Two and some odd years ago, life turned upside down. Literally. It is not about age, that time of our lives or any other cliché one wants to label it, life just takes a claw and digs it deep into you – the claw that sort of hurts, brings fear, changes your timelines and you either drown or deal with it.
Two and some odd years ago, displaced in a foreign land, alone and afraid, I read the story of Samantha G. O’Keefe. Do not remember where but remember how much it affected me. Similar and yet not. Having to make it work. Respect.
Samantha has her own story. Private and public but her chapter lies in the magnificent wines she is producing on her farm, Lismore, in Greyton in the Western Cape of South Africa. It has taken me this long to finally purchase a bottle of the gold Sauvignon Blanc and tonight I am privileged to have done so.
Backtrack a little. Living in London, Greyton was a village I had heard about but never visited. Yesterday I did. You should too. Maybe not on a Tuesday where all is shut but also on a Tuesday when one has the village all to yourself, to meander and meet the locals. Chat and discover – and of course, ask about Lismore. Her story took me there.
Respecting her privacy I was more intrigued at the extent to which the locals in the village did the same. A friend, a valuable member of their community they offered her number but strict instructions to call first for a wine tasting. Somehow I thought I may intrude so volunteered instead to buy a case of Lismore, which I am enjoying now on a late Summer’s Eve. Oak Barrelled, notes of butter and golden lands in the sauvignon, it is unlike any other in this class I have tasted, but somehow I knew it would be. There is a strong women in this nectar.
There is a story in the wine.
As much as my purpose for visiting Greyton was inspired by her, my experience of the town was one which every traveller to South Africa should experience. This is the place of living close to nature, close to self, close to giving and close to complete. Those that live there do not want, they have. Leone, who works for the tourist board so wanted us to fall in love as she has with Greyton, an afternoon of personal discovery of the history and what inspires her to live there left little doubt in our minds that Greyton is a life choice.
And she spoke of Samantha. As as sister, an entrepreneur, an example.
Could live there. Gushed about the quaintness, the settling, the maybe one day …
And it is to Lismore that the experience was made all the richer.
I did not need to meet Samantha to know that Lismore is what Greyton and her people are proud of. I want to one day and urge all of you to make the appointment if you travel to South Africa. For me, it was enough to know I witness the story of struggle, of dealing and of success – which as a someone who did have the life upside down scenario too, made me all the more intrigued by her and her wines.
Living in London, loving Africa and knowing that someone’s story can make all the difference. Cheers and respect marvellous woman Ms. O’Keefe.
Images capemag, hellogreyton, lismore, winemag,