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{stay} Escaping to Diemersfontein: a country-chic reprieve - The Little Hedonist
Lifestyle Uncategorized

{stay} Escaping to Diemersfontein: a country-chic reprieve

January 11, 2024

Sometimes, all you  need are great friends and great food to have a great time. But, in this story, my birthday weekend was elevated to epic proportions thanks to the great wine, great accommodation and great countryside hospitality of Diemersfontein Wine and Country Estate.

Introduction

Having planned this weekend escape for months already with  my wine squad, it was finally time. Our party of eight friends eagerly arrived in Wellington after a lovely and suitably celebratory wine tasting and lunch at Noble Hill, with the ninth and final link in the friend circle arriving the next morning. Excited to spend the weekend in the embrace of Diemersfontein and in each other’s company, we eagerly checked in, parked the cars for a couple of days and offloaded our luggage.

Background

Diemersfontein is already in the third generation owned and managed by the Sonnenberg family. Founded by the Hanseatic Captain Diemer Diemersfontein was originally a fruit farm since the 18th century, which was acquired in 1943 by the South African entrepreneur and politician Max Sonnenberg, who was also the founder of Woolworth South Africa. In the 70’s his son Richard started cultivating vines and in the year 2000 his grandson David Sonnenberg built his first wine cellar and began producing high quality estate wines.

Diemersfontein is a working wine estate, with a fully operational wine cellar, renowned for its award-winning Pinotage – a uniquely South African cultivar.
 Only 5 minutes from the charming Boland town of Wellington, 45 minutes away from Cape Town, and 40 minutes from Cape Town International Airport, Diemersfontein is truly a world in one, with a wealth of possibilities literally on its doorstep (https://www.diemersfontein.co.za/country-estate/).





Thokozani Cottage

In total, Diemersfontein offers guests 22 en-suite guest rooms: 10 Garden Rooms as well as the three estate cottages. The cottages are spaced for privacy and rest – each far enough apart from the other to forget about the presence of others around you. Designed with independence in mind, the cottages are fully self-catering, and the guest rooms are B&B, for those who enjoy the little pleasures in life.

We arrived at the Thokozani Cottage shortly after lunch – it’s a magnificent double story farmhouse perched on a little grassy hill, overlooking farmlands until the eye meets the horizon. The cottage also looks out over a mirror-like dam, with an abundance of geese and other water birds enjoying the refreshing water. The house was perfectly sheltered in the middle of a little copse of eucalyptus and pine trees, thankfully keeping the relentless summer sun out of its cool interiors. Offering a large undercover verandah, I knew that we would be spending most of our time out here around the ten-seater table, where your heart becomes still and your mind eases slowly into its tranquil surroundings.

Through the french doors, you’ll find three decadently spacious full en-suite rooms as well as an open plan lounge and kitchenette. Upstairs you’ll find two more full en-suite rooms with more space available than you’ll know what to do with, linked with a little reading nook on the landing.

I must indulge you with an honourable mention of the beds – usually, I struggle to sleep away from home, but the bed in the cottage simply sucked me into its soft white linen, squished all the negative energy from my muscles and enveloped me with that kind of too-much-fresh-air deep sleep our bodies crave when living in the city for too long.

We packed the fridge, chose our rooms and much later, after loads of catch-up chats and laughs, had a braai under the stars, generously thankful for a chance to escape, to rest, to reconnect.

The Diemersfontein Country Estate experience

After a leisurely breakfast in the quaint Hope Restaurant the next morning, we readied ourselves for a day spent on the pristine estate of Diemersfontein, wanting to make the absolute most of their facilities and very “Instagrammable” property. Many might not know, but Diemersfontein is not only the home of award-winning wines, but also offers various outdoor activities to their guests, including hikes, mountain bike trails, and a few more I’ll share with you in due time…

Eat

The Hope Restaurant offers bistro-style lunches and dinners, enjoyed either on the patio, inside or in the shaded courtyard – all tables guarantee gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains, vineyards and local flora. Our breakfast included a buffet continental breakfast, and a traditional hot English breakfast, paired with frothy cups of coffee.




Wine tasting

A few hours later, we headed to the wine tasting centre, which is adjacent to the courtyard. We took our seats at the counter and placed ourselves into the knowledgeable hands of their wine advisers, who expertly guided us through the Diemersfontein selection of wines. At the tasting room, you are able to sample their full range of wines, including the Diemersfontein Original range, the Flagship Carpe Diem range, as well as the Thokozani Range.

I knew that Diemersfontein was known for award-winning Pinotage, but I was pleasantly surprised by their exquisite range of other varietals on offer, including the 2023 vintages of their Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. Beautifully crisp and aromatic, these were the perfect summer salad wines. Another stand-out wine was the Thokozani Cab Franc 2022, a bruised red berry and earthy herb fusion on the nose and delectably full in the mouth with elegant tannins. Make sure you try their 10 year-old potstill brandy whilst you’re there, or the Sweet Sue Sundried Viognier.

Manor gardens and pool

Feeling rather lazy after a great wine tasting experience and subsequent slices of birthday cake and bubbles for lunch, some of us decided to head to the pool for a reprieve from the Wellington heat. I was very excited to walk through the manor house gardens, as I’ve been ogling the images online for the longest time. I was not disappointed – the perfectly nonchalant countryside garden was immaculate, with large trees and palms offering cool shade to carpets of green creepers.

With a sweeping rose garden, a few stunningly overgrown pergola’s for seating and a large, dark pool, all framed by perfectly manicured lawns, it was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. The jacaranda tree by the pool was in full bloom; the lawn underfoot dotted with velvet purple flowers. Towels have been placed on loungers for your convenience, and the pool was sparkly clean and inviting. The biggest surprise? Big and small tortoises walking around in the gardens, happily munching on the lawn and other plants – these tortoises have all taken refuge at Diemersfontein, where they live out their best lives in luxury.

I made myself comfortable in a shady spot, took out my book and poured an icy drink – and for the next few hours I was very content to simply forget about the world.

A late afternoon cheese & charcuterie platter spread on the patio, served with icy gins and clinging glasses of wine over a selection of board games was the perfect ending to a full day getting to know the stories of Diemersfontein, woven through their people, their wine, their food and their hearts.



In conclusion

I reluctantly left the sanctity of Diemersfontein behind, making myself a silent promise to be back in the new year. I’m so grateful I had the chance to get to know the estate and all its offerings, and will whole-heartedly recommend this countryside escape to anyone searching for a pardon of the daily hustle.

If you can’t stay over, make sure to stop by for a wine tasting and lunch! Thank you, Diemersfontein, for making this milestone birthday such a special occasion, simply by allowing us soak in the tranquility and picturesque beauty of your estate.

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated / credited, are also my own.

The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.
Don’t drink and drive. Not for persons under 18.

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