50 for children under 18, available online via Quicket at https://www.quicket.co.za/events/249290-go-wellington-family-festival/#/. This celebration presents an ideal opportunity to explore the Boland and to extend the experience over a long weekend during the school holidays. Visit the wine route’s new website, www.gowellington.co.za, for details on activities and accommodation in Wellington.

Tasting notes: Canetsfontein Cliffhanger Organic Red 2022

Canetsfontein Cliffhanger Organic Red 2022 is a light to medium bodied wine with a deep red, vibrant colour. Aromas of dark blueberries and chocolate flavours are complemented by soft fruit tannins. A light wood treatment brings out spice and vanilla flavours. The fact that no sulphur has been added increases the fresh fruitiness of the wine. Cliffhanger complements dishes such as fish, duck, red meat, pork pasta and salads. Chill and serve at 16 to 18 degrees Celsius.

Canetsfontein Cliffhanger Organic Red 2022 is priced at R130 per bottle or R780 per case of six bottles, available for purchase in Canetsfontein’s online wine shop, with nationwide delivery, at https://canetsfontein.com/product/canetsfontein-cliffhanger-organic-red-2022/.

Exclusive: Reserve your MTB experience

Canetsfontein’s mountain biking trails are accessible by appointment or invitation, as well as to registered local residents, at full-day fees providing exclusive access to the trail.

For enquiries and bookings, contact +27 (0) 71 248 1222, email info@canetsfontein.com, visit https://canetsfontein.com/, and follow @canetsfonteinwines on Facebook and Instagram.

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