The Western Cape winter is a magical time to enjoy wine tastings, long walks and hearty food flavours. Vergelegen in Somerset West, named the best winery in Africa in 2019, offers multiple  attractions to keep all ages entertained during the cooler months.

Here are 10 recommendations to make the most of your next visit to this much-loved, 321-year-old estate.

  • Wine tasting: The best place to try out a new blend of wine, or two, is in the elegant Wine Tasting Centre. Look out for the magnificent central table, over five metres in length, crafted from a 400-year-old yellowwood slab.
  • Family-friendly Stables Restaurant: Huge glass windows and doors let in panoramic views of the Hottentots Holland and Helderberg Mountains while keeping the cold out.  A new coffee barista station is open, while winter warmers like lamb curry and garlic prawns have been added to the menu.
  • International Camellia Garden of Excellence: Vergelegen is home to one of only 39 International Camellia Gardens of Excellence in the world – and the winter-flowering pink, red and white camellia blooms are on show. View a  remarkable collection of about 550 camellia cultivars, sourced locally and as far afield as Europe, Japan and America.
  • Enviro tour: Explore tracts of the vast 3000-hectare estate that were previously closed to the public. Visitors can now spot rare bontebok, indigenous Nguni cattle, swathes of endangered fynbos and, if they’re lucky, eland, on a guided tour in a Vergelegen vehicle.
  • Camphors cuisine: Popular dining, with sustainability front of mind, is the hallmark of Camphors Restaurant with its hyper-seasonal interpretation of locally-sourced, globally-influenced dishes. Food lovers can select delicious dishes such as slow-cooked duck cassoulet, and enjoy a complimentary glass of Premium wine to accompany two and three course choices.
  • Wine investments: Vergelegen has released two superb red wines – the  Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2015 and the V 2014. The 2015 release has just scored 93 points, and was in the Top 10, in the 10th annual Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report. This complex red wine costs R390/bottle and the V, created as a varietal Cabernet Sauvignon since 2008, is the top red at Vergelegen, R1485/bottle. 
  • Stride out: Burn off that cabin fever by exploring 18 spectacular gardens, including a 3,5km walkway at the new arboretum. Some 7500 trees will be planted to create a beautiful, peaceful green sanctuary.
  • Playtime: Children are well catered for with a state-of-the-art playground set amidst lawns and lush gardens. There’s also a vine maze to explore.
  • Culture and history: The beautifully restored homestead houses glorious art, furniture, porcelain and tapestries. Find out more about local history in the Interpretive Centre, while the library, a former wine cellar dating back to 1816, houses over 4500 books.
  • Cellar and vineyard experience: View vineyards, and the multiple level, gravity flow cellar with 360˚ views of the surrounding valley.

Says Vergelegen MD Wayne Coetzer, “When it’s cold or raining and you’re yearning to get out of the house, we offer warming hospitality and unspoilt nature that’s a welcome respite from the bite of winter.”

For anyone reluctant to travel due to Covid-19,  Coetzer reminds Vergelegen fans that they can order the estate wine online, for home delivery. They can also reminisce over a glass of wine while listening to highlights of the popular RMB Starlight Classics, held annually on Vergelegen’s Great Lawn. This Legacy Series concert is available on YouTube here.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxjmRUpggkE&list=PLdyWAM0a5cBQPPSNrb-RHeiyBYoD6XAHY)

Vergelegen is open Monday-Sunday 09h00-17h00 (last entry 16h00).    Entrance R10/adults and R5/pensioners and scholars, pensioners free on Mondays. See more on www.vergelegen.co.za and follow on social media.

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