Sunday/ Vergelegen wine estate

Sunday was another beautiful blue-sky day here in the Western Cape.  My brothers and I went to lunch with our cousin at the wine estate of Vergelegen (Dutch for ‘far away’).  A little bit of history : in 1700, Dutchman and Cape colony Governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel was granted the property of Vergelegen.  He set out to build a main house and others in a style under the Renaissance influence of wealthy estates and palaces in Europe at the time.  However, his lavish spending on the property and other actions trying to establish a monopoly in the trade of wine and meat for himself caused a revolt under the free ‘burghers’ (independent farmers), and led to his recall and return to the Netherlands in 1707.  The estate was sold several times after that, most recently to the mining company Anglo-American in 1987.  At that time wine was no longer produced, but within ten years the estate was recognized as producing some of South Africa’s finest wines.

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This is the ‘library’. It used to be a wine cellar, but is now lined with book cases and books, and there is a very old pool table inside on the lower level.


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Vergelegen (‘far away’) wine estate is marked ‘A’ on the map. It is on the outskirts of Somerset West, a short drive from Cape Town and Stellenbosch.
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This is a scene of the surrounding landscape depicted in an old painting from inside one of the buildings (I did not note the artist). It still looks like this to this day.
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This is the herb garden with its neatly-trimmed hedges in the foreground. The ‘Stables’ restaurant building where we had lunch is on the left and the reception/ wine tasting building on the right.
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The 2012 Sauvignon Blanc was a little ‘young’ but crisp and citrussy. They had none left of earlier vintages!
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Here is the main house, viewed from within the large octagonal walled garden in front of it.
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Some – not all – of the lunch party. That’s me on the left, two of my brothers to the right of me, and my cousin and her husband.
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These camphor trees are from China and Japan and were planted between 1700 and 1706 on the Vergelegen estate. They were declared National Monuments in 1942.
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The window frames, clapboards and outdoor furniture pieces are well-maintained and in great shape.


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