Grande Provence in winter is a warm welcome
It is not easy venturing into the Franschhoek winelands in the heart of winter, but it is rewarding.
The closer we got to the Huguenot-founded village - with Cape Town tucked away in the rear view mirror - it was hard to ignore the blanket of snow on the mountain.
Truth be told, it was even chillier than I thought it would be and I had put on a brave face when leaving the Mother City. The final destination was going to be worth it, an overnight stay at The Owner’s Cottage at Grande Provence.
I’ve been to the heritage wine estate on a few occasions, had lunch and promptly departed without even knowing that they had cottages there.
I was slightly surprised to discover that The Owners Cottage was a little higgledy-piggledy building to the side of the main restaurant and gallery and that it was quite popular with local and international guests.
The famous faces on the side table at the entrance is quite the welcome, but once you make peace with the fact that if it’s good enough for the British royal family and Jude Law — it’s good enough for me.
There are five suites at the cottage and each one is delightfully named after a wine.
There’s the Merlot, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Room and the Honeymoon Suite called the Angel Room (named after Angel Tears, a Grande Provence wine).
The rooms are modern but with its roots firmly in its heritage. The two rooms on the second floor are my favourite - they are have the distinct aroma of the thatched roof which might be a negative for some guests but I found it charming and relaxing.
Sadly I took a whiff and was scuppered along the tour of the cottage and to my room. The feeling of banishment didn’t last long. The Shiraz Room was the perfect winter retreat, with all the mod cons you could ask for, including wifi.
It’s the small things you need in your winter getaway that counts - like having underfloor heating, it makes the stay more pleasant.
There is entertainment and technology for those who don’t want to unplug. So your TV and DVD and computer use is at your fingertips.
Personally, I wasn’t interested in the small screen and was anxious to get to the newly opened Bistro and do a wine tasting.
Recognised as having one of the best galleries in the Western Cape you can easily get lost in the art, sculptures and pottery at the estate.
It’s the perfect way to stroll around the estate - which is more than 320 years old - and has quite a few hidden treasures.
Hidden in plain sight is The Jonkershuis, an extension of Grande Provence but if you’re wandering around sipping your Angel Tears vintage you could easily overlook it.
It’s now used for small functions of up to 30 people and is an intimate space that once again paints an architectural picture of the heritage of Grande Provence.
The wine bottle chandelier will take your breath away as will all the small but detailed decor elements in the space.
If only the high exposed, timber ceiling could talk - I’m sure it would tell quite an interesting story.