The Breede River Valley’s pioneering Weltevrede Wine Estate has taken a major step in its evolution following the extensive re-development of the farm’s visitor experiences. Already well-known to wine-lovers from around the world, the visitor centre now provides deeper context of the farm’s place in history while highlighting a heritage of winemaking excellence.
The transformation applies on several fronts. It incorporates a luxuriously appointed, double-volume reception hall; refreshed and expanded underground exhibition and wine tasting rooms; and an expansive, landscaped rose-and-vine garden. As from 12th November, Weltevrede’s second tasting room (Cape Wine Crafters) portfolio will open to the public. On their heels to be opened in coming months is a new restaurant; and non-alcoholic social beverage lounge.
New visitor tours give individual expression to the dual pillars on which Weltevrede’s reputation now rests: Chardonnay, which has thrived here thanks to a regional concentration of limestone soils; and, Cap Classique.
The changes flow from a focused strategy that can only begin and end with wine. “My vision for the wines of Weltevrede is to be a pure expression of terroir in which it is rooted,” says Philip Jonker, fourth generation winemaker-proprietor. “Our wines should have personality dictated by the soil. It should have a sense of place.”
A glimpse of this special 100ha estate on the outskirts of Bonnievale was first offered to visitors in the 1970s by Philip’s father, Lourens, who had recently taken over from his father. While the Jonker Family has been farming since 1912, the first wines were made under the Weltevrede label in the 1940’s, it was Lourens who first opened a tasting room on the farm. He was first in the region to do so, too.
Years later, when production switched to modern methods, old concrete wine tanks were re-purposed as a rustic, candlelit tasting room. The experience quickly became a hallmark reflecting Weltevrede’s special blend of poetic art and scientific rigor. It was essential this be retained when change came.
Now, the reception hall serves as the departure point for the tours. Visitors are guided through the underground network. Candles and muted lighting retain the hallowed ambience.
Each underground tour takes two hours to complete and includes wine tasting. Create Cap Classique includes a unique interactive experience where visitors can disgorge, dosage, cork, foil and label their own Cap Classique bottle. Tours may be taken consecutively.
More subtle but no less important changes that affirm Weltevrede’s core values have also been instituted. Among them, the addition to the label of every bottle of Weltevrede Chardonnay of the names of workers who helped make it a reality.
Architectural features such as the egg-shaped entrance to reception and subterranean rooms speak of varied themes related to care, fertility, and innovation. Old vines preserved since the days of Weltevrede’s founders have been replanted on pedestals alongside the rose garden to reflect heritage. There are many more that await.
Captivated by Cap Classique Underground Tour is priced at R250pp and is available Mondays to Saturdays at 10h00 (2 hours). Reservations advised.
Captivated by Chardonnay Underground Tour is priced at R250pp and is available Mondays to Saturdays at 14h00 (2 hours). Reservations advised.
Create Cap Classique is priced at R200 per bottle; a unique interactive experience where visitors can disgorge, dosage, cork, foil and label their own Cap Classique bottle (30 minutes). Available Monday-Friday from 08h00-17h00 and Saturdays from 09h00-15h30.
For more information, visit www.weltevrede.com; send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 023 616 2141. Weltevrede wines are available for purchase from the estate website as well as selected wine specialists and restaurants countrywide.
Follow Weltevrede on Instagram and Facebook @WeltevredeWines and Twitter @_Weltevrede.