A Winelands getaway in Wellington not to be missed
AS I write this, the City of Cape Town is on the verge of a catastrophic disaster. You’d have to be living under a rock not to know I’m referring to the water crisis and the looming Day Zero, and it’s not hyperbole.
While it’s not a good idea to bury our heads in the sand, which is almost all that remains of the Theewaterskloof Dam, there is some respite in the beautiful town of Wellington - specifically at Andreas Wines Luxury Accommodation.
When we arrived, manager Henry de Koker showed us around, pointing out how the elegantly furnished ground floor has retained many of its original features, but there would be a surprise on the upper level.
He was not wrong. Upstairs, under pitched ceilings, are four luxurious en-suite rooms leading off a lounge which runs the width of the house.
The decor is in cool shades of white, grey and eggshell blue, creature comforts like real filter coffee abound. The cleverly designed bathrooms tucked away behind the beds have deep tubs and walk-in showers.
This is where we come to the exciting water part: Andreas has several natural sources of water and is off the municipal grid.
This means parched Capetonians can indulge in what is fast becoming mythical experiences - a shower longer than 90 seconds, or even a bath.
De Koker is a charming and gracious host, bringing a personal touch to your stay at Andreas.
He served us tea and coffee on the back stoep overlooking the vineyards, and took our breakfast order for which he returned in the morning to prepare himself.
Overnight we were left to our own devices with the run of the house but under the protection of night porter Samual, who, when he learnt I would be writing about this, presented me with a sweet handwritten note saying “I love to work at Andreas Wines of South Africa.”
The next evening, we dined at Seasons restaurant at Diemersfontien, a farm renowned for its Pinotage.
The sun was setting and we took advantage of the last rays of the golden hour to take photographs of ourselves in the sculpture garden, and then dodged some gangster geese who had strong opinions about letting us pass.
It’s not for nothing these birds can provide better security than a watchdog.
The next morning, we were back on the farm for a lovely leisurely horseback ride through the vineyards before it got too hot.
Our guide was Katrin Steytler from Fynbos Trails, which conducts various tours, trails and walks.
After returning for a refreshing shower at Andreas, we hurtled off to our next destination: Dunstone, which makes wine, has accommodation and a recently-revamped bistro called The Stone Kitchen which was where we lunched.
The food is good, hearty bistro fare - as it should be - and the wine ranges across budgets, available by the glass, bottle, or in a tasting.
Our final stop was Doolhof Wine Estate where we had an interesting tasting, presented in a spiral to represent its Afrikaans meaning of the word - “maze” or “labyrinth” - and relates to the topography of the valley.
Doolhof’s wines have won many awards; there is a Pinotage with so many gold and silver stickers it looks like a Christmas tree.
However, I recommend the Malbec Blanc De Noir, a new one for me and a lovely summer wine.
Our overall impression of Wellington was one of warm and welcoming hospitality from everyone we encountered, all of whom went to great lengths to make our visit as pleasurable as possible.
Wellington is about an hour’s drive from Cape Town.
Travel tip: there is a speed trap on the road after you turn off the R44. I know this because I got caught so you don’t have to.