To fill the the gap (both financially and timewise) between study and employment, I have recently started working in the Wine Tasting Centre at the magnificent Vergelegen Wine Estate. Now, while some may see this as shameless plugging of my new place of employment, I promise it isn’t (unfortunately I don’t get commission from the wine I sell…which is a great pity). I was just absolutely amazed by not only the size of the estate, but the magnificent grounds and the rich history.
Quick history lesson: Vergelegen was originally claimed by Willem Adriaan van der Stel, son of Simon van der Stel (the first Governor of the Cape). Ol’ Willie was a smart one (a brilliant farmer and entrepreneur) but he was as corrupt as he was intelligent. He’d make his way up to a hilltop on his farm, overlooking False Bay, and see when goods ships were heading to harbour. He’d then send his men down to the docks, to buy up all the supplies they could and bring it back to the farm, where he’d sell it for profit.
After ol’ Willie was sent back to the Netherlands for being a bit of a crook, the farm went through a number of owners (including Lord&Lady Phillips who saved the farm from ruin and the Barlow’s who founded Vergelegen Dairy) and finally ended up being bought by Anglo American Farms Limited in 1987.
Over the past 24 years, the farm has been restored to it’s former glory, producing award-winning wines of exceptional quality. My personal favourites are the Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, Chardonnay Reserve and the Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. Our two flagship wines, the Vergelegen Red and Vergelegen White are both fantastic wine (although, strangely, I prefer the White) and then there is the very special, 5-star Vergelegen “V”. Sadly not available for tasting, and slightly above the average Joe Vino’s budget, I am told it is worth every cent and every bit of hype. Perhaps one day, someday, I’ll be able to confirm.
I grew up in Strand, only 10 minutes from Vergelegen, yet despite my love for wine and visiting wine farms, I never went there. Big mistake.
If you like wine, if you love wine., if you like lazing about in lush, green gardens, if you have even the slightest interest in history or if you just want a great day out…this is the place to visit. Two restaurants and picnics available, wine tasting at the Wine Tasting Centre and undoubtedely the best view you’ll ever have on a wine farm, from the top of the wine cellar.
Apologies if I sound like a tourist brochure. But the place really does make one gush a bit. So come visit. I’ll give you a tour and pour you some wine.