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what is so crazy about being different, she wondered, quietly.

COVID-19 Update: A Message to our Guests

COVID-19 Notice from our Venue team:

We are certified to provide accommodation for all Essential Services workers during the Covid-19 lockdown.

For many of us, our way of life has changed dramatically over the past few months as we continue to face the challenges that COVID-19 brings. We feel so incredibly lucky to live where do during lockdown – still retaining the freedom to be outdoors, in nature, in our own backyard. Daily farm life continues, albeit at a slower pace than before, and our local wildlife have taken the place of our human visitors in this time (leopard, porcupine, brown and cape grey mongoose visiting regularly as you may have seen in our previous post!)

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Our self-catering farm cottages are uniquely positioned to offer the perfect isolation retreat while providing you with the space to exercise freely and reconnect with nature.

Our staff have been informed and educated on measures to prevent contamination and spread of the virus.

We have implemented strict hygiene measures as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Department of Health.

Our cottages will be well ventilated, deep cleaned and sanitized with a minimum of 24 hours between each booking.

Surface and hand sanitizers are made available for you to use during your stay.

Although we will not be offering daily servicing of the cottages during this time, should you not feel like cooking, a selection of farm cooked meals can be requested.

Booking requirements: Please note that we will require a copy of your Essential Services Certificate, Permit  and ID document when making a reservation, as instructed by the Dept of Tourism.

Kindly email or Whatsapp Semma on semma@aabadenhorst.com  or 0796526101.

We hope things will return to some version of normal soon and look forward to welcoming guests once again, we miss you…

In the meantime, stay safe and stay healthy!

Warm regards,

Semma, Charl and the AA Badenhorst team.

From the farm with love

Another week has come and gone, our local Covid19 strategy has evolved from a complete lockdown to a stage 4 (but figuring out exactly what that means feels like tricky algebra and we just know we cannot sell or export wine yet).

On the farm we are keeping busy though. Last week there was much excitement (and the most likes ever on a photo on our Instagram page) when we set up some cameras in the kloof and captured a Cape Leopard visit.

The whole family’s teenagers are currently locked down on the farm – after (huge) breakfasts they work on the farm (whatever is on the daily agenda) until (a massive) lunch and then it is homeschool time. When homework is done they usually venture into the kloof to work on and play in their ‘den’. In the past they had also spent a few nights camping there.

But last week brother-in-law Mark had a hunch to set up a camera at a porcupine hole and what do you know, we caught a glimpse of a leopard having a go at two porcupines!

Very exciting (if you are not sleeping 30 meters away!).

This week we’ve checked into a few vineyards which might interest you.

The last grapes harvested for 2020 comes from the oldest Bukettraube vineyard in SA (and the world??). Planted in 1978 – a time when Swartland Bukettraube could be found in every bottle store in the country.

I remember my Oupa talking about “boeke vol trouble” (books full of trouble) and although we are not looking for trouble, Adi does mention that he is trying to “make the Swartland great again…”. …

And then, on the other end of the scale, this is a young Grenache Noir vineyard planted in 2018 and doing very lekker.

Oh we hope we can show you around the farm in real life, soon soon.

Stay safe.

On the other hand…

The global phenomenon of Lockdown reached us in the Swartland too. We are however super fortunate to live on a farm where ‘not leaving your property’ and keeping our staff safe at home means we have more than enough to keep busy.

The South African Government has put a halt to all liquor sales (insert debate here) which also means we have been taking a closer look at the other things we juggle on the property.

As you can see on our Sidelines page on this website, we do not only produce wine… pretty sure that if you are a fan of the wines you know about Caperitif, probably Swaan Tonic too and likely The 4th Rabbit… but taking heed from our president, lets put a cork in that and look at the other little projects and produce.

Caper berries:

About five years ago Adi started looking for a local producer of capers and well, found none. So in true Adi style he decided to do something about it himself. Up on the east facing slopes of the Paardeberg, where no vineyards grew and some invasive trees had recently been eradicated, we planted Capparis spinosa in between the rows of local trees that we had established.

Year on year the plants have produced more and more berries, this year our crop is standing at 900kgs – and the bushes are still flowering.

The work is labour intensive ( and on a good day one person harvests about 900grams) and the process intense (especially as it is go season over Christmas and New Year) but it provides a few local ladies with steady work and income.

Breads:

The internet is all the rage with sourdough starters at the moment as people, locked inside their houses and avoiding the shops, are trying to bake their own bread.

Charl has been ahead of the trend for a while – but bread baking has a starter on the farm years before he joined the team. First Xoliswa then Molla baked fresh farm white bread for the cellar crew during harvest time (everyone fighting for the crust) and a few years later we started baking those breads to put in the cottage so that a fresh bread smell would welcome guests checking in.

