A perfect post as South Africa enters Level 2 lockdown!
Think ‘wine’, think South Africa and one immediately thinks of the Cape. Because wine and its South African history is inextricably interwoven with the beautiful hinterlands of Cape Town and the broader Cape environs.
The history of wine in the Western Cape cannot be separated from the early history of European – and in particular Dutch – migration to the Cape. Bringing their knowledge and experience these settlers endured unique African challenges, finally prevailing in their determination to establish a viable wine industry. Along the way, French and German migrants added their own particular wine making skills. The result today, is that these wine estates each have their own compelling story to tell.
Visitors to these winelands are overwhelmed by the utter beauty of many of these estates, so similar and yet so extraordinarily different. Thus it is important to offer them as many different wine estates as possible, each with their own singular theme – some luxurious whilst others are simply down to earth.
Vergelegen Wine Estate
The Vergelegen Wine Estate is situated just outside the town of Somerset West, 30 minutes drive from Cape Town. It owes it’s name and it’s origins to an early Governor of the Cape, one Willem Adriaan van der Stel, who back in 1700 was granted 340ha of land. Van der Stel immediately set about planting wheat and fruit orchards and named his new estate ‘Vergelegen’ – literally ‘Far Away’. And with good reason – it took the traveller three whole days by ox-wagon to reach this lovely area. Today, as mentioned above, just 30 minutes!
We now fast forward to 1987 when Anglo American Farms – a wholly owned subsidiary of the giant mining conglomerate – bought the estate. With their enormous experience and credentials, Vergelegen soon established itself as a leading wine producer. It is well worth a visit as it is steeped in cultural and historical significance. Moreover, it boasts two gorgeous restaurants, some historical old buildings, a well laid and spectacular herb garden, ancient trees set about lush lawns and inevitably a wine tasting are and cellar.