Tag Archives: vergelegen

Exploring the Estate of Vergelegen in Somerset West (2017-07-01) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 30 MAY 2018

A visit to Somerset West’s historic Vergelegen estate is always a treat, thanks to its selection of stunning restaurants, the elegant wine tasting venue, the beautiful (and functional) gardens, its rolling lawns and tree rich grounds, the fascinating history on show in the preserved manor house and library, and of course, the 300 year old Camphor and other ‘Champion’ trees dotted about the estate.

I have of course written about Vergelegen and its long history before, but it is worth keeping in mind that this wine producing estate (now owned and maintained through the deep pockets of Anglo American) was founded all the way back in 1700 – and indeed a large part of the farm’s original grounds served as the base for the eventual 1822 founding of Somerset West itself.

In other words, Vergelegen is very much integral to the story of the Helderberg region.

Surprisingly, the estate is quite child friendly these days, with a great play area and of course the large open lawns all making for a very welcome kid distraction for those times when you just want to sit back with a glass of wine (or warm cup of coffee) in hand, take in a deep breathe of crisp outdoor air, and enjoy the spectacular landscape views on offer.

One such opportunity arose just before the holidays last year, when we met up with Miguel, Retha, and her folks for a cup of coffee and a stroll around the estate – something my two little girls very much enjoyed once I told them about the bridge that needed crossing and the magical tree cave that needed finding on the other side.

They were rather pleased then when this turned out to be entirely true for a change.

Vergelegen’s well maintained grounds are always such a pleasure to explore, and indeed, whether you are interested in wine, art, fine landscapes, or even historic buildings, there is pretty much always something for everyone at this very enchanting estate.

Related Link: Vergelegen Wine Estate | Wikipedia | Somerset West

Breakfast at Vergelegen Stables with Chantelle (2016-02-25) Photo Gallery 20 MAR 2016

So as I just mentioned, Terrance, Ryan and myself got together for a particularly enjoyable breakfast outing to the historic Vergelegen Wine Estate in Somerset West.

It was a gorgeous sunny day, the food was fantastic, and the views spectacular.

So needless to say, Chantelle was super jealous and thus literally a week later, I found myself enjoying breakfast there once more.

IMG_20160225_102027 chantelle lotter at the stables restaurant at vergelegen wine estate in somerset west

Which really isn’t a bad thing at all!

Related Link: Vergelegen Wine Estate

Vergelegen Breakfast with Terrance and Ryan (2016-02-17) Photo Gallery 20 MAR 2016

It has been a good couple of years now since Terrance left our sunny shores for a life of teaching English in Japan, and while I have been over there once so far for his wedding, I pretty much rely on his annual(ish) visit to South Africa to catch up and learn all about his interesting life in the Land of the Rising Sun.

IMG_20160217_095041 ryan lotter and terrance brown at the stables restaurant at vergelegen wine estate

So as you might imagine, I was quite pleased to discover that he dropped into the country for a couple of days in February, so much so that I immediately suggested getting together for a nice breakfast at Vergelegen Wine Estate – an experience that he was instantly onboard for!

IMG_20160217_105154 craig lotter and terrance brown at vergelegen wine estate

Established in 1700, the historic and beautiful Vergelegen Wine Estate in Somerset West is a must visit if you’ve never been there before, and it was a great treat for both Ryan and Terrance, neither of whom had been there before. We enjoyed a leisurely and delicious breakfast (complemented with extremely expensive water I might add), before shuffling along and taking in the sights of the estate.

(I did my best to keep up on my crutches, but eventually I set the two free to go and explore while I worked my way slowly back to the car park!)

IMG_20160217_110745 ryan and terrance standing in front of the museum house at vergelegen wine estate in somerset west

Following that, the three of us next headed over to Somerset Mall, where we caught an afternoon screening of Deadpool – which was surprisingly good. They really, really captured the essence of the character for the movie, with Ryan Reynolds proving to be the perfect actor for the role. (That sequence of him punching Colossus literally had me wiping away the tears of laughter!)

The movie done, I next convinced them that going for an ice cream with Chantelle would be a great idea, so after a bit of a wait at home for her to finish up with work, the three of us left and headed out to Gordon’s Bay beach.

Only… the wind had picked up a bit in the meantime, meaning that in the end we swapped out soft serve on the beach for ice cream in the safety of the Spur – which turned out perfectly fine as well!

