Red blends by the fireplace, winter sun and outdoor activities in Hartebeespoort dam

Hartebeespoort Dam Activities

The Elephant Sanctuary

If you are looking for an outside activity while visiting Hartebbespoort Dam, visit the Elephant Sanctuary.

You walk into the beautiful field and hills from the reception area, where you get the opportunity to feed an Elephant. From there, you walk with the rangers into a grooming area where you can walk alongside the elephants.

The Elephant Sanctuary has African elephants and offers an interactive elephant experience. The sanctuary provides guests with an intimate experience with the elephants. The elephants are relaxed in an open nature environment and enjoy interacting with guests.


Elephant Interaction Program:

Seven days a week, from eight to ten in the morning and two in the afternoon, you can walk on foot through the Elephant Sanctuary. Your guides provide in-depth information and insight into African elephants.

 You walk to the elephants in the forest area to interact with the elephants with the guides. The guides share a special bond with the elephants. You can walk trunk-in-hand with the elephants. 

If the winter sun is out, the walk is warm, sunny and pleasant. Bring your camera and flat shoes to enjoy the field trip.

The morning Elephant Experience includes brushing the elephants down. The different programs are available on the Elephant Sanctuary website.


Elephant Interaction Program
Elephant Interaction Program - 08h00, 10h00 and 14h00
Duration:  approximately 1.5 hours 
Guided interaction with elephants
Adults: R850.00pp
Pensioners: R670.00 pp
Children: R375.00 (4-14yrs)


Mr C Wine Chat

Today we are having a look at one of the most popular red wines called the red blend. Last week the wine chat was all about Merlot. Merlot is one of the prominent varietals that make up an exceptional red blend.

What are red blends?

A red blend is a wine made from blending different grape varieties. Red blends are on track to become more popular than Cabernet Sauvignon as South Africans love drinking red blends.

What grape varieties blend well into a Red Wine Blend? 

A red wine blend can theoretically consist of any combination of red grape varieties. The red wine blend might be made potentially of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petite Verdot, known as a Bordeaux blend.

Traditionally a Bordeaux red blend called a Claret consist of at least two grape varieties. 

These wines have increased in popularity as many wine lovers like inexpensive, fruity, low acidity, easy-drinking wines. 

But some of the most famous and expensive red wines like Bordeaux blends and Rhone blends are also red blends.

Rhone blends traditionally consist of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault, but winemakers can also add other grape varieties.

Let's look into the world of red blends. 

What Is A Red Wine Blend

A red wine blend is any red wine not made with one specific variety, like Syrah. Instead, the wine blends two different varieties. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot or Merlot blended with Malbec and Syrah. The combinations are endless.

Winemakers blend grapes because it allows them to design a wine. For example, a little Merlot can help soften Cabernet's bold tannins. Likewise, a touch of Syrah can give some oomph to a Merlot. However, in many regions, blending is traditional. Rioja, for example, historically blends Tempranillo, Graciano and Garnacha. 

Currently, producers make many new affordable red blends for the wine market with lots of super-ripe, dark fruit, and balanced acidity. 

Why Do Winemakers Make Red Wine Blends? 

There are several reasons why wine producers grow multiple grape varieties and then use them to produce a red wine blend. The top reasons are sustainability and compliance with regulatory bodies.

Multiple Grape Varieties Increase Fiscal Sustainability

Farmers manage risk by growing more than one crop, ensuring harvest. Growers plant multiple varieties on their farm to spread out the natural risks. Hail, frost, pests, and rain can impact different types differently throughout the season. Producers might lose most of the crop of one variety but still have enough fruit from other varieties. As a result, they can still make wine for their loyal wine buyers.

Regulatory Bodies require red Wine Blends.

In many wine regions, laws require that wine consists of specific grape varieties and blends. As a result, wines risk becoming cheaper table wines if the producers don't follow the particular blending rules.

What grapes go into A Red Wine Blend? 

A red wine blend can be any combination of red grape varieties. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petite Verdot, and Carmenere, as in Bordeaux. 

Or, in the New World, a red blend of wines might be made of Merlot, Syrah, Mouvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, and other red blends like Carignan.  

Why Are Red Wine Blends Popular? 

Traditionally, producers blend wines to ensure balanced alcohol, acidity, tannin, and fruit. These are wines that appeal to consumers who want something that they can drink now. It is fresh red wines ready for easy drinking.

Blending can also add complexity that is not present in a single variety. For example, the winemaker can combine the best aspects of two or three grape varieties into one final product by blending different grape varietals. 

At What Temperature Should Red Blend Wines Be Served? 

If your red blend wine is a Bordeaux or Rhone blend or another dry red wine blend, the recommended serving temperature is between fifteen and eighteen-degree celsius.

How Long Do You Let A Red Blend Wine Breath? 

Many red wines benefit from some decanting. Letting a wine breathe before your pour is always a good idea.
Bolder wines blended for ageing may have much longer decanting times than easy-drinking wines. 


