Boschendal, that iconic farm in the Drakenstein Valley, was granted to one Jean le Long by Governor Simon van der Stel in 1685, three hundred and thirty years ago. So this year is the big celebration. I worked at Boschendal in 1985 when we had the big 300th celebration, and I can tell you this this was a far grander affair.
Boschendal is going stratospheric with so much on the go; it is fast finding itself, again, as one of the tourism and wine destinations in the winelands.
So much new is on the go with much excitement in the future.
The estate is home to an Aberdeen Angus stud. It was lovely seeing them strolling through the vineyards around the Manor House eating up the cover crop before the vines sprout. As soon as there is spring growth showing on the vines, the beasts will be moved elsewhere. Soon there will be a butchery on the Estate where visitors will be able to buy beef from these grass fed animals. Christiaan Campbell is already using some really interesting cuts of beef in The Werf Restaurant behind the Manor House.
He is planning to roast a whole ox at The Werf on National Braai Day – 24th September. This should be a huge fun event, with a trail bike ride as part of the happy day. A large table with big platters of beef and Christiaan’s lovely vegetables.
The Werf vegetable garden under the caring hand of Megan McCarthy is coming on really well and she told me that 10 weeks was all she need for it to be looking really full. It is the intention to grow 5 tons of vegetables, fruit, salads, and herbs of which just less that half will be used on the Estate and others will be available for local restaurants to use. Cutting down on carbon footprint for their produce. Nice for the locavores to have a facility like this close by.
The deli on the werf is already hugely popular as a breakfast lunch and tea venue. I can’t resist going in there and buying a loaf of Estate baked seed loaf studded with amber raisins and rolled in a variety of seeds.
There is a variety of other baked produce there including some utterly delicious pastries one or two of which I can’t resist taking home. You could make up a charcuterie platter there as well to take home for supper. And of course a bottle of Boschendal wine would not go amiss. And perhaps a jar of marmalade for breakfast with that bread?
Sam Lundie who works on the Estate is a total dynamo, she is in the process of redecorating the Taphuis on the Estate and making the customer wine tasting and sales a more pleasurable experience. She has a knack for interior design, which has been amply demonstrated in the 46 or so really comfortable cottages she has set up as overnight accommodation on Boschendal.
We spent a night there recently in a cottage not far from our house on the estate where we lived in the 70s and 80s. Wonderful to wake up to a loud dawn chorus and the Simonsberg behind us all pink and fresh in the dawn and facing us, the Groot Drakenstein Mountain with its huge Dragon’s Tooth. It was very special being delivered of Breakfast in a Basket with fresh breads, cheeses, charcuteries, jams and pickles, fresh fruit juice.
One of the 330 Festivities was held in The Olive Press, a well equipped and beautifully designed function venue. There was a dinner for 120 people with former President Katlema Motlanthe included in the guest list. I was privileged to have been invited to be the Master of Ceremonies, reprising my role of 30 years ago.
Tim Hutcheson CEO of Boschendal Wines spoke hearteningly of the future of Boschendal and its wines – and the need for premiumisation to move Boschendal into the next phase of its life. With Lizelle Gerber who makes the MCC and white wines at Boschendal and Richard Duckitt making the reds, the winery is in good hands.
Christiaan and his team surpassed themselves with the food that evening and the Boschendal Wines were a perfect match with each dish. We had done a menu tasting some weeks earlier.
It was at this occasion that the Boschendal 330 2013 was launched to honour Boschendal’s birthday.
So, as the seasons turn again, and the vines and fruit trees start sprouting, there are already fruit trees covered in white blossom, the farm and the winery prepare for the harvest of 2016 and promises of the future.
Click here for more information about sporting events at Boschendal.
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