Vondeling, meaning ‘foundling’, lies on the slopes of the Paardeberg mountain, approximately 45 minutes’ drive from Cape Town. It was granted to Swedish immigrant Oloff Bergh in 1704 when a three-centuries-old winemaking tradition began.
A group of wine enthusiasts was privileged to be invited for an overnight experience at Vondeling. The vineyard shines with painted autumn colours of vivid red, gold and orange.
THE VONDELING FARMHOUSE
This beautiful Farmhouse was originally built in 1740. This historic Cape Dutch architecture offers seven luxurious en-suite bedroom with mountain and garden views to set a beautiful backdrop.
The farmhouse is the perfect place for a wedding party or for a weekend away to energise the human battery. The seven en-suite bedrooms can sleep 14 people and are luxuriously styled and extremely comfortable.
The house offers a fully equipped kitchen with a dining area and a lounge area complete with a cosy fireplace. The recreation room houses a snooker table and a table tennis table, and has satellite TV as well as WIFI.
Just as you think the inside of the house wowed you at every nook and corner, you step outside to peaceful gardens with delightful shaded terraces and a braai lapa area. And of course you can’t miss the 20m swimming pool that looks so inviting.
The Farmhouse is available to rent subject to availability.
FARM AND FYNBOS WALK
Our morning kicked off with a farm and fynbos walk with Managing Director and Co-owner, Julian Johnsen along the base of the mountain.
Notably there are four species that are endemic as well as unique to the area: the Babiana noctiflora, Erica hippuris, Oscularia paardebergenis and Serruria roxberghii.
There’s nothing like the smell of fynbos and the picturesque scenery of nature’s beauty with uninterrupted views of vineyards and mountains.
Julian shared where each cultivar was planted and told us the story behind the vineyards with evocative names such as the Bible Bloc (folded open on the slopes like a leathery old testament), the Graveyard Chenin Bloc (after a grave with a history uncovered while clearing weeds) and Gilbert’s vineyard (after a lame old worker who guarded it from baboons).
Vondeling is proud to be Conservation Champions. Following a fire on the Paardeberg in January 2011, a botanical survey was commissioned by the Paardeberg Sustainability Initiative (PSI) in collaboration with Vondeling Wines to record the plant species growing on the mountain. The post fire fynbos regrowth was documented for 18 months through plant collections and photographic records. To date, over 900 species in over 70 families have been collected. Approximately 10 per cent of these species are listed as threatened.
All of the species have been photographed and geo-tagged, and the spectacular array of blooms inspired the coffee table book, Fire to Flower; A Chronology After a Wildfire in Fynbos written and photographed by Ruth Garland and Greg Nicholson. This beautifully put together book also acts as a species identification field guide for the for the Paardeberg and surrounding areas.
Julian surprised us with sandwiches and a glass of Vondeling Méthode Ancestrale Rurale 2016. It definitely went down well after that walk in the sun!
VONDELING MÉTHODE ANCESTRALE RURALE 2016
It displays a pale straw colour with green tinge vibrancy. Tiny, pearl-string bubbles and fine mousse. On the nose you get beautiful aromas of citrus and toasted almond brioche. The palate is dry with a creamy, full-bodied mouth feel yet zesty with crisp apple, lemon and a floral burst. Long, rich and lingering after taste.
Vondeling Rurale, makes use of Chardonnay grapes from a single block, located on a south-west facing slope on the decomposed granite soils of the Paardeberg Mountain. The name Rurale is the original name for what was later recognized by the French A.O.C as Mèthode Ancestral. We love the implication that this is an uncomplicated, yet pure expression of both the grape and its origins. Rurale is also the first Mèthode Ancestrale to be certified by SAWIS.
Back at the farmhouse, Senior Winemaker, Matthew Copeland, took us on a cellar tour. He shared his passion for wine making. His wine making method is to go with minimal intervention and to allow the wines to speak for themselves.
WEDDING CHAPEL AND RECEPTION
Functions and Events Manager, Mariaan Harris, showed us the inside of the chapel and how this is a perfect venue for a wedding for up to 100 guests.
The St Clement’s Chapel stands proud and you can’t miss this landmark as it rises high against the Paardeberg. It is a romantic chapel complete
with a thatched roof, handmade stained glass windows, high steeple, wooden pews and a church bell.
Combine old world charm with modern simplicity and you have a wedding venue straight out of a fairy tale and an unforgettable wedding in the winelands.
