here is no farm, which the FNB Wines2Whales route passes through that has as big an impact on the race as Oak Valley. Not only does the estate host the race village, with both nights of the stage race spent on its sports grounds, but it also provides some of the event’s most iconic singletracks. Trails like Waterfall, Sounds of Silence, Cow Trail and JK’s Edge, attract mountain bikers all year round; but there is more to do on the farm too.
With 35 hectares of the vast estate cultivated with vineyards wine is secondary to fruit on the farm, in terms of area cultivated. Oak Valley’s wines do however ensure the most publicity, outside of mountain biking. What makes this remarkable is that the estate’s first bottle of wine, a Sauvignon Blanc, was only produced in 2003. In 18 years, they have won a range of awards; including Top 100 White Wine of the Year, for their Tabula Rasa CY95 Chardonnay in 2018 and receiving 92 points from Tim Atkin for their 2019 Groenlandberg Chardonnay.
Along with their Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs, Oak Valley also produces Riesling and Pinot Noir. These can be tasted in their Pool Room venue 7 days a week. The farm also boasts two restaurants, the first is the Melting Pot. Headed up by Chef John van Zyl, it specialises in serving contemporary small plates inspired by global cuisine. The menu changes monthly with the seasons, but the West coast mussels served with a raw fennel salad on toasted sourdough is always a hit. Lighter meals and the all-important pre-ride coffee can be purchased from the Discovery Café. Open from 07:00, on weekends, it boasts a wooded picnic area and is also family friendly.
Oak Valley is open for mountain bikers 365 days of the year, except after heavy rains. The trails are open during daylight hours and there are showers at the trail head, should riders wish to freshen up before visiting the Pool Room for a wine tasting or heading to the Melting Pot for a special meal.