Things have happened- at pace- since I visited Val du Charron, with its stunning views over the Bovlei Valley and toward Bainskloof Pass, four years ago.
The Coach House is the five-star addition to their four-star rooms and the pace I referred to means yet-to-be-built additions are already booked. Other changes include Piza e Vino restaurant, a wine sales annex and the superb Grill at Home, nirvana for carnivores.
Val Du Charron has plenty of well thought out, elegant touches, including auto-on lights in the loos and in the passage I shared with a Cape Town couple who had no idea Wellington had such an offering. They were wowed by the setting, the ambience and everything else on offer. Others know- and the estate has become a destination for overnight and day visitors. It was fully booked on a winter weekend and couples, groups and families came to sample the wine, the food and to explore the area. There’s a spa too if you’re done exploring.
Outdoorsy folk may be familiar with Val Du Charron as it is the final stop on the popular Wellington Wine Walk, with 70 percent of participants from KZN. Gautengers are in too much of a rush it seems. Capetonians? Well, they’re catching on.
Staff, from front of house Miles, to Zinzi and ever effervescent Chrisma, provide more than some of the vibe.
Owners Stuart and Catherine Entwistle are KwaZulu-Natal exports, as is the fine Terbodore coffee I enjoyed in my gorgeous Coach House suite, with open doors framing my pool, the vineyards and Hawequa Mountains. Their estate wines (everything done on and by the estate) have been in-demand exports too and they are only now filling South African shelves.
Winemaking is a serious, competitive business and tasting usually a formal affair. Here I was soon the blushing butt of a theatrical joke- though the cleavage wasn’t half bad and belonged to the Black Countess, who regales visitors with stories from the Valley of the Wagonmakers, from whence early explorers set off into the hinterland. What a fun way to learn about the wines and the area!
Red or white, Val Du Charron wines are characteristically smooth. The Pinot Gris is a fine summer sipper and I’m keeping a Chardonnay for a special occasion. In the Reserve range there is no doubt that the Shiraz is the classiest, but the Malbec is my pick (Stuart’s too).
The food is commensurate. I have not had better meat than in the chic Grill. Choose from grain or grass fed organic cuts of varying sorts and ages.
My Pavement Special pizza at Piza e Vino was mighty good too, as was the blue cheese focaccia. On the sprawling terrace, or near the fireplace, the atmosphere was delightful. Guests free ranged on the lawns or dared the icy spray of the splash pad, admired the angels lining the walkways, horsed around with the metal steed on the lawn, or with the elephant built from scrap- its geocache a hit with cyber treasure hunters.
Hitch your wagon!
Call 021 8731256 or visit www.vdcwines .com