The chapel is surrounded by rolling lawns, a charming garden, vineyards, and impressive views of the Paardeberg and surrounding countryside.
The transition to the reception is seamless, as the chapel is conveniently situated alongside the function venue—meaning you don’t have to trade in the views.
Wedding receptions can be hosted in the tasting room, which offers minimalistic elegance with a touch of Cape country style.
Wanna get married in winter? No problem! During the colder months, there’s a roaring fireplace to keep your guests warm. In summer and spring, receptions can be hosted on the shaded veranda overlooking the magnificent Paardeberg and surrounds or inside the airconditioned venue.
We headed over to the tasting room where a fabulous wine tasting experience with Matthew Copeland awaited us. It was time to taste some wine! The tasting area is elegant yet relaxed with a cosy fireplace perfect for the winter days ahead.
VONDELING ROSÉ 2018
Possessing a delightful rose gold colour, the Vondeling Rosé shows an exceptional, rich bouquet bursting with a massive range of aromas: red currant, raspberry, rose petal, citrus, tropical fruit, cloves and cinnamon. The palate is marvellously fresh and lively, exhibiting red berry and candied citrus flavours with underpinnings of floral notes, leading to a crisp aftertaste.
Made primarily from cold pressed Merlot. Located on a granite spur in the foothills of the Paardeberg Mountain, the berries are well exposed to sunlight. Exposure to sunlight is essential to eliminate green flavours from the fruit. After pressing, the juice is bled off the red grapes, allowing it to draw just enough colour from the skins to give it that beautiful pale pink colour.
VONDELING PETIT BLANC CHENIN BLANC 2018
Vondeling has decided to keep its Petit Blanc white blend unwooded in order to create a fresh, fruit-forward product. Delicate aromas of red pepper play out on the nose, backed up by tropical fruit and concentrated floral notes, with an underpinning of minerality. The palate showcases ample fruit that is complemented by a creamy mid-palate, culminating in a refreshing aftertaste that loves to linger.
Old vine Chenin Blanc planted on south facing slopes and composed exclusively of shy bearing, well weathered granite soils. These vineyards produce a low average crop of only 9 tons per hectare, which ensures a tremendous concentration of fruit flavours on the palate.
VONDELING PETIT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019
The Vondeling Sauvignon Blanc is pale straw in colour with a hint of green along the edge. The bouquet has flint and floral aromas along with fig and granadilla, supported by kiwi fruit and red pepper. The palate is fruit-forward, containing the same notes as the nose, with delicate zest and some flinty notes. The aftertaste suggests guava. This wine is quite new, a bit shy and it still needs to settle. Just a glimpse of this wine I can imagine once it opens up, it will reveal a wine that is refreshing with delicious granadilla flavours.
The grapes used to make this wine come from two adjacent old vineyards planted in 1981 and 1984 respectively. For obvious reasons the one vineyard is simply called the Spice Block and the other the Long Block.
VONDELING CHARDONNAY 2018
This wooded Chardonnay has a charismatic bouquet that is characterised by inviting aromas of honey, peach blossom, juicy pears and uplifting citrus. From nose to palate, these flavours translate with charming finesse, followed by chalky limestone, yellow flower and subtle ginger flavours.
The well-balanced palate shows a deliciously zesty citrus profile that is kept thoughtfully restrained by an elegant oak frame that imparts the wine with a beautiful structure and sensationally smooth texture. The Vondeling Chardonnay concludes with a lingering finish that leaves a lasting impression of pure finesse.
VONDELING BABIANA 2017
Vondeling’s Babiana is a white blend of Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Roussanne. A pale straw yellow in colour, it brandishes a complex nose that is subtle at first, but with time becomes more expressive, showing peach blossoms, wild honey, toasted cashew nuts and pineapple. The palate is marvellously dense with flavours of white pepper and rose petals, softened by honeyed pears. The presence of oak is well incorporated and the mid-palate creamy and elegant.
Named in honour of Babiana Noctiflora, which is a rare species of fynbos found only on the Paardeberg Mountain. Babiana Noctiflora belongs to the Iris family. The name Babiana is derived from the Dutch ‘baviaantje’, meaning ‘little baboon’, because baboons were seen preferentially eating the corms of these plants. This species has lost habitat to vineyards and fruit orchards in the past, but at Vondeling we conserve this endangered species.
VONDELING PETIT ROUGE MERLOT 2018
This red blend is a brilliant ruby red colour with a lively nose brimming with aromas of delicate raspberry, black pepper and cherries. These notes follow through excellently onto the palate where they are backed up by poised tannins and a seamless finish.