IMG_20160217_155545 ryan lotter and terrance brown at gordon's bay spur

And yes, once again I took many, many pictures at the beautiful Vergelegen Estate:

Related Link: Vergelegen Wine Estate

Breakfast at Vergelegen Wine Estate (2015-07-06) Photo Gallery 16 JUL 2015

Our first day of our official July week of holiday saw Chantelle and I take a day for ourselves, leaving the kids in school while we got to gallivant around. Sure, we did have some great coffee at the Daily Coffee in Somerset West and installed the kids sandbox back home, but the best part of the day was actually the morning, which we decided to kick off with an impromptu breakfast at the historic (and now Anglo American owned) Vergelegen Wine Estate.

IMG_20150706_121235 chantelle and craig lotter at vergelegen wine estate in somerset west

If you aren’t familiar with this historic wine estate, Wikipedia gives us this (much less lyrical than Vergelegen’s own website of course!):

“The estate was settled in 1700 by an early Governor of the Cape, Willem Adriaan van der Stel. Van der Stel used the resources of his employer, the Dutch East India Company, to improve the estate, and in 1706 a number of free burghers at the Cape drew up a formal memorandum complaining about van der Stel’s illegal activities. This memorandum contains some of the earliest images and descriptions of the estate. As a consequence of the free burghers’ complaints, van der Stel and other officials were sacked, and three-quarters of the original Vergelegen estate was sold off, drastically reducing the size of the property.

In 1798 the estate was sold to the Theunissen family, who planted extensive vineyards and concentrated on the production of grapes until an infestation by the phylloxera louse in the late nineteenth century wiped out most of Vergelegen’s grape production.

In 1917 Vergelegen was purchased by the millionaire mine magnate Sir Lionel Phillips as a present for his wife Florence. She remodeled aspects of the house and planted the magnificent gardens, but removed the few remaining acres dedicated to grapes.

IMG_20150706_123459 vergelegen wine estate in somerset west

Following the death of Lady Phillips the estate was purchased by the Barlow family, and Charles “Punch” Barlow oversaw the reintroduction of limited planting of grapes. However, by the time Anglo American bought the property from Barlow’s son in 1987, no grapes were being cultivated.

Anglo American concentrated on the production of high-quality wines from Vergelegen. The first vintage under the company’s stewardship was harvested in 1992. Within ten years the estate was recognised as producing some of South Africa’s finest wines, with the cabernet sauvignon blend Vergelegen, single-vineyard cabernet sauvignon Vergelegen V and semillon/sauvignon blanc blend Vergelegen White regularly achieving a maximum five stars in John Platter’s annual Guide to South African Wines.

Vergelegen’s Cape Dutch house, gardens and winery are open to visitors. Interesting features of any visit include a trip up the mountain to the winery plant, and a walk under the vast Camphor laurels (Cinnamomum camphora) planted by Willem van der Stel in about 1705 which have been declared a protected provincial heritage site. The winery is uniquely shaped in an octagon form that is mirrored on the vineyard’s labels.”

IMG_20150706_105052 breakfast at vergelegen wine estate in somerset west

Breakfast was of course amazing (always is – as is the lunch which we enjoyed on our wedding anniversary last year!), but this was the first time that we took the time out to wander around the estate, visit the museum house, ponder over the slavery issue highlighted by the fact that this was once one of the largest slave populations outside the Cape Town castle, stroll over the bridge and through the small forest, and take in the beautiful, ancient and majestic trees dotted around the estate.

IMG_20150706_124645 chantelle lotter in the forest at vergelegen wine estate in somerset west

What a truly enjoyable morning out and about, and certainly a great way to start one’s leave! :)

Related Link: http://www.vergelegen.co.za/

Photo Gallery: Emily and Chantelle Return Home (2014-01-16) Photo Gallery 16 JAN 2014

Eventually Chantelle’s lovely rest break at the hospital had to come to an end – which of course translates to “Yay, Emily is coming home!” time.

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And so far so good, Jessica has been pretty good with the new addition to the family. Hopefully this lasts…

Photo Gallery: Emily and Chantelle in Hospital (2014-01-14) Photo Gallery 14 JAN 2014

Chantelle and Emily stayed the required three nights at hospital following the successful cesarean section operation on the Monday morning. Naturally, I paid them plenty of visits over that period – even taking Jess along every now and then too!

