The Vergelegen wine estate in Somerset West is striving to prove that local is lekker this summer. The team has reviewed its restaurant and picnic menus, extended opening hours and ensured that most budgets are catered for.

Vergelegen MD Wayne Coetzer says, “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.”

“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.”

Here’s what you can find on offer:

Camphors, the estate’s signature restaurant on the banks of the Lourens River, now has the Camphors Veranda – an outdoor dining experience on the lawns and surrounded by greenery and blooms. Children are welcome, and suitable menu options are available for them. The a la carte menu offers larger portions and less “fussy” food, while the chefs’ family favourites are shared in daily specials.

Re-launching under the theme of ‘chic nostalgia’, the summer picnics in the camphor tree forest are back. A refreshed, contemporary menu is available which includes regular, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and children’s picnics. Bookings and pre-ordering are essential.

The family-friend Stables restaurant, a venue renowned for its outdoor setting and mountain views, offers a chic new outdoor Champagne trolley serving the estate’s MMV Brut and oysters, and a daily cocktail. The summer menu has also been updated. Stables chef Roger Hindley is a specialist in meat smoking and responsible for the charcuterie that picnic guests have been able to enjoy for the past five years. This popular item will now be more widely available with a cured meat platter of coppa, prosciutto and bresaola at the Wine Tasting Centre. Additionally, the dessert menu has undergone a few changes thanks to consultations with a French pastry chef.

The estates gorgeous gardens have been carefully tended and are more beautiful than ever. Guests can enjoy – among other features – the rose garden, the Sundial Garden and the Octagonal Garden, while a tract of land is being prepared to grow fresh herbs and vegetables for the restaurants to use.

Coetzer acknowledges that, like many other tourism businesses, wine estates have been challenged by the lack of international visitors who would typically make up the bulk of their customers. However, the staff morale is strong and team is ready to welcome guests.

“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,” says Coetzer. “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.”

Vergelegen opening times:

Sunday to Wednesday: 08h30-17h00 (last entry16h00)
Thursday to Saturday: 08h30-20h00 (last entry 18h00)
Entrance: R10/adults, R5/pensioners and scholars. Pensioners free Mondays.

Camphors: Lunch is served Wednesday to Sunday (12h00-14h30) and dinner reservations can be made for Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings (18h30-20h30). Call 021 8472131 or email camphors@vergelegen.co.za. Reservations can also be made via Dineplan here.

Picnics: Lunchtime picnics are available until end-April 2021. Bookings are essential; call 021 8472131 or view the menu and wine list and book online here.

Stables: Open daily from 08h30. The kitchen closes at 15h30 on Sunday to Wednesday, and at 18h30 on Thursday to Saturday. Reservations are essential. Phone 021 847 2156 or email stables@vergelegen.co.za.

Find out more on www.vergelegen.co.za.

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