* This article first appeared here in SALUT! (Sunday Times Insert)
With no shortage of Winelands escapes, I’m delighted to share two of my recent highlights: a classic Cape stay and then something a little different.
With the Klein Drakenstein mountains providing the dramatic backdrop, the Brookdale estate spreads itself over 67 hectares of land, just outside of Paarl, South Africa’s third oldest town.
Thanks to the Rudd family, the estate has seen an exciting new lease of life, with new plantings joining in some of the existing Chenin vines – some over 35 years old. Not only were vines planted extensively to revive the estate’s production, but also over 3700 trees.
Hailing from the Cape Flats, Kiara Scott, an Elsenburg Viticulture and Oenology alumni, is the gentle but determined force behind Brookedale’s wines. What excites me is the focus on field blends: the 16-varietal White Field Blend is now available and soon the 20-varietal Red Field Blend will be added.
Best of all perhaps, is that you needn’t have to travel far after wine tasting. Management couple Yvonne and Gary Coetzee welcome you with open arms to The Manor House, with its five luxury suites and one adjacent vineyard suite – and based on your interests, help curate a personal stay. With the living room, library, entertainment and dining rooms, study, several outdoor terraces and pool – you have no shortage of inviting spaces to unwind in – whether it’s a room or exclusive-use rental.
The real magic happens at sunset when the sun casts golden glows over mountains and the estate – accompanied by a toast with the honey-coloured old vine Chenin in my glass. Despite the firm nod to Cape heritage, Brookdale also possesses a youthful exuberance and curiosity, providing for a memorable Winelands stay. brookdale-estate.com
Canvas Collective Africa
Then to switch up the traditional Winelands staycation for something truly unique. Picture a boutique hotel, but in luxury tents, a nomadic experience – changing locations once or twice a year. Throw in exclusive locations, fine dining, and curated local activities… and you have the Canvas Collective Africa.
Each of the destinations for the roving camp are chosen for their remote location – and it just so happens that the current camp is in the undeniably beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. In addition to the posh tents and fire pit, there’s also a continuously heated jacuzzi for post-activity unwinding.
The tents offer every creature comfort: a king-sized comfy bed, fully powered off the grid. WiFi, complimentary bar fridge and en-suite bathroom with flushing toilet. The chicly decorated ‘Field Kitchen’ stands at the heart of the camp overlooking the incredible valley, where the finest of dining is served daily with all protein produce coming directly from the farm. Well, except breakfast, which if you’re in the mood for it, is served daily in bed. And trust me it’s worth it: a tray laden with tasty treats is delivered in your own timing and your own comfort.
Right throughout Dez and Sam, the effusive and utterly lovable couple behind the initiative, are always present and certainly the hosts with the most. Being in one of the country’s most famed wine-producing regions – notably for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, use some of your time off for exploring.
In addition to Creation Wines’ continuously changing food and wine pairings, the team now offer informative vineyard walks through the estate. Spookfontein is a lesser-known producer but focuses on well-priced premium wines and their modern tasting room is also a sight to behold. Lastly, Tesselaarsdal is an emerging brand from Berene Sauls – if you can pin her down for a private tasting, you’re in for one inspirational story. canvascollectiveafrica.com
Other Winelands Staycations
- Holden Manz: It hardly gets more boutique – nor luxurious – than the 5-room five-star Holden Manz Estate, a few kilometres outside of Franschhoek. Enjoy a garden picnic or a meal at the in-house Franschhoek Country Kitchen. holdenmanz.com
- South Hill: Elgin is home to one of the country’s most underrated wine routes, and at South Hill, you can not only familiarize yourself with the region’s excellent cool climate wines but also stay on a Boat House. southhill.co.za
- Jan Harmsgat Country House: Jan Harmsgat Country House offers a plush stay along the famed Route 62, and sunset farm tours that double up as wine tastings from a gorgeous viewpoint. janharmsgat.com