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Wellington, surrounded by spreading
vineyards and rolling hills, bordered by
the towering mountain ranges of the
Hawequa, Groenberg and Limietberge,
is only an hour’s drive from Cape Town. 

 

 

WELLINGTON - EMBRACE THE DAY

 

The name ‘Val du Charron’, Valley of the Wagon Makers, was bestowed on this dignified and restrained country town more than three centuries ago when it was first settled by intrepid French Huguenots. As the use of the French language gradually receded, Wellington became known by its Dutch name, ‘Wagenmakersvallei’. 

 

After the Second British Occupation in 1806, Wellington was renamed after the Great Duke and his victory over the French at the Battle of Waterloo. The town’s name reflects early Cape history which is today, a part of South Africa’s national historical mosaic.

 

 

Established old Cape families have lived in Wellington for much of its existence and their lives and works are woven into the fabric of its history. Yet, it is still relatively undiscovered, despite its significant past that began when the first settlers were granted land in this fertile valley. 

 

Wellington’s place on the map was guaranteed when a railway station was built there in 1863, as part of the British Government’s first railway line to the North. It was the terminus at which the early locomotives turned, allowing fresh produce from the interior to be brought into Wellington by wagon to meet buyers from Cape Town who had travelled by train. 

 

Wellington’s rich heritage spans more than three centuries, from the first title deeds signed by Willem Adriaan van der Stel in 1699, to the present day.  

 

 

Although quiet, almost laid-back, Wellington has produced famous sons such as Dr Andrew Murray, Abraham Izak Perold, who produced the Pinotage red wine varietal in 1925, Breyten Breytenbach, Pieter Cillié (Piet California), the fruit pioneer, and rugby star, Schalk Burger jnr.

 

Among the old families are the Retiefs’, of whom an ancestor was the famous Voortrekker leader, Piet Retief; the Cillié family and Malans’ – and many others. The old farms remain: Olyvenhout, Kromme Rivier, Versailles, Groenfontein, Vrugbaar, Onverwagt and Doolhof.  These are recorded in Title Deeds dated 1700. Amazingly the eight generation family farms, Groenfontein and Lelienfontein, still owned by the Bosman family, is the home of Bosman Family Vineyards wines.

 

 

The second-oldest co-operative wine cellar in the country, Bovlei Cellar, was founded in 1907 and Sedgwick’s Distillery established in 1886. These gave added impetus to the economy of what was by now a prosperous centre for commerce and agriculture.

Frank Meaker and Herman Le Roux

 

Bovlei Cellar, situated in the scenic Wellington region of the Western Cape, is more than 100 years old. It combines innovative ideas and modern techniques with the 300-year old classic, French Huguenot winemaking heritage of its members, to produce high quality wines that win many top SA and international awards. The vines, produced from new plant material crafted in Wellington, grow in unique terroirs on members’ estates, producing premium quality grapes, used in Bovlei’s brands. Today, Winemakers Frank Meaker and Jacques Theron are building on this unique heritage. 

 

Herman Le Roux, General Manager of Bovlei Winery, tells us, "Since the cellar was founded in 1907, it has many times produced the glorious wines of this region - a region that truly can be called not only ‘the cradle of the South African wine industry’ but also received the nomination as the ‘Top Terroir region’ of the industry in 2010."

 

Situated in one of the most magnificent wine
locations in the world, nestling against the
slopes of the Groenberg in the shadow of the
Limiet Mountains near Wellington, South
Africa, lies Bosman Family Vineyards.

 

On this impressive farm the legacy of eight generations continue in their vineyards and the superlative wines they are producing. Well-balanced and elegant their wines are made in the time-honoured tradition integrated however with modern technology.

 

Lelienfontein Estate was established in 1798 after the subdivision of the historic farm Groenfontein. The farm was originally issued as a piece of untamed land to French Huguenot, Philip de Royan in 1699 by Governor of the time, Willem Adriaan van der Stel.

 

The first wine, after an absence of winemaking for 51 years, was released from their newly renovated 250 year old cellar in 2007. During the preceding decades the Bosman family had decided to focus on their vine nursery. The family have brought two centuries of experience, knowledge of the terroir and vineyards to producing their own elegant boutique styled wines.

 

Commitment to supreme quality and innovation is demonstrated by the gentle, hands-on approach at this winery. Grapes are handpicked and meticulously hand-sorted. There is a philosophy of minimal intervention, as the main aim is to allow the quality of the fruit to stand out resulting in superb wines full of flavour and soft tannins to show off the elegance associated with the Old World, but combined with the intense fruit flavours of the New.

