I arrived as a complete stranger to Vergenoegd Wine Estate yesterday, but after a delicious harvest lunch enjoyed under the old oak trees I left a firm friend.
Vergenoegd is the first Stellenbosch Wine Estate you hit once you turn onto Baden Powel (R301) from the N2 and can be easily overlooked, but it shouldnt. I can highly recommend visiting this 320 year old farm that has recently been given a proper makeover.
They only opened in December so the food side of things is still a work in progress and chef Ryan Shell (ex-Haute Cabriere) has created a fantastic artisinal picnic offering which can be enjoyed on the shaded lawns around the farm. I cant wait to go back and enjoy one of those. It is one of the smaller and more quaint estates to visit which was what I loved the most. It felt quite personal.
Blending experiences are offered throughout the day and visitors are taken through the flavours and textures of coffee, tea, wine, or olive oil and their own custom-made and labelled blends can be purchased. A cool idea and a great gift concept. I created my own blend of Leccino and Mission olives which was wax sealed and personally named and labelled for me.
During the months of Feb and March this year, Vergenoegd is offering a Harvest Table lunch from Thursday – Sunday for R350. This is fantastic value and includes all wine, water and coffee as well as a blending experience. There are only 20 places available per day so booking is essential. The menu for this abundant communal lunch might change each week but you can expect really beautifully cooked food presented on generous platters to the table. I loved our confit of free-range lamb shanks yesterday which literally melted off the bone and was loaded with incredible flavour from the duck fat it was cooked in over night (not from the ducks from the farm I might add which are never eaten). There was an array of vegetable dishes which made me very happy along with my favourite South African Cheddar (Healeys) making an appearance on the cheese board. The food here is all home made and sourced from ethical farmers.
One of the highlights of the day for me was the duck parade where around 790 Indian Runner ducks who have spent the day working in the vineyards waddle back home for the night. These ducks are part of an eco pest control program where the farm employs them to eat all the nasty bugs instead of using invasive chemicals. It’s a sight to behold and small children would go wild.
Vergenoegd obviously does wine tastings which can be enjoyed in the beautiful Manor House tasting room or on the verandah. They have a big dining room set up for groups or special tastings, and are one of the few Stellenbosch wine estates to offer vintage tastings.
For more details on whats going on visit: Vergenoegd Wine Estate, Stellenbosch, R301
*Disclaimer ~ I was invited as a guest to the farm with a friend and was not asked to publish a review.