If you are ready to soak up summer and a somewhat old-school Cape Winelands experience, then Wellington, a ‘dorpie’ at the foot of the Groenberg Mountain, just about an hour from the big city, is just the place for you!
Our vineyard village is truly at the heart of SA’s wine industry, not just geographically, but also because most of the country’s rootstock material for vines comes from the local farms. You will be pleasantly surprised to find more things to see, taste, smell and experience than you could actually fit into 24 hours, and best of all, Wellington still has that undiscovered, undisturbed charm forever gone from its commercially popular Winelands counterparts,
A good starting point to familiarise yourself with the town, would be the Wellington Heritage Trails’ free downloadable Voicemap audio tour. This self-guided heritage tour will give you a glimpse into the colourful history of the town featuring wagon makers, wine pioneers and female educators, who all played an integral role in the town’s history. Visitors are encouraged to download the Voicemap mobile app where an experienced virtual tour guide provides entertaining commentary on the historic attractions and cultural diversity that makes the town and its people come to life. The voice guide is available free of charge in Afrikaans, English and German.
The Wellington Wine Route is one of the country’s youngest wine districts and boasts one major producer-cellar, family-owned wine estates and a sprinkling of boutique wineries and spirits producers.
Visit the Bovlei cellar tasting venue of Wellington Wines and indulge in an interesting pairing such as their Duke & Doughnut tasting, which features four different varietals from their Duke of Wellington range with a selection of delectable doughnuts. There is a special childrens’ tasting and play area to keep younger visitors occupied.
Diemersfontein Wine Estate is great for families and pets. They offer an excellent n range of wines, superb cuisine in their PROE restaurant and informal picnics on the shaded lawns surrounded by impressive wooden sculptures. Their tasting sessions include three red wines and their pot still brandy.
Val du Charron Wine and Leisure Estate will entice the senses with spectacular views of the surrounding mountain ranges – especially at sunset, as well as wine, luxury accommodation and a choice between two restaurants.
Dunstone present a complete Winelands experience with informal tasting sessions of the award-winning wines in the original wine cellar, country cuisine in their popular bistro and various accommodation options.
Bosman Family Vineyards boasts a proud heritage spanning eight generations with a strong environmental and conservation background. Visit their 260-year-old cellar with its farm museum and barrel cellar and discover the legend behind the Afrikaans saying “stokkiesdraai,” which means playing hooky.
Experience true Boland hospitality at Imbuko and enjoy their famous tasting of gourmet pies paired with four wines from the Van Zijl range. The extensive wine list, delicious snacks, stunning views and child-friendly ambience ensures a fabulous visit. The home-made Cabernet and Pinotage grape jams are also worth a taste.
A visit to Wellington would not complete without experience the exceptional dining offering at the Oude Wellington. This quirky restaurant is located inside a Cape Dutch style barn dating back to 1795 at the base of the Bainskloof Pass. It offers the perfect setting for a cosy lunch featuring Dutch and Indonesian inspired dishes. Seating is available in the shade of the enormous oak trees or inside the distilling cellar with big barrels. The working brandy distillery produces pot still brandy and grappa every year.
Several destinations in Wellington also offer exciting outdoor activities. Running through Doolhof Estate is the picturesque Kromme River that sets a wonderfully tranquil scene. While the farm has an elegant Tasting Room where you can sample its award-winning wines, outside is where the magic happens. From river walks (pooches are welcome), mountain-biking trails for adults and children, and secluded picnics, dinner and breakfast baskets to a labyrinth and Africamps glamping complete with your very own private hot tub, it’s easy to get lost in the maze of activities.
Mountain-bike enthusiasts should add the MTB Wild Boar Trails centre at Val du Charron to their list if keen to explore an entire network of trails for riders and trail runners.
Welvanpas is tucked into the slopes of the Bainskloof pass, the Hawekwa and Groenberg mountains. The farm dates back to 1704 and is a mecca for mountain-bikers and hikers. They currently offer two MTB tracks and a 7,5km walking trail, which takes hikers along the Kromme river to a beautiful waterfall and a lookout point at the top with amazing views over Wellington.
Just outside of town is the magnificent Langkloof rose farm. Meander through the impressive rose garden with more that 14 000 rose bushes or enjoy a special tea tasting with a selection of imported teas.
If wine is not really your thing opt for a gin tasting on the porch of the historic 1812 Cape Dutch manor house on Versailles Farm, which has been the home of the Jorgensen’s Distillery since 1994. The distillery adopted an 1860’s copper pot still, later nicknamed Ugly Betty, which was used by pioneer and master distiller Rodger Jorgensen to masterfully formulate recipes harnessing indigenous flavours. The current master distiller (which is also the owner), Quinn Roos adds his own distinctive and unique style to the current Jorgensen’s Distillery line-up with his Wild Rose craft range.
The James Sedgwick Distillery opened to the public in 2016. They are inviting the outside world to come by and grab a little sneak peek into what goes on in Africa’s first commercial distillery. They produce Three Ships and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, both of which are available for purchase at the end of the tour. They run a three-hour whisky tour which ends with a tasting of five of their delicious distilled goods paired with some locally produced food items.