Gabriëlskloof: dine, drink wine or take a picnic to a private nook

Gabriëlskloof: dine, drink wine or take a picnic to a private nook

There’s also a cottage, kids are welcome (+ you can bring the dog) Gabriëlskloof Wine Estate, with its never-ending view of vineyards, is for languid midday wine tastings and stretched-out lunches at the estate restaurant, which looks out over the reflective ponds, and faces the cellar that goes down three storeys underground.

EMBRACE GABRIËLSKLOOF’S LAID-BACK VIBE

It feels as if the world forgot to allocate a sense of time to Gabriëlskloof Wine Estate, which is just over an hour from Cape Town CBD. Instead, you’re left to enjoy your day, undisturbed, to wander around and taste wines from the 68 hectares of pristine vineyards.

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“Our aim was to plant virgin soil with vines and keep them virus free (not surrounded by other vineyards). We have managed to do that,” says wine estate co-owner Nicolene Heyns Finlayson.

“The farm site was predominantly selected to be a red wine estate. The terroir, soil and proximity to the Atlantic ocean make it world-class climate for it,” says Nicolene.

WINES NOVICES AND FUNDIS WILL LOVE

Gabriëlskloof Wine Estate produces excellent wines that both a novice wine drinker and “wine geeks” can enjoy, says winemaker Peter-Allen. Your waiter will happily walk you through each range (there are three), and, if you know a thing or two about wines, Peter-Allen’s Project Range, where the winemaker experiments with alternative fermentation and ageing methods, will be of interest to you.

You can navigate Gabriëlskloof wines on your own, too, and the reds are a great place to start. “This is a perfect red-wine world,” Nicolene says. The majority of the vineyard (70-80%) are red wine grapes, and most of that is Syrah. Have a glass of the popular 2018 Blend; it’s Gabriëlskloof’s top-selling wine. “People can’t get enough of it,” says Nicolene.

THERE’S A LARGE LAWN FOR KIDS TO PLAY ON

The courtyard in between the restaurant and the two wine cellars is a good space for both kids and pets, this estate is kid and pet friendly. Kids can run freely on the open lawn, while parents can relax and keep an eye on them. It also doesn’t hurt that the backdrop is the exquisite rolling Houwhoek mountain range.

For those looking for some privacy, there’s ample space on the estate. Visitors can head out towards the lawns overlooking the vineyards and mountains for a picnic lunch. The restaurant whips up a fabulous gourmet picnic basket in a large Gabriëlskloof wine box, with biodegradable utensils and dishes.

TASTE THE FOOD FROM A LOVED LOCAL CHEF

The Gabriëlskloof restaurant is owned and operated by Chef Frans Groenewald and his wife, Mariaan. Wine Estate co-owner Bernhard Heyns met Frans in 2009 at the Houwhoek deli, which Frans was running at the time.

Bernhard used to stop in often, and “he loved Frans’ easy-going, bistro-style cuisine and approached him to start the Restaurant at Gabriëlskloof,” says Nicolene.

At Gabriëlskloof Frans’s menu includes venison, bobotie with braai broodjies, a Karoo-style poke bowl, and crowd favourites of pork belly and duck au vin.

“We are well supported by locals. The local farming community see Gabriëlskloof as “their” place,” Nicolene says. Probably because the deli treats like the Kourabiedes (Greek butter cookies), rusks, local cheeses, cakes and the other stock, including chef Frans’ own meat range, are all locally sourced from neighbouring farms.

BOOK A WEEKEND TUCKED AWAY IN NATURE

Hidden in the Gabriëlskloof vineyards is the farm-style Landscape Cottage. This 3-bedroom getaway can sleep a total of 6 guests, and has sweeping views of the vineyards and a dam. The kitchen, lounge and veranda have an open-plan setting. The main bedroom has a glamorous tub set in the corner of two large windows, which allows for a 180-degree view of the vineyards, dam and mountains.

It feels as if you have the whole farm to yourself – perfect for an isolated getaway with friends, family or your own private escape.

SPOT A CARACAL OR LEOPARD, DUIKER

Most guests don’t know that several rare and unlikely animals have been spotted walking around the farm during the evenings. Because of the camera traps set up a few kilometres around the cottage, Gabriëlskloof can proudly say they have a caracal, duiker, porcupine and even a female leopard with her cub patrolling the grounds.