The 320-year-old Vergelegen Wine Estate in Somerset West will have lots on offer for visitors this summer – and the team have thought very carefully about their offerings. They’ve reviewed the restaurant and picnic menus, established a vegetable and herb garden, the gates open earlier and close later, and all age groups and most budgets are well catered for.
Says Vergelegen MD Wayne Coetzer: “Vergelegen has a long-established reputation as a showcase of South Africa’s top wine, cuisine, culture, history and horticulture. We’ve worked hard to maintain and even exceed those high standards, while also ensuring that the estate appeals to visitors who enjoy a more relaxed ambience and lighter meals. It’s more accessible.
“We want more South Africans to put this special Somerset West spot high on their must-visit lists. Of course, all pandemic protocols are strictly adhered to, and the extensive gardens and walkways will suit families eager to destress and relax in the fresh air over the holidays.”
Camphors, the signature restaurant on the banks of the Lourens River, now offers the Camphors Veranda. Tables are set out on the lawns to ensure social distancing with style, with plumped-up cushions on the chairs, and on the lawn. A plush upholstered swing, bedecked with flowers, provides an Instagram-worthy setting for guests to remember their visits. Children are now welcome, with suitable menu options. The Camphors menu offers larger portions and less “fussy” food. In addition, chefs’ family favourites are shared in daily specials.
The ever-popular summer picnics in the extensive camphor tree forest have been re-launched under this year’s theme of “chic nostalgia’. Updated furniture and a refreshed, contemporary menu complement the exquisite outdoor setting. Regular, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and children’s picnics are available for pre-ordering.
The team have new, lighter uniforms with white shirts, beige chinos, floral blouses and cream-and-green striped aprons to suit the outdoor feel.
Stables, the ever-popular family-friendly restaurant, has always been renowned for its great garden setting and mountain views. Freshly-planted pots of bright flowers now complement existing plantings and water features. Pride of place goes to a chic new outdoor Champagne trolley where staff serve the estate’s MMV Brut and oysters, and a daily cocktail.
The Stables summer menu has also been refreshed, and a consultant French pastry chef has updated the dessert menu. Stables chef Roger Hindley is a specialist in meat smoking and is the man behind the delicious charcuterie that picnic guests have enjoyed for the past five years. The team have decided to make this item more widely available with a cured meat platter of coppa, prosciutto and bresaola at the Wine Tasting Centre.
The Vergelegen team have been, like all other tourism-reliant businesses, challenged by the lack of international tourists as well as a depressed economy. However, Vergelegen staff morale is strong and team spirit high. “Our Jerusalema video here generated 70 000 views and we’ve doubled our Instagram following from 8000 to 16000 followers.
“We’ve also designed a new website and online wine shop, and extended our opening hours to cater for both early risers eager to start the day with a Stables breakfast, or those who want to enjoy a relaxing sundowner.
“We’ve done our best to ensure that anyone who has not yet explored this magnificent property, will want to do so. Visitors are assured of a wonderful day out, with their health and safety always top of mind.”