CREATION WINES in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley has long been a favourite destination for its exceptional wines and innovative and creative food pairings. Now, with the recent completion of the self-catering “Voormanshuis” you can enjoy the serenity of spending a night there in the vineyards.
The architecture is modern, encasing the whole structure in thin wooden strips. This gives it a deceptive outside appearance; inside it’s light and airy with surprisingly unhindered views of the surroundings. The vertical line motif is carried throughout the interior – for example on the bathroom mirror in the form of lights, the zebra pouffe, and on the bed linen and towels. Incidentally, this is one of the rare occasions I’ve encountered manchester that is not exclusively pristine white and it was a refreshing change, giving the place a homelier feel – especially for someone like me who is not yet adult enough to have her own white sheets.
While three quarters of the house is clad thus, the front is virtually all glass, with a massive window and sliding doors which open up to the deck. This in turn is spacious, looking over the dip in the road and the tasting room in the distance, and across the vineyards to the back. At the corner is a sculpture entitled “Stairway To Heaven”. During the course of the weekend I spent there, I slowly grew to love it and appreciate it. On the second evening, the fog rolled in from the ocean – part of the cool climate conditions which ensure this to be the prime Pinot Noir region in the country – on the wings of a soft breeze. This hummed and whistled gently through the sculpture in symphony with the raucous chorus of frogs and crickets, and I wondered if this was the artist’s intention, or a happy coincidence. Since I was the first guest to stay the night, perhaps no one else knows. Until now.
Voormanshuis comprises one large open plan room with lounge area, bed, kitchenette, and dining table. There is a large adjoining bathroom with tub and shower, and vanity. I’d not normally share such intimate details but I feel I have to remark on the pleasure of taking a shower while looking out at the grapevines and the setting sun. It’s quite the experience.
The décor is an eclectic combination from ‘70s mod to Gauteng kugel safari to pseudo Voortrekker. It sounds crazy, but it all works so well together, and remains clean and uncluttered. There is a stovepipe fireplace for the cool winter evenings, and a thoughtfully placed pair of binoculars for you to view the abundance of birdlife.
The kitchenette has a normal fridge, a wine fridge, and a two-plate gas cooker. The cupboards are filled with all the plates and glasses you’ll ever need, and the drawers contain the essential cutlery and other bits and bobs like candles and cloths.
During your stay, you have a few meal options, all of them good. There’s a built-in braai on the deck, of which I made excellent use over the two days. The lovely kitchen at Creation supplied braai packs and salads, as well as a few other goodies, and included was a selection of their wines; which one to open constituted the biggest decision-making process of the day.
You can walk on over to the tasting room for one of the several amazing food pairings which range from a lengthy brunch – allow at least two hours for that – to smaller combinations. The narrow gravel road between the two can be driven, and has the advantage that from the house you’ll always be able to spot anyone coming. If you’ve got a fancy car with low suspension, you might want to check it out first and see if you’d prefer to be transported there in a vehicle better suited to a farm.
Another dining option is at any of the restaurant in nearby Hermanus, or others along the Hemel-en-Aarde road.
The house is designed with one or two guests in mind, and will no doubt become a popular secluded place for lovers and honeymooners. There is no television and no phone; you will have wifi though, and a useful list of numbers should an emergency arise. Bear in mind that after dark, you will be the only one(s) on the farm. Even so, at no time did I feel unsafe, and thoroughly enjoyed the privacy and isolation.
Creation Wines, R320, Hemel-en-Aarde
Telephone: 028 212 1107
PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN
- This story first appeared in Independent Travel on April 6, 2019