‘Tis with a puffing chest of pride, I drive into this Grand Estate. More or less began with the three De Villiers’ brothers, Huguenots who acquired the farm in 1715 and kept it in the family for close to a hundred years. They are the first of the wine makers.
Right on the top of the pile we are.
Reigns were passed to the much, today, maligned Cecil Rhodes, who developed the wine farm. In the 1880’s and 1890’s, a global epidemic. phylloxera, decimated vine stocks throughout the region, until a strong root stock from America was introduced. During this time, Rhodes incorporated the growing of fruit trees, as the export of fruit to Europe became a successful option. Today, via Rhodes, the Estate is owned and managed by Anglo American.
Almost all of the wine farms here in the Western Cape, exude a sense of grandeur. Class and elegance, and Boschendal is perhaps, the grandmother of these. She is stunning, an oasis of green and Oaks as old as the hills. Huggable Oaks in landscaped, dreamy designs. Imposing. Walls speaks of oxen and yoke, of toil and seasonal change, agriculture and deliverance. Hardship and ecstasy. Home to stories of workers and lords. The original house, built by my ancestors, stands still, now the museum.
I wonder and the births and deaths here. My linage spewed forth to the rest of the country. ‘En ek sê Dankie Vader, vir dié mense.’
Other than marvel at the Vegetable gardens reminiscent of Versailles, there is plenty to do at Boschendal. Wine tasting of course, uppermost. Areas have been set aside for picnics, Le Pique Nique, the cafe,where we found ourselves for about three hours, languishing beneath the dappled sunlight and sipping at the Blanc de Noir over a plate of Charcuterie. My heart was pinned to the Werf restaurant – unusual, electric, impressive and true to the Dutch style with a contemporary twist. On the list. Chatting away to the staff and taking secret photographs of everything, for everything was a style icon. Like these bones stuffed with salt. Totally!
Interior design Nirvana. Walls, floors, tables, view, even the menu offering was chic. If not to eat, to devour with the eyes. An evening dinner will be just reward for the beautiful.
Reluctant to leave this beautiful space.
Reluctant to leave this piece of heaven. Seriously, shire horses clopping by as slowly as a clock, roosters and chickens scratching for worms. Nature showing off, and enough of that home made bread!
The people who live and work there are fortunate indeed. They are helpful, informative and friendly. They breath life into space and continue the proud tradition of Boschendal.
I need to a wine farm. I need to own a wine farm. I need to track the roots of Huguenots who came, saw and made beautiful.