As the Newlands Station Manager for the Volunteer Wildfire Services, this brave ...
A One Day Holiday at Lourensford Wine Estate
Lourensford is a wine estate for the whole family – and a leisurely outing for holidaymakers
The Cape Epic ended here, the K-Day music festival was held here and still, Lourensford wine estate in Somerset West is a bit of a secret. It won’t be for long though, since we’re about to share it with you.
Lourensford estate is like a little wine village: forests, fruit plantations (apples, pears, plums), vineyards, bee hives, fly fishing, art, a coffee roastery, cheesery, a wine cellar and a restaurant. While it‘s stylish and upmarket, Lourensford also makes for an easy going family outing or a leisurely food and wine escape for holidaymakers.
The Somerset West wine area holds some undiscovered gems. Next to Vergelegen Estate and the Erinvale Golf Estate lies the Lourensford wine estate, somewhat hidden. Yet, visit Lourensford and you’ll soon discover that it’s not only a wine farm for wine tasting; children are more than welcome and it offers activities for every age group.
A family outing to Lourensford
The idea: bring the family to Lourensford for the day, experience the farm, get to know more about the wine and experience some specialities you won’t neccessarily find on other wine estates. When passing through the Lourensford gates, the road takes you further alongside vineyards with beautiful rose bushes at the edges of the vines - these are not only there for its aesthetic value, they also help to point out quickly when diseases threaten the vines.
"From Nature’s Perfect Amphitheatre“ says the Lourensford slogan. Surrounded by the Hottentots Holland Mountains, the Lourensford wine estate is like an opera for the eye. Let the wine farm be your stage for creating beautiful memories.
Breakfast at the River Garden Deli
Start your day at the casual River Garden restaurant and deli. Open from 8am they offer fresh bread and pastries which are baked on the estate itself. The restaurant is an elevated wooden terrace with a view of the rose and herb gardens and fountains. There’s also a playground and toys for the kids, not to mention the huge lawn. The orange and lime coloured plastic chairs and the humerous art on the walls all support the friendly atmosphere.
Almost everything on the menu is sourced from the Lourensford farm; the rest are from the immediate surroundings. The food selection caters for everyone. If you have a giant appetite in the morning, don’t fear. Try the River Garden Breakfast: 2 eggs, beacon, sausage, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and toast. The French Toast with berry compote and crème fraiche is almost as tempting as the omelette – and then there’s also freshly baked muffins. Prices range from R28 to R52. For the kids there’s a separate kiddies breakfast menu: healthy granola, strawberry yoghurt or toast with egg and bacon (R10 to R21).
It’s worth noting that the restaurant is non-smoking, so you can be sure to find some fresh morning air at the River Garden on Lourensford. If you’re lucky you may even find the artist Frans Groenewald at his studio on the estate. If not, at least check out his amusing paintings on the walls of the deli – which are all for sale.
Hiking through the fynbos at Lourensford
The wine farm is huge and a hike is the best way to get close to the natural fynbos and experience the magical surroudings for yourself. It takes about 45 minutes up the four kilometer hiking trail to the lapa. If you think you might be hungry again when you get there, ask for a picnic basket at the River Garden deli and let the restaurant personnel fill it with goodies.
A coffee break at the coffee-roastery
Exhausted from the hike? Time for coffee. Visit Lourensford‘s in-house roastery with its real coffee plant. Although you can taste a coffee here for free it’s worth noting that this is not a coffee shop but a coffee roastery where you can buy freshly roasted beans from all over the world at around R30 a packet. The beans are from Ethopia, Nicaragua, Peru and even Papua New Guinea, amongst others. Coffeemaker Lucien makes sure that his coffee is roasted every two hours. Coffee culture has become quite trendy in Cape Town over the last few years. Here young and old coffee lovers can have a look, taste and ask questions.
And the winner is... Lourensford wine
From coffee to wine. The wine tasting room has a view of the cellar and is open from 9.30am until 5pm. So you can taste to your delight, after enjoying breakfast or before a late lunch. Wine tastings are R15 per person for a tasting of five wines, but if you buy anything from the cellar the wine tasting is free. Wine prices range from R35 to R120.
New to wine? Everything about production and terroir, as well as tasting notes can be explained by the tasting staff. If you’re lucky you may even meet Hannes Nel and Chris Joubert, the winemakers themselves. The red wine maker and cellar master for Lourensford wine estate is Chris Joubert, while Hannes Nel makes the white wines.
Unique wine tastings to explore
There’s also some special food and wine pairing options if you feel like entertaining your palate. Try a different wine tasting with a cheese platter (the cheesery is situated on the estate) at R55. Or go for a unique wine tasting with nougat, which is something for the sweet tooth. At R30, you get to taste the wine, then a piece of nougat, then the wine again. In between different wines you get to eat delicious little cookies which are meant to clear your palate before moving on to the next wine... Winemaker's Selection Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier and Merlot.
The 2009 Lourensford Chardonnay was counted amongst the top ten best Chardonnays in the world at the Chardonnaydu Monde® competition in Burgundy in 2010. The Lourensford Chardonnay was the only South African wine in the Top 10 and competed against 887 wines from 37 countries.
Psst: ask for the Lourensford honey liqueur. It’s made from real Lourensford Eucalyptus honey and tastes divine – especially ice-cold.
Family, family, family
Don't miss having a look at the Patricia Greatorex jewellery displayed and sold in the tasting room. There’s also a delightful selection of chocolate truffles to furthe make your mouth water. Otherwise have another bite at the River Garden Deli. The restaurant serves lunch from 12:00 until 15:30.
On the first Saturday or Sunday of the month, it’s the time for the increasingly popular Family Farmer’s Market. Here they sell everything: food, drinks, fruits, veggies, clothes, art, wine... mmm. This could make for a lovely family day out just on it’s own.
When it’s time to go home you’ll realize how much more is still to be discovered at Lourensford. You can still do a two hour 4x4 eco-tour, fly fishing, and even a proper cellar tour. Not to mention that Lourensford is soon to launch its first sparkling wine. Surely that alone is worth coming back for. Besides, affordable family luxury is kind of hard to resist, especially now that the Lourensford secret is out.
By Antonia Heil
To discover more about the best wine tastings on offer in the Cape Winelands, make sure that you subscribe to our monthly Editor’s Picks Newsletter.