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Chantelle enjoyed the rest break (no baking!) and the food, not to mention the visitors, while I enjoyed holding Emily for the first time.

One truly does forget just how small these little guys first come out!

Photo Gallery: The Birth of Emily Jane Lotter (2014-01-13) Photo Gallery 13 JAN 2014

On the 13th of January 2014, 08:14, via a Cesarean Section performed by the awesome Dr. Jane La Grange at Mediclinic Vergelegen in Somerset West, little Lotter #2, weighing in at a healthy 3.53 kg, was brought kicking and screaming into this world – say hello to miss Emily Jane Lotter.

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Things didn’t quite go according to plan though mind you, Emily did have some fluid on the lungs as a result of the procedure, and as such over-nighted in the NICU (Still that’s a lot better than what poor Jessica had to undergo when she arrived a fair bit ahead of schedule, so I have to say, we’re getting better!).

She also struggled a little with weight loss for the first few days, but other than all that, we’ve been blessed with a very healthy baby girl, with a gorgeous full head of dark hair and a very wise little face.

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In other words, awesome.

An Emily Update My Life 10 JAN 2014

So the end of the road is finally in sight – this coming Monday, 13 January 2014, Chantelle and I will be welcoming into this world our little Emily, in all likelihood the last addition to our little branch of the Lotter Clan.

It’s been a long nine months and Chantelle has certainly struggled this last month and a half, thanks to the general uncomfortableness associated with pregnancy, and of course the soaring heatwave that Cape Town experienced for much of the December holiday period.

Pleasingly, unlike the previous pregnancy with Jess, and despite the little scare with Chantelle’s earlier car crash, there were absolutely no complications this time around – meaning that Chantelle has carried Emily all the way through to full term, and in the process affording her the full experience of being pregnant.

Mind you, she’s ready for Emily to come out now – it’s been a little too tiring and uncomfortable these last few weeks!

Needless to say, we’re a little bit apprehensive for the upcoming c-section operation on Monday morning (08:00!) – unlike last time when it was a medical emergency and there was no time to really given anything much thought, this time around we’ve got a very nervy Sunday evening to ponder on the big event lying in wait for us. Doubt much sleep will be had by the either of us in other words!

On another note, I must say that I’m pleased that we’re in Vergelegen this time around – they really are one of the better baby-friendly hospitals around, and we’re looking forward to the experience based on what they showed us during the earlier facilities tour (thankfully they’ve now fully restored functionality following the flooding that hit the area early December last year).

All in all, it’s really an exciting time again, and despite the long hours and loads of work coming our way, I CAN’T wait to see my new baby girl and hold her in my arms already! :)

pregnant chantelle lotter showing off her belly

(Looks like January is certainly going to be the month of birthdays in the family. In addition to little Emily, my sister Claire and her husband Riley just welcomed their second son, Grayson into the world a week ago on the 2nd of Jan this year, and then of course my brother Ryan celebrates his birthday towards the tail of January. Presents, presents, presents!)

Getting Heavier by the Day Jessica | My Life 22 FEB 2011

Well the good new is that little Jessica is still growing at the pace of a Concorde in flight – and we now have an excellent paediatrician close to home.

Bwa ha ha ha ha. Now I am well on my way to becoming Jesszilla!

On to the stats. According to the latest doctor’s measurements, Jessica now clocks in at a length of 55 centimetres, with a head diameter of 38 centimetres, and weighs in at an impressive 3.9 kilograms (good stuff that mommy’s milk, eh?).

As for the paediatrician, Dr. Peter White operates out from Vergelegen Medi-Clinic hospital in Somerset West, making him about 15 minutes away from us if we need to get to him in a hurry. We were pointed in his direction by Laluna, who has been using him for years for her own daughter, and now that Chantelle has her first visit to him under her belt (Thanks to the parent-in-laws for the monetary assist – they felt just as strongly about getting a second opinion on Jessie’s umbilical hernia as Chantelle did), we can see exactly why she likes him so much.

Friendly, competent, straight to the point, and most important of all – thorough. He had an answer for all of Chantelle’s questions and at the end of the day she just has a really good feeling about him.

(And we learned a whole lot more about babies in the process).

And all of this is particularly good news because despite all the good work that Dr. Edson and the Kuilsriver Netcare hospital have done for us in getting Jessica to this point, having to drive out each and every time to Kuilsriver was becoming a real pain and difficult to maintain.

In other words, a new baby care chapter has now officially been opened.