When Charl (the younger Badenhorst brother) and his wife moved to the mountain they brought to the team a new set of skills and passions. So Charl cooks (with his mother’s guidance and recipes) for lunches and small events on the farm and during the winter of 2019 him and his team got schooled in sourdough.

Apart from the bread basket, Charl has also become the pizza oven master and these are a firm farm favourite. 

(Spot the capers!)

Eggs:

With many chickens come many eggs. Used mostly on the farm – again for feeding hungry crew (and kids), stocking the cottages and as an ingredient in Judy’s recipes. Hannes (that’s Cornelia’s brother who joined the team about two years ago as a general Mr Fix-It, but more on the family-team in another post) started keeping track of the hens’ laying track record, showed up with big trays and started selling them off.

Rooibos:

In an attempt to establish a Caperitif garden, to grow as many of the 45 ingredients here on the property, we planted some Rooibos in September last year. A few weeks ago we harvested 500kgs from the 0.5ha plantation. Read more about it on the Caperitif blog (click click).

Swaan:

And then lastly, for now, Swaan, our Cape Dry Tonic Water. We started making this one shortly after the Caperitif project took off, as craft tonic was still scarce back then. See, can’t find what you are looking for, make it…

Like a binge dieter Swaan has had many shapes and sizes but now comes in very cute 200ml bottles, with cans coming soon.

It simple: Persian limes, kai appels; cardamom; mint; water from Voor-Paardeberg; citric acid and quinine. Net so.

So yes, we keep busy. You can listen to Adi chatting about some of this and more on a recent podcast on Ex Amino Wine Company’s Sound Cloud (click here) and keep an eye on our Instagram or Facebook Page to see what we’re keeping busy with in isolation.

Stay well, stay safe.

Our Venue: Die Bos

You will often hear us talk about Die Bos, a party in die bos, a walk up to die bos or swimming in die bos… If you’ve ever wondered what on earth, allow me to explain.

At the ‘top edge’ of the Kalmoesfontein property was a very big Eucalyptus plantation (very common on farms around here as the trees were planted for the long straight poles they produce as well as firewood.) Over the years we’ve slowly cut back this plantation (because they use SO MUCH water and because frankly we’d rather plant wheat, grapes or local trees) but have left a hectare or so on the very top of the hill. In the middle of this bos (Afrikaans for forest) we’ve cleared a section to plant a maypole and have a few parties.

Over the years the space has been used for weddings (both ceremonies and celebrations), outdoor cooking seminars, parties and several Oesaf Harvest celebrations. We’ve decorated it with ribbons of all colours, leaves and vines, hessian and fabric. We love getting creative and making it a unique space for every occasion.

Most recently we added a pool to it’s offering…

If you are ever looking for a special spot for a celebration or event of any kind – come check it out. It is accessible via a steep but spectacular walk up the hill (usually with a drink spot along the way) or we can arrange a fun array of ‘shuttles’ to get those who can’t make the walk up there.

For more info or to arrange a viewing, contact semma@aabadenhorst.com.

Harvest 2020

2020 is a leap year, although we didn’t even really need the extra day in February- the grapes are 99% picked and pressed.

Down to just over 250 tons from about 280ish tons in 2019, this year’s harvest came in fast. Vineyards put their hands up to say ‘pick me now’ from early in January; there were a few crazy days in early February when temperatures peaked in the low 40s (that’s degrees Celsius) and it seemed the cold room would never be empty again.

But the vinyl kept playing; the crew kept gooiing kussies; the pomp kept klapping and the team are all smiles.

This year we once again had Keiji (aka Cage) all the way from Japan and Raynard (all the way from Malmesbury…) with new (very) local addition Tol (his father being our much featured long time employee Fortuin); first half impact player Tom (a Badenhorst) and Tom (not a Badenhorst, who has already departed to do it all again in Argentina). With Hanneke keeping on top of all the details and Adi guarding over the bigger picture, the cogs kept on turning – some days from 4am till long after the sun set, only grinding to a halt for the occasional visit from The Loadshedding Demon.

Back from left to right; Tom (not Badenhorst), Tol, Hanneke, Adi. In front; Cage and Ray

Obviously there were a few sunrise braais, many cups of good coffee and, according to the team ‘never the same lunch twice’.

In between Charl and Semma (and Judy and Mina and the team) hosted numerous lunches (and breakfasts and pizza oven experiences) and we put on another edition of Bradstock.

Bradstock, as it is known amongst fans, originated last year as a combined 40th/50th for Belinda and Andy – the jol was such a hit that they decided to do it again this year, making it a mini festival for their group of friends. Hosted over 24 hours and with two meals, three dance floors, eight musical acts, numerous outfit changes and thirty Glamping tents on the terraces – this was a party to remember (and repeat!).

Just a friendly reminder that Kalmoesfontein is not only the home of some of your favourite wines, we also provides a unique venue and location to bring your celebrations to life.

