We’re open for business (travel)

Hello Level Three – regardless of the confusion surrounding the levels of lockdown amidst the ongoing Covid-19 2020 chaos, one thing we do know is that our accommodation is back in business, for business travel.

As per our previous post we can receive Essential Service workers and now also people travelling to our area for business.

The Winemaker’s Cottage; The Stables or The Silo, we’ve got space, views, fresh air and much more waiting for you. Click here to view more details about our accommodation options.

We’re taking extra care with cleaning routines and allowing 24hrs between guests. Read all about it in the Covid-19 update post or feel free to chat to Semma if you have any questions.

semma@aabadenhorst.com

We look forward to seeing you!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Stable image

Finally, some professional pictures of the latest accommodation offering on the farm.

The Stables cottage is secluded behind the cellar. Two shaded outside areas are great for dining and relaxing.

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Soon the veggie garden in the courtyard will be ripe for your picking;Stables-garden-2

the kitchen is fully equipped with modern fittings;Stables-kitchen-1

some herbs and farm fresh eggs and daily baked bread available;Stables-kitchen-4Stables-lounge-1

the master bedroom has a king size bed with luxurious bedding;Stables-main-bedroom-1

the second bedroom has two twin beds (which can also be set as a king!);Stables-Twin-Bedroom-2

each room has an identical bathroom (plants may differ!) Stables-main-bathroom-1

and in summer there is a perfect little splash pool with lovely views of the valley. The-Stables-pool

2 bedrooms | 2 bathrooms | fireplace | aircon | wifi | farm dam / pool

for more info, to view the other options for accommodation or to book, click click. 

Pictures by Lana Lou.

Another opportunity to visit us!

Our next monthly tasting lunch will take place on 24 August – your chance to see the lush winter landscape of the Swartland and explore all that Kalmoesfontein offers.

The day includes a tour of the cellar, a wine tasting, an introduction to our Agave Spirit, Caperitif and Swaan Cape Tonic as well as a 3 course farm lunch.

We start at 11:30 and it costs R500pp.

This takes place the day before Ayama (just on the south side of the Paardeberg) hosts their annual Artichoke Festival,

and on Friday night we’re playing some vinyls while making some of the famous Kalmoesfontein pizzas in our wood fire oven (2pizzas + a bottle of superlative vintage Secateurs for R300 limited to 30pax)… so why not make a weekend of it and come see what the platteland has to offer.

Unfortunately our accommodation is already fully booked, but to book for Friday or Saturday’s offerings contact Semma@aabadenhorst.com.

Winter wedding vibes

This weekend we hosted a lovely wet winter wedding.

Congratulations to Neil and Nadine, we are so happy that you had such a blast.

The couple got married in front of the cellar, ate and celebrated on the stoep (made cost by curtains and heaters) and danced the night away under the tent covered dance floor.

To find out more about our venue or to enquire about hosting your event n the farm, contact semma@aabadenhorst.com

What a weekend!

We thought it would be nice to share some of our favourite things to do in and around the Swartland. Spending a weekend (or any few days) in the region can really relieve you of the stresses of the city. I mean there is no traffic, the few taxis in the towns are driven by polite law abiding citizens, the ratio of shining retail window display to real things made by locals are in your favour and the landscapes are wide open and unobstructed.

So, if you are planning to spend a few days in our (or any other local) accommodation (note, ours is the most instagram worthy and my gosh that linen!) here are a few of the things we like to do within 30mins drive of the farm.

Hiking:

So many options; you can start on the farm and walk into the Paardeberg (ask Semma); drive to the Riebeek Mountain and take the newly reopened route from Pulpit Rock or take a super easy walk up the granite hill outside Malmesbury (see slideshow below).

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Alternatively drive through Wellington and into Bain’s Kloof Pass (gorgeous views of everything the light touches) and stop off to sit next to the river (ask Helena for tips). For all of these we can provide guides on request and at a small fee.

Most of these routes are also mountain bike friendly!

Shopping and eating like a local:

On your way to Bain’s Kloof you will pass my favourite leather shop. Redemption Leather is a local factory / shop where you can buy hand made shoes, bags, belts and so much more. Worth a visit. I should go back but the boots I bought in 2016 are still going strong!

For farm fresh food you have plenty of options… as you should in the country side.

In Riebeek you can get great produce at The Biggest Little Market (previously Crisp) opposite Beans about Coffee (yes, another coffee is a great idea!) and something to braai straight from Delico Meat, a farmstyle family butchery.

The Biggest Little Market produce

For meals we always recommend Mama Cucina (great specials on the blackboards but the Sophia Loren pizza never fails) and make sure to look into King Olaf Furniture across the road. We also like drinking cocktails at The Alchemist, buying wine at The Wine Kollective and checking out art at the various galleries.

In Malmesbury you should stop at The Swartland Street Market where the Bill&Co Deli and Wine Shop stock all things local and Marvel Bistro and Bakery prepare good food daily. There is also a lovely urban food garden, created by Buurtvrug, and lots of space for city kids to stretch their legs. They have monthly winetasting dinners, market days and more.

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Wine (and other) tastings:

Most small producers are only open by appointment (like us) so make sure to enquire in advance.  Check out the Swartland Wine and Olive Route’s site or that of Riebeek Valley Tourism for details on cellars that have open doors and active tasting rooms.

We’ve set aside a few dates for tasting days on the farm (click click) so try coming out on those weekends! And we have started to put together a sort of “menu of experiences” that friends and neighbours can offer so ask Semma about that when you book and get the most out of a weekend in die platteland.

wineclub2

Ok, this post is getting long. I will do a follow up story with nurseries, horse riding, local festivals and other things, soon.

Single vineyards vintage 2019

A visual representation of when the single vineyards on and around the farm were harvested this year.

Everything came in in the span of 27 days, starting with the cellar block on 31 Jan and ending with the Ramnasgras Cinsault (planted in 1966!) on the 27th of Feb.

The Golden Slopes (since 1968) and Klipkop (1966) Chenin Blanc vineyards are neighbors and were ripe and ready within 24hours of each other.

There was not enough Tinta Barocca (from the mysteriously names Sk’Windjiesvlei) for a SV wine this year so it went into the Family Red.

Other single vineyard wines, from a little further afield, includes:

Geelkapel White Muskadel from a vineyard in the Moutonshoek farm behind Piketberg, planted in 1984 and harvested on 18 January this year.

Sout van die aarde (Salt of the earth) Palomino is a vineyard on the west coast, just north of Dwarskersbos. The vineyard, planted in 1961, is planted in sheer limestone soil and was ready to harvest on 24 January.

And the baby of the Single Vineyards, the Bokveld Pinot Noir planted in 2006 in the Koue Bokkeveld on the Ceres Plateau, was harvested on the 19th of February.