He had scarcely arrived when a thirst for some decent wine led him to Simonsig Estate which, he had heard, was producer of one of his favourite types of wine, namely that of the sparkling kind.
During a visit to the estate he was amazed to find a piece of Italian history on Simonsig in the legacy left by Allessandro Borio, an Italian prisoner of war who stayed on in South Africa after World War II. As expert in the art of masonry, Mr Borio built many of the cement wine tanks on Simonsig and the vessels are still being used to store red wine. So strong was the influence of Mr Borio that Simonsig has a wine named after him, namely Mr Borio Shiraz.
“This is really amazing to travel all the way through Africa on a bicycle and to meet a bit of Italian culture as I arrive in Cape Town,” said Luca. “And I have not had any good wine since leaving my home 18 months ago, so the moment is extra special.”
His cycling journey began at the front door of his parents’ home in Sacile, just north of Venice. From there his route took him north through Scandinavia, through Holland, Belgium, France and Spain before crossing the Mediterranean to Morocco.
“It is just something I have always wanted to do,” the 30 year-old chef said. “I had reached the stage in my life where I wanted to challenge myself and spend some time on my own – and this turned out to be 18 months.”
A lover of the Italian Prosecco sparkling wine, Luca was impressed by Simonsig’s Kaapse Vonkel. “It is very different to what I am used to, more full in the taste. And after this trip through Africa it tastes like the best thing in the world.”
Luca heads back to Italy in October – using an aeroplane this time – and plans to travel through South America, North America and Canada next year.
“You are only young once….”