How Long Can You Cellar A Red Wine Blend? 

Easy-drinking red blends are blended and produced to drink today. Therefore, if you decide to cellar a lighter style red blend, there will not be any significant ageing potential in the wine.

The bolder Bourdeaux and Rhone blends benefit a lot by ageing the wine. Do some research when you buy an excellent red blend to learn more about the ageing potential of your wine.

Factors such as the ripening time of the grapes and the thickness of the skins significantly impact the product's end flavour and how well they blend to enhance the ageing potential.

How Is a Red Blend Wine Made?

The red blend process starts by crushing the grapes. Then the winemaker extracts the juices and makes individual fermentations before creating various blends until the winemaker likes the end product.

On occasion, white grapes also add another layer of freshness and complexity to the end product. The choice of grapes and the ratios used in the blend are part of what determines the final taste. 

The most influential factor on flavour is the region in which the grapes were grown. It is mainly due to the climate and soil, making a big difference to the tannin levels, impacting the acidity and overall effect of the wine.

Popular Red Grape Blends

Certain combinations of grape varieties are perfect to blend.


  • Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot 

 The two varietals ripen at different speeds. Together, they make the full-bodied blend Bordeaux. The Cabernet Sauvignon is earthy and rich in tannins which compliments the milder Merlot well.

  • Shiraz and Grenache  

Shiraz is complemented perfectly by Grenache, balancing a fragrant, faintly spicy finish on the Shiraz with a fresh and fruity flavour from the Grenache.

Great blends consist of two grape varieties, with many award-winning wines containing up to five.

3 Interesting Facts About Red Blends

1. Blended wines have layers: 

An excellent blending combination can bring complexity and uniqueness of character to the final wine.
The combination of ripening times, fermentation, and oak barrel ageing can create a full-bodied wine ideal for ageing.

2. Certain varietals are bred to blend: 

Farmers produce specific grape types precisely to blend with another, chosen for their ability to complement the flavours of the other grapes.

Petit Verdot is a varietal rarely found as singular grape wine. Instead, the grape blends perfectly into Bourdeaux red blends.

3. Blends tend to be red: 

Some red blends contain a little white grape to bring freshness and add an extra dimension to the wine.

Red Blend wine Food Pairing

A full-bodied Red Blend is a great choice to pair with food. The rich, full-bodied wines all demand meat. So match the robust reds with substantial dishes, like braised short ribs or spicy grilled steak and roasted duck.

Heavier red blends will go perfectly with steak or lamb, while more moderate red blends can complement hearty pasta dishes and chicken.

Red blends are rich in flavour, complex with refined characteristics. The wines contain earthy tones and elegant red and black fruit flavours.


Meat dishes compliment red blends. The succulent meat flavours and tastes pair well with the full fruity red wines.
The red blends contain more rugged tannins, red fruit, and earth. Bolder red blends pair well with heavy, fattier steaks and meat dishes. Lighter red blends pair well with pork and duck dishes.

The following dishes all pair well with Red Blends:

Super Sirloin Steak with Onion rings and chips

Braised Lamb Shoulder with Fennel and Orange

Bacon and Cheddar Burger

Caramelized or Flame-grilled Chicken

Barbecue Pulled Pork Dish

Barbecue Chicken Pizza Recipe

Flame-grilled fillet and steaks

At Mr C, the braai meal is the perfect pairing to enjoy all your red blends fruit flavours.

Red Blend paired with Cheese.

 Bold red wines pair best with aged cheeses. If you select cheeses aged at least a year, the pairing will offer rich and smooth flavours. Perfect pairing cheese are cheddar, Gruyère, Gouda, Provolone, or Parmesan-style varieties Parmigiano. The wines bold flavours blend in your mouth with the smooth cheese taste.

Mr C Harties Specials in Hartebeespoort Dam

Mr C Activity Package - R9 900

2 Night stay for 2 Adults only
1 Hour Full Body Massage & 30 Min Sauna
2 x Breakfast for 2
Enjoy the full breakfast when you wake up from a relaxing night at Mr C Harties.
2 x Dinner for 2
The braai meal is the perfect winter dish while you enjoy the fire and your red wine.

Horse or Quad bike Ride 
2 Adults only
Monday to Sunday
By Appointment (1 Hour Course)
Additional costs:
Extra Persons & Kids charged at an additional cost. Picnic option available at extra cost
T's & C's apply


MR C Long Stay Saving Winter Special in Hartebeespoort Dam

Save up to R4725.00

2 Nights
15 per cent discount

3 Nights
20 per cent discount
One winter warmer dinner per person

4 Nights
25 per cent discount
One winter warmer dinner per person
One welcome drink per person

5 Nights
30 per cent discount
One winter warmer dinner per person
One welcome drink per person
One bottle Champagne

These long stay specials are valid until 31 July 2021.

Contact Mr C Harties today to book your week or weekend stay package.

Tel: +27 65 843 5238

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