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val du Charron

J and I spent the night at Val du Charron Wine Estate recently. We stayed in a comfy 4 star room in their guest house.  The staff are so friendly and welcoming. On arrival we were offered a tasting of their wines. The Four Legs white blend is a lovely drinking wine with complex flavours. Their French style Pinot Gris stood out for us, creamy, buttery with hints of oak. We enjoyed this on our private veranda with Chef Karin’s very generous ploughman’s platter. We couldn’t get enough of this wine. And their “Black Countess” red blend is a sexy wine, so full of flavour but smooth on the palate.  Since it was a media visit, the owners, Stuart and Catherine Entwistle, invited the 2 of us over for sundowners and dinner at their private home on the estate. We were warmly welcomed with hugs and more wine. There we met their daugher, “Ursh”, and son, Shaun, who are a delight.  We just fell in love with their great danes particularly, Caesar, who believes he is a small puppy.  It was such a beautiful evening as we sat next to a crackling fire watching the sunset while chatting about the history of Wellington and this historic estate founded in 1699. They are only the 6th family to own this estate in over 4 centuries! How amazing!?

Entwistle family
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great dane

DinnerA little bit about Wellington and the history behind this town:
Halfway between the bright lights of Cape Town and the statuesque mountains of the Western Cape, lays the hidden valley of Wellington, full of surprises and variety, heart and soul. Wellington is home to the biggest vine nursery in the Southern hemisphere so regardless of where our guest chose to drink their wine; chances are it was born in Wellington! So where better to base oneself in the winelands – only 25 minutes from Stellenbosch and Franschoek and 10 minutes from Paarl.  With its spectacular scenery, our guests may chose simply to sit back and enjoy our local internationally acclaimed wines and soak up the history and culture of this original wine growing area. The Berg River flows along the western border of Wellington with two smaller streams, the Spruit and Kromme, and the mighty Hawequas stand guard on the eastern side. The Bainskloof Pass, built by the famous Scot, Andrew Geddes Bain was (before Du Toitskloof Pass) the only gateway to the north.  More French settled here than anywhere else in the Cape and the Wellington valley was initially called Val du Charron – valley of the wagon-makers, the last outpost before travellers, pioneers  and adventurers attempted the arduous journey into the hinterland with their oxen and their wagons.

There were two attempts to name Wellington but it was only when Sir George Napier suggested that the town should be named after ’England’s greatest soldier’ that in 1852 the town of Wellington was proclaimed after the Duke who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo – somewhat ironic considering the town’s forebears.

Apart from the rich history it also provides you with a scenic route, less travelled. Wellington has recently been declared a wine route in its own right and provides a new range of experiences so different from Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. What better way to connect to the Route 62 than to go via the spectacular Bains Kloof, connecting Wellington with Tulbagh and Ceres or with Robertson.

Val du Charron Wine & Olive Estate, Guesthouse and Spa:
Located on a working farm in the heart of the Bovlei valley, ten minutes from the town of Wellington and under an hour’s drive from Cape Town.

The farm is 42 hectares in size and consists of 21 hectares of vineyards, 4½ hectares of olives and a 400t cellar. The cellar produces hand crafted premium red and white wines for export. Val du Charron combines the rich traditions and natural beauty of the area with modern day comforts and technology to produce not only superb wines but an experience for guests to remember.

Guests can unwind at the Spa and retire after a delicious dinner to our four star Guesthouse or five star Coach House. The five star coach house will open at the end of the year.

The Guesthouse  ****
The Guesthouse comprises eight luxurious suites each with stunning views of the vineyards/garden and the Hawekwa Mountains. This four star accommodation is made up of a large family room, 4 double rooms and 3 twin rooms on a bed and breakfast basis with the option of dinner available. Guests can enjoy a full farmer’s breakfast served in the dining area, which integrates with the wine/olive tasting facility and allows guests to access the working cellar during the day.
During Wellington’s hot summer months, take a splash in their swimming pool. An a la carte menu is available for lunches. During the winter months a large fireplace and couches provide ambiance for board games or reading from the extensive library while sipping on a glass of Val du Charron’s premium wine.

The Coach House *****
The Coach house is a boutique winelands getaway for the discerning guest who values their privacy. Consisting of only three spacious suites each with its own plunge pool and private patio with built in fireplace, guests can unwind in their own space overlooking the majestic wine lands and mountains.  Each of the three queen size rooms is en suite with bathrooms containing spa baths and a shower for two.  Stunning design elements such as the natural stone flooring that flows from the pool through the rooms and the breath-taking stained glass window features integrate with the room’s modern comforts such as complimentary mini bar, free wifi and smart cable TV.

Activities in the area include: Horse-riding, hiking, golf and even a zip line near Bains Kloof.

This picturesque estate is not only a winelands retreat but is also available for conferences, functions and weddings. They also offer group bookings for their “Theatre of Wine” lunch. An actress portraying as the seductive “Black Countess” animately talks the guests through the wines and the scandalous stories behind them while they lunch on a South African themed 3 course meal.

More pics of our time spent of Val du Charron:

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View from the owner’s veranda

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Our new favourite white wine

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Chef Karin’s Ploughman’s platter including the estates young olives

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View from our room

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Plush room

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You’ll find interesting art pieces around the estate. Wine, sun and horsing around.

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J striking a pose 🙂

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Yip, that’s me drinking in the vineyards

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Beautiful stained glass window in the “old cellar” – “Tree of life”

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Having a private cellar tour

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A good fry up brekkers is just what you need after a night of drinking. You get a platter with fruit, cold meat and cheese plus toast and preserves, yoghurt and the works, the full english breakfast and bottomless coffee, tea and juice.

Our overall experience: 8.5/10
Rooms: 7.5/10
Venue: 8.5/10
Food: 6.5/10
Service: 7.5/10

Contact:
Catherine Entwistle
ce@vdcwines.com | www.vdcwines.com | 021 873 1256 | facebook.com/valducharronwines

More info about Wellington, visit www.wellington.co.za

Thank you to Catherine and Stuart for having us. It was a pleasure meeting you and it’s wonderful to see what a beautiful estate you have created over the years. I admire your passion for Wellington and the wines you have produced.

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