Growing up in the Winelands I had one or two friends who lived in a Cape Dutch manor house on the vineyards surrounding town. We lived in a normal modern house in one of the suburbs which seemed so mundane – I guess people always feel like that about their own house – and my romantic imaginings combined with the Stellenbosch mentality that “everything gets better with age” left me with a profound love for these old buildings.
A little while ago we were invited to stay over at Weberburg, which lies just outside Stellenbosch towards Somerset West, sharing a valley with Guardian Peak, Hidden Valley and Overture restaurant, and Ernie Els, as well as the Root44 market. I have visited them before for wine tastings and of course for the annual Kamers vol Geskenke showcase, but this would be the first time that we stayed over at the estate.
We were put up in the manor house and by some strike of luck and out-of-season timing we were the only people in that luxurious old building. Part of me was a little nervous – I can only imagine that a house with that much history under its gable has quite a few ghosts lurking about – but mostly I was excited to pretend for one night that we actually lived there. Okay I couldn’t exactly make myself a toasted cheese sandwich in the kitchen, but I could wander around the house in socks and cosy up on the living room couches with a book and a glass of wine.
Webersburg has retained that old-world charm in their rooms and we had all the little luxuries we needed to stay comfortably. Our four poster bed was soft with a thick down duvet and the heavy wooden wardrobe had plenty of space to unpack, as well as two fluffy white robes with slippers. The spacious bathroom had a deep bathtub – an ideal spot to unwind on a winter night, and the shower was large with good water pressure for a quick clean-up the next morning.
That evening we were taken around the farm for a quick peek at some of the other accommodation options available and they really have options to suit most travelers. You can rent self-catering cottages that are perhaps humbler but still very comfortable and a brilliant option if you intend on staying a few nights. The manor house we stayed in has five rooms varying in size but all luxurious, and they also have the Owners Cottage and the Jonkershuis, both of which are a nice to rent as a unit for families or for a bridal party staying over on the farm before the wedding day.
While we had some sunlight left we made our way to the wine tasting room just across the manicured lawns, which has a deck overlooking their dam and the mountains beyond. They are a boutique wine farm with a small selection, but we were thoroughly impressed by everything we tasted that afternoon. Their charming tasting room representative spoke eloquently about each vintage that he poured for us, with ample knowledge about the slopes, soil and conditions in the valley.
From what I tasted I was most impressed by the crisp, clean Sauvignon Blanc and their flagship Cabernet Sauvignon – a big red that boasts all those classic Stellenbosch valley hits on the nose and palette. Winemaker and viticulturist Matthew Van Heerden has quite a few glimmering notches on his belt including an award for Best Chardonnay in the World at the International Wine and Spirits Competition held in London. He has also been nominated as one of the top 10 winemakers in the world. Impressive. However even without knowing all this about him I was thoroughly charmed by the wines in my glass and can definitely recommend a tasting.
Webersburg’s Bistro only serves lunch so for dinner that evening we decided to venture up the valley to Overture restaurant, the famous baby of Bertus Basson and definitely a spot worth visiting. Bassion plays with feelings of nostalgia across all the courses in his tasting menu, from a lunch box starter that will recall biltong Melrose cheese on crackers, to a marshmallow dessert that made me think of smores by the camp fire. I only urge you to go hungry, the dishes are rich and generous.
The next morning we took it easy, grabbing breakfast on the deck adjoining the tasting room. While the full English breakfast was a delicious choice I think you can skip the Benedict – unfortunately the sauce I had was more melted butter than Hollandaise. That was about the only hick-up I experienced during our stay though. Other than the warm breakfast they also serve a selection of fruits, cheeses and pastries, and I am happy to report that the coffee was decent.
Before heading home we took another leisurely stroll around the estate, around the tennis courts and back to the dam, and I was once again taken by the incredible beauty of this wine region. If you are looking for accommodation with a rustic charm and warm hospitality, I give Webersburg a thumbs up.
If you are planning a stay at Webersburg you absolutely have to try a few offerings in the surrounding area. I decided to put together a list of the things I can vouch for.
Things to do when staying at Webersburg:
Go for a Park Run
The Park Run in Stellenbosch takes place at 08:00 on a Saturday at the Root44 market just down the road from Webersburg. It is one of the most beautiful ones I have run, with incredible views of the mountains and vineyards from the top of the hill. It is free to run, you simply need to register at parkrun.com
Visit the Root44 market
Open on Saturdays and Sundays. Here you’ll find plenty of food stalls, gourmet producers and even a couple of clothing stands, and the vibe over the weekend is wonderful. I strongly recommend a beer and some nachos.
Eat lunch at Overture
Like I said earlier Overture by Bertus Basson is definitely a must while you are in the area. It is worth going for an afternoon visit to really appreciate the incredible view from Hidden Valley winery right at the top of the valley. Be sure to make a booking.
Pick strawberries at Mooiberge
During strawberry season from October to December you can pop in at Mooiberge to pick your own selection of juicy strawberries. They are open daily during the December holidays or otherwise on a Saturday and Sunday. I recommend you go as early as possible and take a hat, the sun in Stellenbosch can be brutal that time of the year.
Head up the valley for a wine tasting
Webersburg lies at the entrance of a wonderful collection of farms including Ernie Els and Guardian Peak. Both these farms are worth visiting just to experience the views.
Drink craft beer at Thirsty Scarecrow
This restaurant adjacent to the Mooiberge farm stall is a great spot for a craft beer and some pub grub. It is also a popular hangout among students and young people in the area and provides a nice breather from the more uptown establishments on the wine estates.
If you have any other activities to recommend, please pop them in the comments section below.
For more info on Webersburg, click here