Founded in 1700, this lovely estate lies in the fertile bowl of the Helderberg Mountains on the outskirts of the town of Somerset West (but is listed under the Stellenbosch wine route). It was once part of Adriaan van der Stel’s Vergelegen Estate nearby, so it’s steeped in history and heritage but has also espoused ultra-modern wine technology.
It’s another lovely estate with extensive, beautifully-tended gardens, all with the backdrop of mountains. So gorgeously “Cape”—in fact, I’ve almost never seen other wine areas anywhere else in the world that look quite as lovely as this. Some are more dramatic (Switzerland), others vaster (France). Maybe it’s the combination of setting and the Cape-Dutch architecture—green nature and white buildings. Whatever it is, it’s beautiful and a great place to relax, soak in the outdoors, and enjoy world-class wines.
Lourensford is a very large estate that offers a lot for the visitor. There’s the Tasting Room with a mini cellar tour, plus the Millhouse Restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, a shop, a pottery shop, an art gallery and a coffee roasting company, which is a whole other tasting experience. Plus, there are trails and walks through the vines and up into the foothills—in addition to rambling the Estate’s own gardens and emerald green lawns. They also cater for events—our nephew got married here and said the Estate people were pleasant to deal with.
Well worth a visit and we suggest you allocate many hours, as each part of the visit is very leisurely—don’t try to be in a rush.
Besides wine tasting, and eating in the restaurant (see an upcoming post), you should definitely visit the Coffee Roasting Company, open daily 9-5. They roast on site, giving the room that warm, smokey aroma of ground coffee. It sells coffee to go as well as being a small café, with some pastries, and a few gift items, like teas, coffees, chocolates, preserves, a few souvenirs, and lovely series of kids’ books called “In the Land of Kachoo”, about African animals. Many local people come here just for the coffee, to buy bags of coffee specially roasted to go, or to sip and savor coffee in the sun under a vine trellis or other fruit trees. That’s what we did late March, and it was a lovely outing for our multi-generational group.
The Art Gallery close to the Coffee Roasting Company is called Aleit & Is Art (the Aleit Hospitality Group makes a local beer on the premises—ABRU—which they sell at the Lourensford Market on Sundays).
In March the Gallery was hosting a special exhibition of outdoor sculptures, set up on the immaculate lawns. After enjoying our coffee we had fun walking around in the sun, identifying what the large outdoor figures were. They were all for sale, so maybe by now some lucky person can enjoy them at home or in another setting. The US $ and South Africa Rand exchange rate is roughly US$1=R11
Horse: “Let Loose”, by Florian Junge, R290,000 (roughly a bit less than $2900)
Number 1: “Indigenous”, by Marieke Prinsloo, cement, R76,900
Number 2: “Going and Staying”, by Pieter Robbetze, resin, R17,000
Number 3: I have called you by name, by Marieke Prinsloo, resin, R47,900
Number 4: “Elevation”, by Andre Stead, resin, R54,000
Number 5: “I want to be free”, by Uwe Pfaff, powder coated steel, R18,000