As always, be sure to follow us on Instagram and/or Facebook to see what we get up to.

From one busy season to another…

Things never really slow down on Kalmoesfontein – while the cellar and vineyard stood still for a brief moment in anticipation of harvest time, the venue kept going and hosted a few lovely weddings over the summer holiday.

From the last weekend of November with the new Mr and Mrs Liebenberg (pic by @liesieml)

to Judy and Roland’s long weekend celebration (pics by @carien_photography)

and Deborah & João’s international festival wedding (pic @marriageofficersymi)

we closed out 2019 on a roll. And got straight back into it with Rosie & Clint’s celebration on the second of Jan (pic by @ferventstories)

And wrapped up the pre-harvest season with Christian & Sebastian’s lovely intimate mid-week gathering (pics: @mareelouw_weddings | @quietriots_)

Now it is harvest time. The first grapes, from our younger vines, are starting to come in this week and the excitement is building.

Keep an eye on here and on our social media pages (@aabadenhorst on Instagram and AA Badenhorst Family Wines on Facebook) to stay in the know.

We know it is irritatingly late to say this – but happy 2020… we wish you great wines and beautiful celebrations, come visit

**Our luxury accommodation The Stables just opened up for the weekend ahead, the next available slot being only on 17 April. Contact Semma@aabadenhorst.com if you are keen for a last minute get away.

Winter wedding venue

As November starts to go downhill into December into Jingle Bells and fake snow covered Christmas trees in shop windows – we want to throw it back to a cool August 30th.

Karel and Grethe got married on the farm and we have some pictures of the venue and decor to proof it.

The cellar may be basic, as Adi himself will point out, but it makes for a pretty lovely backdrop to say “I do”.

And then there is the Paardeberg in all its magic hour glory…

For more info on our farm / cellar / old house / vineyards as a venue or (photo shoot) location, check out this page or contact Semma@aabadenhorst.com – she’ll sort you out!

Pics with credit to Liesl le Roux Photography.

Animal farm…

We recently made a list of the animals on the farm, and it is quite a long one.

Appelliefie (a massive fluffy-in-winter dog that reminds of something in Harry Potter), Sanka (the second of his name, yes Sanka the first is dead man – it’s a Cool Runnings reference that you should know) Janis Joplin (the German not very good Shepard) Jan (the Percheron) Poon (the pony) and St John & Archie (just horses…)

Also Twinkles and Molly (or Holly?) the cats; five turkeys (for now, Black Friday is coming…); LOTS of chickens (different breeds – including a family called Adi, Cornelia, Samuel & Ana!); muscovy ducks; guineafowl and peacocks (although they are wild) and Adi’s parrots (different breeds, some noisier than others).

There is something called Freda (that I haven’t met) and Choppie (I’m guessing lamb); Ted the Tortoise; what feels like hundreds of bunnies and the latest addition, a mongoose.

Appelliefie loves entertaining guests…

Jan the Magnificent

St John & Archie (or Archie & St John..?)

Sanka, harvest inspector (2019 vintage)

Unnamed bunny

That’s enough for now. More pictures at another time.

 

Single Vineyards 2018 Release

Our Single Vineyard wines are made and bottled with the express intent to respect the truth of the site. Most of these vineyards are on our farm or other slopes and valleys of the Paardeberg. We’ve been working with some for almost 9 years now and each year these vineyards show a consistansy and uniqueness that we seek out.

As Adi says “these are wines without eye-shadow…”

The one everyone is talking about (well, Tim Atkin named it his red wine discovery of the year in his 2019 South African Report… and described it as ‘delicate, ethereal and graceful’, saying, ‘it’s one of the best Cinsaults I’ve ever tasted.’) is the new kid on the block the Ringmuur Cinsault.

It’s rarer than we like our fillet, sold out from our side and most retailers, make sure to grab it if you see it anywhere.

Others returning to the line up include

– the famous Raaigras “oldest Grenache vineyard in the land” from 12 rows / 1268 vines which yields about 3 tons in a good year.

-Chenin Blancs from Dassiekop, according to Adi the “finest Chenin Blanc vineyard in South Africa”; The Golden Slopes, named after the deep yellow coloured granite in the site; Piet Bok se Steen so called after an old vigneron who lived in a tiny cottage besides the block and Klipkop – a tiny parcel planted on top of a granite outcrop in 1966.

– and just to make things a bit harder for our international agents, wines named Sk’Windjiesvlei (a Tinta Barocca planted in 1962) and Sout van die Aarde (Palomino from the West Coast just north of Dwarskersbos…)

Christian Eedes reported on (and scored) all the wines from the 2018 vintage single vineyards recently. You can read his thoughts and tasting notes here (click click).

You can buy some here.

You can read about the 2019 harvest, here.