A few weeks ago we were invited to spend a night at Klein Welmoed Wine & Olive Estate, which is nestled on the border of Raithby Village between Stellenbosch and Somerset West.
It was a glorious, sunny Saturday, one of those perfect first days of Spring when Capetonians flee the city for the beach or an afternoon in the winelands. We went for the second option. On a day as pretty as this one you don’t have to do much more than top up your glass with some crisp Sauvignon Blanc, and as we drove deeper into the farmlands, with potbelly pigs, sheep and lush paddocks on either side of us, my heart ballooned.
When we arrived we found a spacious cottage waiting for us and my excitement doubled. Inside we discovered an open plan kitchen, living room and dining room with a fireplace on one end. Down the hallway we had two bedrooms, both looking utterly tempting with afternoon sunlight spilling onto the large double beds, and two bathrooms – one en-suite with a tub and the other with a shower.
I had half a mind to take an afternoon nap but the weather called us outdoors and we headed back to the main house for a quick wine tasting of the Foothills range. I particularly enjoyed their Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Rosé, and I would definitely recommend you make a booking to try the range. A few glasses later we had successfully shaken off any stress and anxiety we might have carried from the city and we could simply absorb the sunlight pouring over us.
A few glasses later we had successfully shaken off any stress and anxiety we might have carried from the city and we could simply absorb the sunlight pouring over us
After the tasting we still had a good few hours of daylight left so we grabbed a few bottles from the tasting room and headed to our little home for the night to enjoy our porch and the sweeping views of the Helderberg wine valley before us.
I love living in the city but there are a few things about the suburbs that I miss dearly. The most prominent longing I have these days is for a small garden where I can sit on those beautiful afternoons enjoying a glass of wine, and a place where we can have a braai on a weekend. I guess it’s my Afrikaans culture pulling rank here, but whenever there is a rugby match on I really feel like putting out some snacks, cracking open a beer and throwing a tjoppie on the fire.
So here we were, with our own little house in the winelands, a Springbok match on the horizon and a braai place outside, ready and waiting. If you spend enough time in an apartment this scenario is seriously luxurious.
Off we went to the nearest shopping center and stocked up on biltong, nuts, crackers and soft cheese, a couple of lamb chops, butternut to roast in the oven and a salad to balance things out. The cottage has a fully kitted kitchen with everything we needed on the evening and apart from a faulty lightbulb in the braai we were perfectly comfortable.
While the day had been balmy, the evening chilled down properly and after dinner we built a fire, settling in front of the flickering flames with a glass of red wine and some dark chocolate to finish our meal.
The next morning we woke to a grey sky outside and gusts of wind pushing and pulling the trees. You never know how the Mother City’s mood will swing. With great hesitation I slipped out of bed, thankful for the underfloor heating throughout the house, and headed to the kitchen to make some coffee. Then back to bed where I shimmied under the fluffy white duvet, savouring the warming caffeine fix in my cup. I really could imagine myself living there.
After breakfast we loaded our car and hit the road back to Cape Town. For a day we could pretend what it would be like to live in the winelands. It wouldn’t be too bad at all.
Our stay at Klein Welmoed was lovely but there are a few places where I think they can improve.
The geyser didn’t have enough hot water for the both of us to shower warm, which is problematic since the house sleeps four. It is probably just a setting or plumbing issue so ask them beforehand if you are worried.
The breakfast was well prepared but I thought it lacked a little love. They offered a lot of standard, shop-bought options, from the cereals and bread to their condiments. Since Klein Welmoed is in the middle of the winelands, with some of our country’s best produce being farmed around the corner from them, I think they can give their offering a more unique touch. Replace the standard white bread with a slice of Schoon de Companje sourdough, and get some jams and condiments from the local delis.
It would also be a nice touch if the farm supplied guests with some of their own Foothills wine and olive oil in the cottage. It’s a little thing that I’ve seen done at other wine farms in the past and it makes huge difference. I would also have enjoyed some freshly ground artisan coffee and a nicer selection of rusks, but then I’m a bit of a snob.
These points aside I would definitely recommend Klein Welmoed, particularly if you are looking to linger a little longer. And if you are two couples sharing the cost, their rates aren’t too bad either.
They have just reopened after their winter break. Head over to kleinwelmoed.com for more information.