There is no shortage of outstanding luxury accommodation in the amazing Western Cape Winelands in South Africa. But what better way to dive into the local wine scene than actually staying at one of the region’s most renowned wineries?
I am a long standing fan of Boschendal. In fact, I fell in love with it a decade ago when wandering through the gate and down the lane of the estate’s historic Werf complex, and have been back many times since.
Accommodation is a fairly recent addition to the extensive activity programme offered at Boschendal and I was eagerly looking forward to three nights at one of the farms cute cottages on my last trip.
Set against a stunning mountain backdrop in the beautiful Drakenstein Valley between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, Boschendal visitors can expect a range of exiting wine-related activities and an excellent food offer.
Founded as one of the first wine and working farms in the area in 1685, when land was granted to Huguenot refugee Jean Le Long, Boschendal has always been more than just a winery. Right from the start, it also produced excellent farm-to-table produce.
Today the farm has a nearly 1,000 strong herd of Aberdeen Angus beef, a free roaming herd of pigs, a small flock of sheep and an absolutely gorgeous fruit and vegetable garden. The latter, spanning around 200 hectares, is located directly behind the historic farmstead complex and freely accessible to all visitors.
The lovely Werf complex was declared a national monument, and it is very obvious why. The historic manor house and the surrounding buildings are the main hub of activity, spotting various wine tasting facilities, a small daily, a bakery, a small gift shop and the Werf restaurant.
The remaining parts of the farm are open to visitors on prior bookings only. The range of possible activities there include cellar tours, wine tasting, vineyard tours, picnics, horse rides, hiking and mountain biking along select routes across the farm.
There are several beautifully restored cottages spread across the extensive farm area that have been turned into luxury rooms.
We stayed at the restored Orchard Cottages, nestled amongst the vineyards and fruit orchards in a secluded area about two kilometres from the main road. Originally these have been houses for farm workers and now have been turned into one, two and four bedroom cottages. All include a separate living area, kitchenette and an outdoor terrace.
The Orchard Cottages also share a small pool area, offering stunning views over the valley.
Other accommodation options include the Werf Cottages, which are located just a few steps away from the Werf complex (thus the name). They too have been carefully restored into one bedroom accommodation, including a living area and kitchenette. A shared pool is also located in the area.
A small number of larger cottages ideal for families are located either close to the Orchard or the Werf Cottages; the Retreat Cottages, also catering to larger groups are set in yet another secluded area right at the foot of the mountains.
Wine tasting at Boschendal
Wine tasting experiences at Boschendal range from the typical tasting room setting where you can chose from the estates wine range.
Day visitors can also sign-up to cellar and vineyard tours and dedicated wine pairings at the manor house with booking required in advance.
My favourite way tasting Boschendal wines is actually booking one of the more exclusive wine pairings hosted at the beautiful manor house. There are a range of different pairing options available including an Angus and Shiraz pairing, Oysters and MCC pairing or the MCC and canapé pairing. Each session is limited to small groups (usually not more than six people). A pairing session will last around an hour and you will be guided through the various wines and accompanying fod by one of the winery’s wine experts.
Breakfast, lunch or dinner? Or maybe a picnic somewhere on the extensive grounds of the estate? No problem, Boschendal has you covered.
The small Deli offers an extensive breakfast menu including the most tasty croissant, waffles and other pastries along with a hot breakfast selection. Alternatively, you can order breakfast brought to your cottage.
For lunch and dinner the Deli has daily specials alongside its small bistro-style menu.
The Deli also provides picnic baskets to be enjoyed on the beautifully curate lawn just outside the Werf complex.
The Werf restaurant, located in the original cellar of the manor house will wow you with delicious farm-to-table food with most of the ingredients directly sourced at the farm.
Inside, a large open plan seating area and on warmer days the terrace allow views over the beautiful fruit and vegetable garden and the vineyards.
The menu changes according to season but expect to find the farm’s renowned angus beef or free range chicken, and locally sourced fish.
The gorgeous little bar integrated into the Werf restaurant each Wednesday evening from 6 pm to 7.30 pm hosts the farm’s won ‘Wine Wednesday’, featuring a different Boschendal wine each week. And the first pour is on the house!
Friday night market
Each Friday evening during the Spring and Summer months the farm also hosts its own farmers market, now one of the most celebrated in the area.
Set up within the beautiful Werf complex, there are lots of stalls brimming with delicious, fresh farm offerings, arts, decorations and handicrafts.
There is so much to experience at Boschendal, you could spend days here without having to leave and would still find new things to do. I would definitely recommend to visit for a wine tasting and some food or even staying over for a night or two in one of the cosy cottages to get the opportunity to indulge in the plentiful activities and get to explore the wider farm.
along R310 Helshoogte Road