My contributor, Rochelle, recently spent a weekend in Robertson, exploring and learning more about the Four Cousins brand. Read all about her stay below.
Wine is a big part of our culture and day to day living. It’s why some have even made sure that #WineWednesdays become a thing on social media. Everyone has their own preference when it comes to wine, but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt this weekend, it’s that your perspective about a wine can change when you’ve met the makers.
One of the most well-know wine brands, Four Cousins, is celebrating their 18th birthday this year, and I think it’s safe to say they have earned their right as a household name during this time. In celebration of this special occasion, we were invited to spend the weekend with famous Four Cousins in Robertson. To describe it as a royal treat wouldn’t even do it justice. Not only did we get to meet the four cousins (yes, they’re very real!), but we also got to spend quality time with them, and see how passionate they truly are about their wine.
They say cousins are your first best friends and while this might change for some, it’s still very true for the Four Cousins today. The dynamic four businessmen each have a strength which makes them wine superheroes. Together they are the ultimate package in terms of business. When you take a moment to get over the star struck haze of meeting them, you’ll notice how down to earth they are. These men have worked to create a brand loved by all and still make time to genuinely connect with the people around them, and share this mutual love for wine.
But where did Four Cousins start? In the mid-1990s the four cousins (Hennie, Neil, Bussell and Philip) joined the family farm, Van Loveren Vineyards, after completing their studies. And in 2000 they started making wine they wanted to share with the world. Thinking about Four Cousins Rosé generally just brings up good memories and the best of times for most. It’s a wine that can be enjoyed by the masses and has been since that first 1.5L bottle (which was the largest in the industry) came out.
The spectacular thing about the Four Cousins brand is that all decisions, from the type of bottle used to the branding, was done together. An interesting fact about the old label (they’ve since rebranded) was that the picture was taken directly from their photo albums and pasted onto the label. It’s the values of family that has made this brand what it is today. And when you actually get to meet the cousins you’ll easily imagine yourself as the legendary fifth cousin.
The idea behind their brand was to speak to a large, diverse and untapped market. Their wine is a little sweeter than most, but the quality set it apart. Today the Four Cousins wines are enjoyed worldwide by people from different walks of life, all coming together over a glass of wine.
You might have noticed their funny and very relatable adverts on YouTube or TV, and while TV is generally acting these days, with the Four Cousins it’s more a case of ‘What you see is really what you get’. During our stay in Robertson, we were taken on a private tour through the family vineyard, got to try one of the amazing wine pairings at the Four Cousins Restaurant, and even got to have dinner at the home of one of the Four Cousins, Hennie Retief.
On a beautiful summer’s afternoon we arrived in Robertson, with our first stop being at Van Loveren. Greeted by the friendly face of cousin Bussell Retief and welcomed with a glass of Four Cousins Blush Sparkling Wine, I knew we were in for a treat this weekend. After short introductions were made, we learnt a bit of history on the family and their iconic bible (be sure to ask about this if you’re ever in Robertson), and from there we were taken into the cellars where we were shown where which step of the winemaking process takes place. A nice treat was getting to taste some of the wines directly from the barrel! It doesn’t get better than that.
After the tour of the Van Loveren headquarters we were seated in a beautiful courtyard for a wine blending experience. The goal was to try and imitate the Four Cousins Sweet Red as an assistant winemaker. It was a thrilling experience that was rounded off perfectly with getting to cork and seal the bottle personally. If you’re planning on a trip to Robertson this is definitely an activity to add to your itinerary.
The evening was the cherry on top of the cake with a special dinner at Hennie Retief’s home. During this visit it was easy to see how the cousins have remained so humble, loving and generous throughout their successful journey. There is just something about watching the sun set over a nature landscape untainted by city life. A little secret, the Retief women are just as talented and know how to properly entertain. Getting to share a home cooked meal with the four cousins in such a personal environment was something unforgettable.
Early Saturday morning, awake and ready to explore and learn more, we headed towards the Van Loveren farm where we got a special tour of the family vineyards. It was fascinating to see the genuine passion everyone on the team had for the farm and the wine making process. The next stop was the Four Cousins Restaurant where we got to enjoy one of the many wine pairings available. This restaurant is ideally situated on Route 62 and a must visit even for those just passing through.
We indulged in the flavour combinations of the Four Cousins Fan Platter, which included Rosé Granita (a slushy type drink), the Rosé, Dry Red, and the cream liqueur; each paired with something that married well with that drink. The platter was spiced up a little with the addition of a Fiver Cool Cider and Scottish Cousin 8 year tasting. Did you know that the Four Cousins don’t just make wine?! The pairing menu is quite diverse, ranging from pairings for the sweet tooth to something for those who prefer salty snacks. And if you’re not a wine lover, there’s a craft beer bar and a beer pairing to enjoy.
The pairing was followed by lunch at the restaurant, and this comes highly recommended. If you want to do something special for someone significant in your life, then a breakfast, lunch or dinner here is a must. You might even bump into one or even all four of the cousins during your visit.
Sundays are meant for good food, chilled wine, and time with family, and we were incredibly lucky to visit the Four Cousins Restaurant again on Sunday for brunch, only this time the cousins joined us. After another morning well spent with the dynamic foursome our last stop was to the shop section of the restaurant to stock up on wines, sparkling wines, whiskey, gin and ciders.
It’s amazing to see how much this brand has grown and how they’ve accepted every challenge that came their way. Instead of just sticking to wine, the fantastic four branched out into ciders, craft beer, gin, Scotch Whisky and more. Each product is created with care and manages to become an instant favourite. I’d highly recommend trying the Fiver ciders next time you’re looking for a quick drink to take to a braai.
A massive thank you to Pippa from On The Marque PR for putting the trip together, the other bloggers, and the cousins for opening their homes and hearts to us.
For more information on visiting the Four Cousins farm and details to their social media, click here.
Also, thank you Tiaan for supplying some of the images of the weekend. To follow (or hire?) him, click here.