A few weeks ago I shared my Weekend Wanderings which led me to Vergenoegd Wine Estate.
Today I’m sharing a bit more about the estate – my second visit – which found me enjoying the most incredible Harvest Lunch experience…
My first observation on this visit was just how many changes have taken place over the past month or so… the first being the lovely new signage and sweet little “ducks” that welcomed us on arriving at the entrance (just off Baden Powell Drive and the N2)
We were warmly welcomed once again and shown to our spots at the long communal table where we introduced ourselves to our fellow diners and settled down for an afternoon of decadence under the oaks…
The atmosphere was friendly and fun and there were lots of laughs around the table. This is a wonderful way of enjoying a meal, especially if you like meeting new people and sharing a story or two over a glass of wine. The guests included various families celebrating milestone birthdays, friends and couples enjoying time together in a beautiful setting and tourists looking to experience life on an authentic wine farm.
Our kids were accommodated on picnic blankets under the trees just a few metres from us and being of a self-sufficient age (!) they kept themselves busy with the many activities and equipment provided – only occasionally popping by our spot at the table for reassurance!
Spread out across the expansive lawns were balls of all shapes and sizes and a croquet game. A large blackboard kept my budding artist busy who took it upon himself to be inspired by his surroundings and drew the Vergenoegd Manor House without prompting… I was pretty proud!
Once their Duckling Delight picnic boxes arrived, they dived in to their healthy lunch and then proceeded to keep themselves occupied with the biscuit icing and decorating activity… All in all they weren’t bored once and were kept so busy within our sight that we were able to sit back and relax to enjoy the scenery, company and delicious food!
The Harvest Lunch spread arrived dish by dish on platters perfect for sharing and we indulged in the most incredible food, prepared by chef Ryan Shell.
The starter was a salmon mousse roulade, mains were coffee-crusted wildebeest, kabeljou cooked in foil and pork belly and served with side dishes of the creamiest mashed potatoes, cauliflower in white sauce, roasted root vegetables and baked aubergine. Plates were piled high and second helpings encouraged… THIS is how life should be lived. Always!
The main meal was followed by dessert – individual lemon sorbet and a decadent chocolate cake served with strawberries and cream that still makes my mouth water just typing this!
And of course, a cheese board extraordinaire served complete with a bunch of grapes from the vineyards.
After the lazy lunch there was a bit of time to explore the farm and outbuildings before heading indoors to enjoy a unique blending experience of our choice and my husband headed straight for the wine cellar to chat to the wine maker, Marelize Jacobs who was in the midst of harvesting the vines.
Then it was time to head inside the historic manor house for a unique wine blending experience. Using our own taste buds as a guide we set about learning what goes in to creating the perfect wine blend with Vergenoegd’s Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon as a starting point.
As you can imagine, it was a festive afternoon, made all the more special when through the window we spotted the Runner Ducks heading home from a day’s work in the vineyards…
Our wine blending swiftly came to an end as we all raced outside, eager to not miss the highlight of a day at Vergenoegd… The March of the Runner Ducks!
Hundreds (upon hundreds) of waddling quackers made their way through the farm and in front of the Manor House – all looking very earnest and serious at their important role.
Thanks to these little ducks the farm has acquired WWF biodiversity certificate as the vineyards now use no poison or pesticides as the ducks eliminate snails, slugs and other bugs from the vineyards.
These feathered friends head off to work each morning at 9:30am and return at 3:30pm and the public is welcome to enjoy the experience at these times each day. The sheer numbers are staggering (approx 700) and together they make for a quite a unique experience, especially for kids!
My kids loved following them all the way to their enclosure… and then joined Mr D the Duck Man in the duckling nursery where they got a sneak peek behind the scenes to see what goes into keeping this workforce strong in numbers! (P.S. Don’t stress – these ducks don’t find their way into the kitchen… too muscular apparently!)
The Vergenoegd Harvest Experience happens every Thursday, Friday and Saturday lunchtime until the end of March at a cost of R350 per person and includes three courses of farm-fresh food including salads, veggies and herbs from our garden, served with Vergenoegd wines, Manor House iced tea blend, water and coffee. The lunch is served between 12:00 and 15:00 and is limited to 20 places per day so booking is essential.
Blending experiences allow visitors to take home their own personally blended and branded Wine, Olive Oil, Tea or Coffee.
Contact Vergenoegd Wine Estate
Baden Powell Drive, Stellenbosch Wine Route, Cape Town
Tel:+27 (0) 21 843 3248
Images: Kathryn Rossiter