PICS: Old-world charm meets contemporary luxury on this Stellenbosch farm

2018-12-11 15:00 - Ethan Van Diemen
Post a comment 0
blaauwklippen, farm, western cape, stellenbosch, s

(Photo: Supplied)

I don’t quite know what I expected heading to Blaauwklippen Vineyards dressed in all black on a Thursday afternoon but I can say for sure that it certainly wasn’t what was to happen later on that evening.

Gently nestled on the slopes of the Stellenbosch Mountain, Blaauwklippen is one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa dating back to 1682. With over 336 years of passion and commitment, being part of a relaunch of something so historic felt special but still, I was surprised by what happens when old-world charm and modern luxury meet on a farm in Stellenbosch.

SEE: So many summer wine festivals, so little time

blaauwklippen, farm, western cape, stellenbosch, s(Photo: Ethan Van Diemen)

I hopped out of my Uber and was greeted by a group of gentleman serving me with what would be the first of, I must guiltily confess, a few glasses of sparkling wine. From the facade outside, where these gentlemen were greeting guests, one could not really say that this space would be any different from the many other wine farms on the Stellenbosch wine route - with its ‘typical’ Cape Dutch-style architecture and whitewashed walls.

I was wrong, however - I guess the popular refrain that ‘its what’s on the inside that counts’ was here proven to be true.

blaauwklippen, farm, western cape, stellenbosch, s(Photo: Ethan Van Diemen)

The interiors are anything but ordinary. Nowhere have I seen such a masterful blending of old world, nostalgic charm (the estate is 336 years old so, naturally, they have some old stuff) and contemporary, future-oriented luxury. Cabinets that look like they may have been used by early free burghers share space with sculptures and chairs of clearly contemporary design and comfort.

blaauwklippen, farm, western cape, stellenbosch, s(Photo: Ethan Van Diemen)

Guests can make use of these spaces. The estate has a tasting room and Bistro as well as beautiful concept rooms where smaller events can be organised and held. Continuing on my journey through the past, present and future I went outside to the Piazza area.

SEE: Wine tasting by helicopter, anyone? Discover the winelands from up high

blaauwklippen, farm, western cape, stellenbosch, s(Photo: Ethan Van Diemen)

The sounds of an accordion and the chatter of dozens of people enjoying great wines and pleasant conversation filled the air in the glass-topped outdoor area. Waiters walked about topping up glasses and serving light meals, presented in what I was later to see was their signature rustic, almost dare I say royal medieval style. It’s very rare to feel like a Tudor in 21st century South Africa but alas, here I was and that's how it made me feel.

blaauwklippen, farm, western cape, stellenbosch, s(Photo: Ethan Van Diemen)

After a few more sips of the sparkling wine and some banter with guests here and there, the crowd was suddenly on the move again. I was already feeling like this is a great event in a great space but with only a few steps out of the Piazza onto the manicured lawns of the estate did my already frazzled mind blow with no hope of recovery.

The full beauty of the estate is best seen from here. The name Blaauwklippen originates from the Dutch word meaning "blue rocks” and it's not too much of a stretch to see why with the beauty of a mountain vista in the background.

blaauwklippen, farm, western cape, stellenbosch, s(Photo: Ethan Van Diemen)

Stopping along the path, Blaauwklippen and KRAAK Wedding Coordination and Events managed to pull off another surprise, when in the foreground of the mountain scenery was a structure that stood out in contrast to the heritage buildings that otherwise defined the estate. A Glass House, with a modern silhouette encasing guests in a glass facade, stood, surrounded by lush grass fields seemed to be our final stop for the night.

blaauwklippen, farm, western cape, stellenbosch, s(Photo: Ethan Van Diemen)

Walking gradually along a path to the Glass House, guests were treated to a musical experience with musicians literally standing in the tall grasses as we walked by. Finally, although I could have stayed outside the Glass House forever, we reached the interior where we were greeted by the deftest, most luxuriant floral arrangement I have ever encountered.

The glass facade and night sky did its part in highlighting it as if it were planned this way. It probably was. Here too did the sounds of laughter and chatter fill the air as guests helped themselves to a smorgasbord of different foods and wine while enjoying the music by the band just outside of the Glass House.

SEE: Wine, food and good vibes - be sure to join the next Stellenbosch street party

blaauwklippen, farm, western cape, stellenbosch, s(Photo: Ethan Van Diemen)

I must have looked incredibly stupid with the grin that forced itself upon my face but if you were to experience it (and you can) you would understand. Nowhere else on the estate did the aura of history and modernity come together in such an elegant confluence.

blaauwklippen, farm, western cape, stellenbosch, s(Photo: Ethan Van Diemen)

Here did my night end, in a state of wonderment and exaltation, feeling happy that I had the opportunity to experience this magical event but also hopeful that many more people will get to experience magic in the winelands.   

Blaauwklippen strives to produce internationally renowned wines but now they seem to be more. They seem to be a place where truly unforgettable experiences are possible.

Find Your Escape by searching and comparing flight prices here. You can also sign-up for the Traveller24 Weekly Newsletter – Subscribe here. Or download the News24 App here, to receive expertly curated travel ideas and deals directly to your mobile.