 

Skillful Winemaker Corlea Fourie brings with her the soft, feminine touch. Her dedication, passion and attention to detail are evident in the wines she creates. 

 

 

Take time out to discover an area, unspoiled
with air like champagne, where the silence is
palpable. Be ready to view game, hike, fish,
mountain bike and adventure into 4×4 country.  

 

At Bontebok Ridge Reserve, part of the Renosterveld Conservancy in the Limietberg Valley, amazingly you can experience a game drive through unique fynbos in the heart of the Cape winelands where one seldom finds such serenity and calm. It is only an hour’s drive from Cape Town (90km).

 

You will find some of South Africa’s wildlife in their natural habitat; bontebok, found exclusively in the Cape, mingle with eland, wildebeest, springbuck, duiker, grysbuck, grey rhebuck, and other indigenous species. 

 

Photography by Katja TurnerPhotography by Katja Turner

 

The zebra in the reserve are part of a revolutionary attempt to re-breed the extinct quagga, a zebra like animal with no stripes on the rump and legs but with identical DNA to the Plains zebra. The name quagga is derived from the Khoi-San people, which imitated the cry of the animal.

 

The unspoiled natural surroundings create an excellent example of the biodiversity of fauna and flora. A wide variety of bird species from the small cisticola to the amazing African Fish Eagle are ever present in the reserve.

Johan van Schalkwyk

 

Johan van Schalkwyk, the talented chef prepared a tempting menu to pair with Bovlei and Bosman Family Vineyard wines at a country harvest lunch served under the centuries old oak trees on the rolling lawns. Johan cooks with great verve and has worked at many major restaurants such as Buitenverwachting, Diemersfontein and the River Café in the Cape as well as the charming Château Ballenau in France.

 

To Embrace the Day in Wellington we invited Johan to create generous, classic and homely dishes with a touch of French flair using some of the local produce; serving wild boar with apple and sage and eland sirloin from Bontebok Ridge. 

 

He prepared dishes using local cheeses, a mozzarella made from authentic buffalo milk from Buffalo Ridge. Chèvre, Shephard’s and Crottin from Foxenberg Farm. The cold pressed extra virgin olive oil comes from Kleinfontein and was drizzled over the fabulous vegetable bake. Johan has his own restaurant on the Dunstone Farm called Stone Kitchen and that is where you will find him. All contact details below.

 

Do see Wellington - Embrace the Day Recipe page. 

 

 

Salad with rocket, cos, red onion, baby spinach
and beetroot leaves, chèvre, finely chopped
egg tossed together with a touch of apple cider
vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.

A Bovlei favourite, the delectable Bovlei Cellar Sauvignon Blanc 2011 has hints of tropical fruit and lemon grass. What is particularly noteworthy is the crisp after taste of this varietal wine, produced from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes. A delicious wine which you should enjoy young. Delightful with the Leek & Crottin Tart.

 

The Bovlei Cellar Chardonnay 2010 was perfect with the Quiche Lorraine. A benchmark wine, full-bodied, exciting with a mélange of citrus flavours. Very slightly oaked this classic Chardonnay has aromas of creamy vanilla with a pleasant after taste. Enjoy young, yet it has the possibility to age for up to three years.

 


Buffalo mozzarella is served with fresh basil, and slightly charred grilled tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and a dash of mustard powder. The secret is to add a faint trace of sugar, which brings out the flavour of the tomato.

 

 

 

 

 

Bosman Family Vineyards Sur Lie Chenin Blanc 2009 is a most delightful wine where you have aromas and hints of quince, peach and grapefruit. A wine that has an elegant structure and pleasant acidity. Two special vineyard blocks were selected to produce this wine. The mountain vineyard for its quality of rich, tropical fruit and the second older vineyard for its structure. Enjoy almost immediately and additionally for two to three years. 

 

Bosman Family Vineyards Adama White 2010 combines grapes from their Bovlei estates in Wellington as well as grapes from the Upper-Hemel-and-Aarde Valley (Hermanus). They use Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier from Wellington, while from Hermanus they introduce the Pinot Gris and Semillon. Pineapple, passionfruit and quince, unusual and exotic notes carry through for this exciting palate which has an excellent mineral finish. 

 

Bovlei CellarBosman Family Vineyards

 

The choice is wide and exciting. Choose from Bovlei
Vineyard Selected red wines and Bosman Family
Vineyard to pair with eland sirloin and wild boar
served with a stunning roasted vegetable platter of
butternut, potato, beetroot, onions and garlic with
blanched and refreshed green beans seasoned with
sugar, sea salt, black pepper and mustard powder.

