What I love about Wellington is that it is so understated. Rather like a pair of Wellington boots. We are not talking sophisticated modern well heeled boots a la Franschhoek, but rather good old fashioned purpose built wellies which tell a story.
Wellington is definitely not the Walt Disney of wine routes. These days’ tourists are seeking a more authentic, less packaged experience and that is where a visit to Wellington is more than worth the 50 minute drive from the V & A Waterfront. Wellington offers both a country lifestyle as well as the perfect weekend getaway.
Few people know that were it not for Wellington the Cape Winelands as we know and love them, in fact the whole of the South African wine industry would not exist. The Western Cape wine farms had been devastated by a phylloxera outbreak in 1888. As a result diseased vineyards were ploughed up and gradually replanted with vines grafted onto resistant American rootstock. It is in Wellington, known as the nursery of the Winelands, that the Lelienfontein Vine Growers established by the Bosman family became a leading vine nursery in South Africa.
A must visit is Bosman Family Vineyards, home of the Lelienfontein Estate. After 8 generations, the Bosman’s continue to develop the estate in innovative ways whilst preserving its heritage. Wine tasting on the estate is open by appointment. Here visitors are treated to a museum tour and formal tasting in the elegant 18th century historic building with silver candelabras and exquisitely crafted wines which capture the essence and best of the Cape. The cost of R50 for the tasting and 1 and a half hour tour includes fresh home baked country bread.
In mid-November each year they host the Bosman Release Celebration – a day in the country well supported by their loyal wine club members. At the forefront of land reform, through the De Bos range, their Fairtrade wine status is well-deserved.
For all things organic, a visit to Upland Organic Estate just off the horse-shoe road in Wellington is a must. Here Edmund Oettley and his wife offer a delicious array of organic products in an Instagram feast setting. Imagine amber organic brandy, Banting friendly limoncello, pecan nuts, Grappa and wine – all organic and a more authentic setting you won’t find.
Whilst Professor Peroldt might have invented South Africa’s home-grown varietal of Pinotage by blending Pinot Noir and Cinsaut together it was Diemersfontein who popularised it through their highly successful Pinotage on Tap event, now in its 11th year and to be held at the estate on the 10th October 2015 (International Pinotage Day). Their comfortable tasting room is open for tastings and you can even pick up wine flavoured candy striped toffee. At child friendly Seasons restaurant you can enjoy flavoursome meals. For a reasonable weekend in the country that won’t break the bank and an opportunity to recharge the batteries. There is also horse riding available and it is on this estate that the well-known Wellington Wine Walk begins.
Diemersfontein is offering a Winter Special of R720 per person per night including a 3 course dinner, bed, breakfast, wine tasting, bottle of their very Famous Diemersfontein Coffee Chocolate Pinotage. This offer is valid until end of Aug 2015. Tel: 021 864 5050 and mention ‘Food24’ when booking.
Wellington's first 5 star Platter winner
Dunstone is the first vineyard in Wellington to have been awarded 5 stars in the Platter’s guide for their 2008 Shiraz. Dunstone Country House is a 4 star tourism council graded, a Portfolio great comfort property and a Greenwood Guide Property and the perfect place to relax and unwind at the foot of the Limietberg mountains.
Dunstone’s Winter special (until 31 August ) is per person sharing a double room. Available Wed - Sat:
R675: Dinner, bed and breakfast - A three course set menu home cooked country style dinner (think hot soup, Potjie and crumble) Available daily
R650: Picnic, bed and breakfast - A farmhouse picnic delivered at a time of your choice
R625: Bed and breakfast
English and Continental breakfast
High tea in the afternoon
Complimentary wine tasting
Fresh fruit and flowers
Internet station at manor house.
To make a booking Tel / Fax: +27 (0)21 8641504 and mention ‘Food24’.
Despite not being on the traditional well -worn wine tourism route, for those who dare to venture a bit further and down a less well-heeled path they will be richly rewarded as Wellington more than delivers on both quality and diversity with breath-taking scenery, warm country hospitality and delicious wine, perfect for the chilly rainy days ahead.
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- Melissa Sutherland