THE Breede River Valley’s pioneering Weltevrede Wine Estate has taken a major step in its evolution following the extensive re-development of the farm’s visitor experiences. The visitor centre now provides deeper context of the farm’s place in history while highlighting a heritage of winemaking excellence.
The transformation incorporates a luxuriously appointed, double-volume reception hall; refreshed and expanded underground exhibition and wine tasting rooms; and an expansive, landscaped rose-and-vine garden. Weltevrede’s second tasting room (Cape Wine Crafters) portfolio is now open to the public and on its heels is a soon to be new restaurant, and non-alcoholic social beverage lounge.
New visitor tours give individual expression to the dual pillars on which Weltevrede’s reputation now rests: Chardonnay, which has thrived here thanks to a regional concentration of limestone soils, and Cap Classique.
The changes flow from a focused strategy that can only begin and end with wine. “My vision for the wines of Weltevrede is to be a pure expression of terroir in which it is rooted,” says Philip Jonker, fourth generation winemaker-proprietor. “Our wines should have personality dictated by the soil. It should have a sense of place.”
A glimpse of this special 100ha estate on the outskirts of Bonnievale was first offered to visitors in the 1970s by Philip’s father, Lourens, who had recently taken over from his father. While the Jonker Family has been farming since 1912, the first wines were made under the Weltevrede label in the 1940s, it was Lourens who first opened a tasting room on the farm. He was first in the region to do so, too.
Years later, when production switched to modern methods, old concrete wine tanks were re-purposed as a rustic, candlelit tasting room. The experience quickly became a hallmark reflecting Weltevrede’s special blend of poetic art and scientific rigor. More subtle but no less important changes that affirm Weltevrede’s core values have also been instituted. Among them, the addition to the label of every bottle of Weltevrede Chardonnay of the names of workers who helped make it a reality.
Architectural features such as the egg-shaped entrance to reception and subterranean rooms speak of varied themes related to care, fertility, and innovation. Old vines preserved since the days of Weltevrede’s founders have been replanted on pedestals alongside the rose garden to reflect heritage.
- Captivated by Chardonnay underground tours at R250pp are available Mondays to Saturdays at 10am. Reservations advised.
- Captivated by Cap Classique underground tours at R250pp are available Mondays to Saturdays at 2pm. Reservations advised.
- Create Cap Classique at R200 per bottle; a unique interactive experience where visitors can disgorge, dosage, cork, foil and label their own Cap Classique bottle. Available Mondays to Fridays from 8am-5pm and Saturdays from 9am to 3.30pm.