With South Africa having so many wineries, the need to be different and enticing plays heavily on the minds of winery owners and marketers.
I first visited Vergenoegd over 3 years ago and there was an air of neglect that had clothed the winery. Fast forward to now, and Vergenoegd, which has a history dating back to 1696, has now changed ownership and the mother of all transformations has occurred.
Life has been injected into the old Dutch buildings and new activities have been thought up and launched to inspire new visitors to come and visit. It’s an amazing alteration and I thoroughly applaud their creativity.
So, what exactly has changed and why should you bother going to check it out?
Keep reading to find out what I discovered on my #visitvergenoegd trip
These amazing birds has been helping Vergenoegd for years and even feature on their wine labels. Their usefulness lies in their ability to clean the vineyards in a environmentally friendly and gentle manner. In short, they eat all the bugs, slugs, snails and other nasties that one would otherwise have to use chemicals on.
There are between 700-800 ducks at the farm and you can watch their lovely parade at either 9:45am or 3:30pm and I know that kids will love it.
I’ll openly admit that I haven’t drunk their wine before, there has never seemed to be much emphasis on it in the media. Winemaker Marlize Jacobs now has the freedom to work with different grapes and create a wine portfolio that will really change many people’s minds.
As for the blending, it’s only with red wine at the moment but it’s a great idea for couples and friends and I can see many a competition being entered into. It’s also lovely to be able to take your blend home with you in a specially labeled bottle.
Olive Oil Blending
Who doesn’t love olive oil; they say that the Mediterranean diet helps you live longer so we should all be chugging the olive oil.
The three oils available range from mild to a delicious peppery intensity and I just love the glasses that they have used to display the oils.
Tea & Coffee Blending
Tannins aren’t only in wine and if you don’t want the alcohol then this blending is perfect for you.
I would love to see more tea varieties available such as more fruit options but how great would it be to offer your own coffee/tea blend as a wedding favour.
Personalised Tea Blending Experience: 40-60 minutes | EXPERIENCE: R95 pp |PERSONALLY BLENDED TEA: R100 for 150g
Personalised Coffee Blending Experience: 40-60 minutes | EXPERIENCE: R95 pp | PERSONALLY BLENDED COFFEE: R100 for 250g
The blendings are excellent ideas because they open the winery to a new demographic (they make perfect group activities as well as party/team building events) and whilst they have utilized the Manor House rooms perfectly, It will be interesting to see how the blendings will change when they move into a newly designed space.
Picnics & food
Chef Ryan Shell used to be at Haute Cabriere but his fit is definitely at the new & improved Vergenoegd where he can have a more casual, natural approach to food. They are aiming for a 50-seater restaurant in the Manor House but the longer-term plan is for a larger place outside of the Manor.
In the meantime, they offer picnics which have 3 layers (yes, you read that correctly) and it’s all wholesome and delicious. Whilst the food is yummy, the crockery and packaging is well thought out too.
THE RUNNING DUCK – R450 | (full house basket of bliss including a bottle of wine) | A selection of seasonal produce that may include locally sourced cheese, nuts and meats. Your choice of Runner Duck Red or White in your basket. Picnic for 2 including Runner Duck Wine 750ml and complimentary water 750ml.
THE DRIVING DUCK – R395 | (A full basket for the conscious driver including no wine) | A selection of seasonal produce that may include locally sourced cheese, nuts and meats. Includes complimentary spring water, we suggest you try Ryan’s daily blend of Ice tea. Picnic for 2 including complimentary water 750ml.
| The Vergenoegd Harvest Experience happens every Thursday, Friday and Saturday lunchtime during February and March. Expect three courses of farm-fresh food including salads, veggies and herbs from our garden, served with Vergenoegd wines, our Manor House iced tea blend, water and coffee at a mere R350 per person. The lunch is served between 12:00 and 15:00 and is limited to 20 places per day so booking is essential
The food is homely, fresh and brimming with flavour – there’s an air of nostalgia to it with no fuss or pretense…which is exactly how I like to eat.
For more information and to book your visit, check out their website