 


Bovlei CellarThe Bovlei Vineyard Selected Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 is a superb wine. The grapes chosen from a low-yield vineyard to produce this full-bodied, elegant wine having good fruit aromas and flavours with well integrated tannins. Enjoy immediately or age for up to five years. 

 

Bovlei Cellar has particular signature wines of which the distinguished Centenary Merlot 2007 is one. Full-bodied with berry flavours, a rich deep plum in colour, it is100% Merlot. A wine that will age for up to five years, however it can be enjoyed immediately and will be particularly good with venison. 

 

 

 

Bosman Family Vineyard Adama Red 2008 is a wine that has an exciting palate with subtle tannins and flavours of black plums and red berries with notes of vanilla and spice.  Interestingly in the Adama Red, three clones of Shiraz were used, most selected from the Paarl region VinPro Winning Block of 2007, including the Mouvèrdre. The Primitivo and Viognier which were added on an experimental basis, they were complementary and earned their way into the blend. Enjoy immediately or allow to rest for two to three years.

 

 

 

Bosman Family Vineyard Pinotage 2009 is a pinotage from a vineyard that has maintained consistency in producing superior fruit for nearly a decade and is the oldest red wine vineyard and used especially for the Vineyard Selection range. Classic notes of black berries and cherries with complex layers of caramel and dark chocolate. Refined and elegant tannins giving good structure to the wine and a lingering finish.

 

 

Bovlei CellarBosman Family Vineyards

 

Choose between Bovlei Hanepoort Jerepigo or Bosman Family Vineyard Natural Sweet Wine Dolce Primitivo, or enjoy both with Golden Delicious apples baked in orange juice scented with cloves and cinnamon, a little brown sugar and  raisins soaked in brandy. Serve with cinnamon ice cream, nut brittle and a moist orange butter cake dusted with icing sugar.

 


South Africa is very fortunate in having quite exquisite dessert wines, and Bovlei Hanepoot Jerepigo N/V is certainly one of them. Made from 100% South African Hanepoot Jerepigo grapes, the dessert wine is full-bodied with a muscat flavour, supple with well balanced sweetness and acidity. Do enjoy at room temperature, but is excellent chilled, ideal for hot summer days. Delightful for drinking now or cellared for another few years. 

 

Bosman Family Vineyard Natural Sweet Wine, Dolce Primitivo 2007, to be enjoyed now or in five to seven years time, carefully stored. The palate is sweet, well balanced with a naturally high acidity. Notes of dry black berries and maraschino cherries with complex layers of honeyed raisins and cinnamon pairs particularly well with the apple dessert. 

 


With special thanks to Penelope Horwood for her historical input on Wellington.  

 

BOVLEI WINERY 
P.O. Box 82, Wellington, 7654, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 873 1567
wines@bovlei.co.za • www.bovlei.co.za

 

BOSMAN FAMILY VINEYARDS
P.O. Box 149, Wellington, 7654, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 873 3170
carla@bosmanwines.com www.bosmanwines.com

 

Johan van Schalkwyk
THE STONE KITCHEN
Bovlei Road, Wellington
P.O. Box 901, Wellington, 7654, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 864 2451
stonekitchen@dunstone.co.za 

 

BONTEBOK RIDGE RESERVE
Tel: +27 (0) 21 864 1169 (Frank and Sue Turner)
Mobile : +27 82 576 9657 (Tom Turner) 

trturner@iafrica.comwww.bontebokridge.co.za

 


 

 
 

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  • Susanna & John Tecklenburg
    25 May, 2011, 11:42

    Thankyou very much for a fantastic write-up about Wellington. It was such a surprise to see the most beautiful pictures and info about our superb town. I believe that Wellington the place to be and living here for five years myself, I BELIEVE IN WELLINGTON AND OUR PEOPLE. Working hard to build up an charming and a successful business over the years. Your input and write-up can only be good for business. Wellington in my eys always be THE EXCLUSIVE ALTERNATIVE.

    Thankyou very much

    Susanna
    021 873 1008
    082 836 8924
    restaurant.oudewellington@gmail.com

 
  • 16 June, 2011, 13:40

    Thank you, this write-up describes Wellington perfectly.

 
  • 19 March, 2013, 2:33

    Have you ever at any time had a really unforgettable glass of wine?
    What about a memorable bottle? Which was more essential to the experience, the company or even the wine by itself?

 

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