The Merlot vineyard used in this wine are planted in a combination of well-weathered granite soils and beautiful “koffie klip” (shale) slopes. They are South-West facing slopes, which helps keep temperatures moderate.
VONDELING BALDRICK SHIRAZ 2017
It is a medium-bodied wine, with a “savoury” character. The bouquet displays blue and red fruit, spicy cinnamon and liquorice plus dashes of wood smoke. The nose is also highly perfumed with violet floral notes. Expect some weight on the palate and flavours of delicate pepper, exotic spices and dark fruit.
This wine is aimed, partly anyway, at the wine enthusiasts of the London gastro pub movement, which is why it was named Baldrick, after a popular character in the Black Adder television series.
VONDELING MONSONIA 2016
This luxurious, dark red-purple wine has a nose rich with sweet blackcurrants and ripe plums, intertwined with dashes of spicy nutmeg, coriander seeds and cloves. On the full-bodied palate, the wine feels viscous and weighty with powdery tannins. Black pepper and spice flavours abound, leading to a lingering aftertaste.
This wine is named in honour of Monsonia speciosa, is a rare and highly endangered flower indigenous to the Paardeberg. The common names include Butterfly Flower, Sambreeltjie, (little umbrella) and Slangblom (snake flower). This is a blend made from Shiraz, Mourvédre, Carignan and Grenache.
VONDELING CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016
The wine displays a dark ruby red colour. Shows a beautiful aroma of white musk, cinnamon, red cherries, cigar box and sultry vanilla. It has a broad, succulent and silky palate with plenty of red fruit, smoky cigar box, roasted almonds and maraschino cherries. Fine, textured tannins on the finish.
The grapes used for this very special wine originate from the same vineyard used to make the highly acclaimed Bowwood blend, previously produced by Julian Johnsen and Bruce Jack. This Southwest facing slope is located on one of Vondeling’s highest and most temperate slopes. Largely matured in Hungarian oak.
VONDELING BOWWOOD PINOTAGE 2015
The 2015 has a delightfully intense plum and berry bouquet with a hint of sweet cloves and vanilla oak. Bold berry fruit and ripe dark plums persist on the palate, nicely supported by smokey vanilla and spicey coconut. The palate is broad and rich with great fruit intensity, soft acidity and abundant finely textured tannin. A full flavoured modern wine with international finesse.
The Bowwood Pinotage is produced to rival the very best wines of the world and special attention is given to how the wine will mature over time. This maiden vintage will benefit greatly from additional cellaring to expose the true depth of the wine.
Blackmoon night – wild, dancing stars and moonless. On such nights our ancestral tribes congregated here. Boys, bristling to be men, step into the owl-spaced, sacred wood; emerging later with a sapling for a magical bow. Daybreak beckons beyond prayers as each youth aims a flaming arrow at the stars. But, the bows will only bend in honourable hands, the rest are caste out and soon perish. This coming of age parable, is as relevant now as ever, as human now, as ever.
VONDELING PHILOSOPHIE 2015
The nose shows red and black fruit, some leafiness and attractive oak character. It’s full bodied but nicely balanced – good fruit concentration, fresh acidity and fine tannins, the finish long and savoury. The wine consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec.
Each year a celebrated artist is recruited to illustrate a rare Paardeberg flower. This unique illustration is placed on a numbered selection of Vondeling’s finest barrels to create a series of collectable, rare wine. For 2015, Pauridia capensis, was selected. It is commonly known as the Peacock flower of Star of Winter. A vibrant bloom, beautifully illustrated by Edwina Ellis, and wonderfully appropriate for such a bold vintage.
CHARCUTERIE AND CHEESE BOARD PLATTER
After an informative wine tasting with Matthew Copeland, we were treated to a well deserved Charcuterie and Cheese Platter. It was a great balance of cheese, charcuterie, pickles and preserves, snoek paté, fresh fruit and a selection of bread and biscuits.
We ended off a great evening with a braai dinner with the Vondeling team. It was a memorable weekend but the sweet memories of their friendliness and hospitality will last forever.
Be on the lookout for upcoming events at Vondeling. From Indonesian cooking classes to Savoury cheesecake and wine pairing – and book as they are quite popular and gets sold out very quickly.
Please contact Mariaan Harris on firstname.lastname@example.org or 021-8698339 for reservations and enquiries.