Early in 2005 we were in the process of selling our business in Cork, Ireland to return to Dublin. Before returning to set up another business in Dublin we had planned to buy a camper van and tour Europe for a few months. However all this changed when we decided to take a holiday in South Africa. We had intended in stay in Franschhoek or Stellenbosch when friends of ours offered us their holiday home in Tulbagh.
We had never heard of Tulbagh before and we were truly amazed by the beauty of the Tulbagh valley and its charming historic town with a wealth of cape Dutch Architecture, majestic mountain ranges and exciting wine estates. Historical Church Street, home to 32 National Monuments, constitutes the largest concentration of National Monuments in one Street in South Africa.
By the end of our week in Tulbagh in March 2005 we had signed a contract to buy Honeyoaks Cottage. One of the traditional cape Dutch houses on 1.5 hectares on Church Street, with a plan to plant a vineyard in the back garden.
By October we moved with our two Labradors, and a forty foot container with the contents of our Restaurant from Ireland. We opened up our new Restaurant Pielow’s at the De Oude Herberg Guest House just across the road from Honeyoaks.
We were featured in a documentary (The Great Escape) about relocation filmed by Coco Productions for RTE, Ireland’s national television network. The documentary was filmed over one year showing us setting up and running the Restaurant, cultivating our vineyard at Honeyoaks and producing our own wine with a local award winning winemaker, David Jordan from Manley’s Private Cellar. Keen to produce our own wine we bought 4 tons of Shiraz grapes from a local vineyard to make our first Pielow’s Shiraz.