December 21, 2003
On his retirement in 1700, Governor Simon van der Stel and his son inherited Vergelegen (meaning "distant") and set to transforming the uncultivated grounds into the pretty gardens you see and wander round today. Thereafter, the property was passed through the generations until 1798 when the Theunissen family owned it and developed the vineyards. Subsequently, Anglo American Farms purchased it in 1987 and planted vines on the slopes and plateau round the winery, and soft citrus on the warmer slopes to the north, as well as plum and pear trees.
There’s a pretty little rose garden and terrace, picnic site (you have to buy their picnics, which are not cheap, but the menus sounded nice), herb and vegetable gardens. There's also a fine library building which was built by the Theunissen family in 1816 and contains a vast book collection. The winery itself is an octagonal building – only a single level is visible from the ground but there are 3 altogether with gently sloping floors which permit gravity flow in the treatment of the wine.
Vergelegen now includes a Heritage Area and you can take guided tours of the wine cellar (extra charge). There’s also a restaurant (the genteel Lady Phillips restaurant) and tea rooms (which get busy on Sundays when lots of locals pop in).
Entry – 9.30-4pm. Adult R10; plus R2-10 per tasting depending on the wine; cellar tour R15. Tel : (021) 847 1346 (winery tours 847 1337/Lady Phillips restaurant 847 1346)
From journal Cape Town Pt 2 - In and around the Cape