Saturday 6 August 2022

Backsberg: Not what it was

Setting standards of view

Backsberg Estate Cellars was the very first wine estate we visited in the Cape Winelands as we began our discovery of places and things to do around Cape Town in April 2019. We were greeted with a full tour of the estate, a visit to the cellars, and a well-arranged wine tasting in a beautiful dining room with cheese and chocolate pairings. It became the benchmark for what to expect from wine estates.

We returned in October and December of the same year, though in December 2020, the pandemic alcohol ban meant we could not visit and by December 2021 as excited as we were to be on the Franschhoek Wine Trams, we found that Backsberg had been taken off the itinerary because it had been acquired and so were moving from the farm Backsberg generations had occupied since 1916.

Not what it was

We have visited almost 30 wine estates and that nostalgic Backsberg experience endeared us to the place and the people. Having moved to a new location, the acquisition has changed what we knew of Backsberg. The farm the family bought from the neighbouring Babylonstoren wine estate over a century ago was sold back to Babylonstoren necessitating the relocation.

At the new estate as a part of other acquisitions, we can see the relics of generational providence and provenance, but that is what remains, a modern museum of memories, history, past achievements, laurels, and prizes. We were the first guests to try the tapas at the new location and another group after us, the wine tasting. The Backsberg Cape Ruby that I liked, which is the equivalent of a Portuguese port wine has been discontinued, amongst others in the range, maybe, the shadow it has become of itself might yet materialise into something substantially redolent of our cherished memories.

On this, the new Backsberg Family Wines is what it is, however, it is not what it was.

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