Oldenburg Homestead
Oldenburg Homestead

One of my favourite drives through the Cape Winelands involves the Helshoogte Road between Stellenbosch and Franschoek as you head up passed Delaire Graff and Tokara, and then gently wind your way down through the Hottentots-Holland Mountains into the Banghoek Conservancy. A recent discovery in the area is the Oldenburg boutique winery and Homestead. With most properties vying for attention with their latest fine-dining experiences and star-designer tasting rooms, it is refreshing to find some respite from it all at this elegant, unassuming property tucked away in the valley. There are no loud signs or entrance gates to attract your attention, instead a narrow country lane guides you off the R310, running parallel to the Banghoekrivier and historic Kylemore village.

I was extended the warmest welcome on arrival at the Homestead by endearing house manager and ‘butler’ Annine van Reenen, who immediately settled me in with a glass of their multi-award-winning Syrah. It’s opaque crimson colour is as enticing as its aromas of ripe plum and cherries. Needless to say, a second bottle of this Rhône-style wine followed promptly.

Although I settled in nicely with a few bottles of their award-winning Syrah, it was winemaker Philip Costandius’s wonderful Chenin Blanc (2015) that got my attention.

The Homestead was recently renovated and its well-appointed spaces are now open as an exclusive-use villa, which sleeps up to 12 people in six grand bedrooms. Part of the brief to the design team was to modernise the property to allow more light in, while retaining the original character of the owner’s home. A major focus and highlight for any aspiring chef or large family gathering is the fully equipped kitchen with its lofty double-volume and oversized sash windows framing views of the vineyards and mountains. My favourite room in the house. Although there are staff to do your shopping, half the fun of being in the area is sourcing your own gourmet ingredients and fresh bread from local delis like Schoon de Companje, farmer’s markets or Babylonstoren estate.

Oldenburg Homestead swimming pool
Oldenburg Homestead swimming pool

The best advice, though, is to settle in and just relax. Summer afternoons would be well-spent at the pool or on the huge front veranda overlooking lush lawns to the mountains, which change colour so spectacularly at sunset — especially after a glass or two of winemaker Philip Costandius’s wonderful Chenin Blanc (2015). For the more energetic, there are many walking trails and mountain bikers can take on the valley.

Oldenburg Homestead master bedroom
Oldenburg Homestead master bedroom

There are four en suite bedrooms downstairs, two of them in a separate wing that would be suitable for children. Upstairs, there is a master suite and a twin-bedded room with its own bathroom, which can be used as a nursery. Rooms are adorned with original art works and are equipped with all the mod-conns. Throughout the house you’ll find the owner’s eclectic collection of contemporary art, sculpture and photography. The interior is stylish with all the right design elements and key pieces. However, it’s possibly a little too formal and ‘curated’, hence missing some of the true ‘lived-in’, homestead-style comforts such as a large, down-filled couch to cuddle up on. At this level I’d also expect to find more than Charlotte Ryse in the magnificent en suites — then again I do travel with my own products. However, these are tiny details in the greater scheme of things and they certainly make up for it in generosity of spirit and space. When you wake up from the best night’s rest between luxurious bed linen, know that a delicious farm breakfast awaits you in the best room in the house.

Making this magnificent property your home for a few days means you also have entree to your ‘own’ wine cellar and Costandius who will introduce you to the wines and this special place with its unique geography and ‘rondekop’.


Details

The Homestead is available for exclusive-use rentals only, with rates starting at R14500 in low season (May to September) and R30000/night in season. The property sleeps up to 12 guests and the rates include a Continental breakfast daily, a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and the services of the housekeepers. Pre-arrival services include assistance with vehicle hire, restaurant reservations and day trips, and hiring of specialised sports equipment, such as mountain bikes or golf clubs. For more information visit oldenburgvineyards.com

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