Vrymansfontein Launches

Vrymansfontein

From Vondeling wines comes Vrymansfontein – a new design-led wine and dining destination situated on a 330-year-old almond farm at the foot of Paarl Mountain.

Nearly three years in the making and after breaking ground nearly a year ago, Vrymansfontein has just opened its doors to the public. The 380-hectare Suid-Agter-Paarl property is a working almond farm, with one of the largest orchards in South Africa. Originally planned as a wine tasting facility for the Vondeling wine brand, plans for Vrymansfontein later evolved into the magnificent lifestyle and dining destination it is today, complete with its bespoke wine tasting facility, an impressive glass-fronted indoor restaurant and two alfresco dining options. Together with architect Rick Stander and hospitality interiors specialists Source IBA, owner Max Ward has crafted a contemporary destination unique to the region, which thanks to its elevation is blessed with some of the most extraordinary vistas imaginable.

The most ambitious recent contemporary wine and dining endeavour in the region, Vrymansfontein has been created with discerning food and wine lovers in mind, offering a number of dining and tasting options to suit the seasons and guests’ moods. Visitors can choose from a sophisticated Mediterranean-inspired shared plates dining menu by Chef Kevin Grobler at SCAPE, an easygoing Levantine small-plates offering at The Tree Bar and laidback food-from-the-fire from in The Gardens. With its multiple locations within one space (each blessed with beautiful valley and Table Mountain views), Vrymansfontein is able to host several hundred guests at any one time.

A NEW ERA FOR VRYMANSFONTEIN

No stone has been left unturned in the reimagination of this centuries-old farm and the development of the Vrymansfontein wine and culinary experience. Chef Kevin Grobler has been honing the menu offerings at SCAPE and The Tree Bar for several months now, while star sommelier George Young has painstakingly crafted his wine and pairing choices and a cellar filled with stellar Vondeling and local wines. Virtually all the hospitality staff at Vrymansfontein have been recruited from local environs ensuring the property plays a significant role in the local economy.

The food at SCAPE is rooted in simplicity, with an elegant and refined approach and considered culinary finishes. “The menu is inspired by the beautiful simplicity of the dishes you can find throughout the Mediterranean region – be it a flawlessly roasted piece of fish, a four-ingredient steak tartare using the best fillet there is, or the likes of our house favourite – veldt reared rotisserie chicken. We have sourced the very best local and seasonal produce available so that we can stay true to our principles of produce and flavour first,” says Ward.

That’s not to say the dishes are one dimensional. Grobler has leaned into his vast bank of knowledge and produced a menu featuring dishes dressed with beautifully balanced flourishes and flavour marriages that sing. Guests may choose from a variety of small plates, salads, cured and smoked house specialities, and larger plates which include meat, fish and fowl options. Additionally, vegetable sides and sauces complete the culinary picture. All of the plates and sides are brought to the table to be shared family-style. It’s a deliberately casual approach to refined dining, created to foster conviviality and to spark conversations – all while being immersed in an extraordinary setting.

Equally central to the Vrymansfontein concept is the Tasting Bar, where guests can sip-before-selecting (or collect to take home) Vondeling estate wines. While the Tasting Bar provides a speedier and standing-only tasting experience, more leisurely, sit-down tastings are also available on the deck. From here, guests may choose to take a seat at SCAPE for lunch or dinner or may prefer to select from the easygoing mezze-style menu while dining under the trees at The Tree Bar. A family-friendly space, The Tree Bar is situated adjacent to a custom-built timber Children’s Area, designed to foster safe and imaginative play.

AN APPRECIATION OF ART & DESIGN

The impressive interiors at SCAPE are informed by the local environs – natural tones inspired by the surrounding farmland are punctuated with deep blues, evoking the granite of Paarl Rock situated behind Vrymansfontein itself. The large deck is shaded by a coral tree and several pin oak trees above and a timber deck and klompie bricks underfoot, a pointed reference to the heritage and character of the farm. Design details in SCAPE such as oversized cork hanging pendants custom made by Laurie Wiid reference the Vondeling wine heritage of course, but also speak to the importance of local artisans in the creation of the space.

Vrymansfontein’s passion for local creative talent extends to the art too. The region has long inspired iconic landscapes by some of South Africa’s most loved artists and in keeping with this rich history, Vrymansfontein sought the viewpoint of local fine artist and landscape pundit Rose Williams. Williams was commissioned to paint seven landscapes of the surrounds including the iconic views from Vrymansfontein itself and these take center stage at Vrymansfontein. Her original artworks that explore views of and from the three farms that together make up Vondeling’s footprint in the area, are as impressive as the considered interiors and are rooted in her deep appreciation for the ever-changing landscape and its moods through the seasons.

As Vrymansfontein opens its doors to its guests, it welcomes in a new era for this centuries-old farm. As the seasons shape the property, so the different dining spaces will come into their own – but the daytime view and the uninterrupted sunset vistas remains a consistent and extraordinary drawcard. “We were motivated to create a new winelands and Cape farm experience that meets 21st century guests where they are at – expectant of quality and carefully conceived spaces and appreciative of a unique position and offering,” says Max Ward, “and our plan is for Vrymansfontein to continue to draw people for many decades to come.”

AT-A-GLANCE

Vrymansfontein is open Wednesday to Sunday.

The wine and dining options at Vrymansfontein include:

SCAPE – a smart design-led interior, with a simple but refined Mediterranean inspired menu

Open 12:00-22:00 (summer season, subject to change in winter)

The Tree Bar – a shaded outdoor space serving Levantine-inspired dishes

Open 12:00-22:00 (summer season, may change winter)

The Gardens – easy going from-the-fire food

Open 12:00-22:00 (summer season, subject to change in winter)

The Tasting Bar – Vondeling and stellar Cape wines by-the-glass or bottle, including cellar-door Vondeling wines purchases

Open 10:00 – 18:00

Vrymansfontein is situated on the Suid-Agter-Paarl Road on the southern slopes of Paarl Mountain.

The farm is 45-minute drive from Cape Town and a 7km drive from Paarl.

Website: www.vrymansfontein.co.za

Reservations: email reservations@vrymansfontein.co.za