From the Highlands to London
2013. The classically-styled St Clement’s is a picturesque place to tie the knot. The locallymade stained glass windows allow plenty of natural light to flow into the chapel, tinted by ornately painted vines and the bright colours that spread across each windowpane. The chapel can seat up to 100 guests on locallymade wooden pews, which complement the stone interior to perfection. The imposing, yet charming organ was made in Germany over 40 years ago, and is now being regularly used to notify guests that blushing brides are on their way down the chapel’s aisle. A Warm Reception Once the ceremony is complete, guests are guided to the function venue, which is about 200 m from the chapel. The dining area is light and bright, with high thatched ceilings, creating the kind of relaxed elegance that some pay wedding planners thousands of Rands to replicate. The subtle influences of Cape heritage mean that nostalgia, modernity and minimalism effortlessly come together to give the reception room a unique feel.
Drinks and canapés can be served on the veranda, which is fitted with lights and speakers so guests can mix and mingle, while nibbling on something delicious. As their wine is some of the country’s best, couples who book their weddings at Vondeling are offered the opportunity to buy Vondeling wines at a very competitive rate – and, because you’re on a wine farm, running out of wine is near impossible! A Place to Stay Vondeling and a few select guest houses within a 10 km radius of the estate are able to accommodate up to 100 guests in total. The Vondeling Farm House is the perfect place for the bride and groom to prepare for their special day. The two-storey house can comfortably accommodate 14 people, and the downstairs rooms give the bride and her bridesmaids plenty of light, air and space to prepare themselves for the day ahead.
The groom and his groomsmen can take the upstairs rooms, with the communal area (complete with Dstv) being perfect for some relaxing chill time. The house has Wi-fi and a 20 m swimming pool, as well as a resident Great Dane named Bella, who is more than happy to lend a hand with any task – as long as it involves food.
Vondeling Wines combines every element that couples want for a wedding day with stunning ease, including views of the Paardeberg mountain which are, quite simply, unrivalled.
The Paardeberg Mountain is rich in indigenous fynbos and there are four species that are endemic as well as unique to the area: the Babiana noctiflora, Erica hippuris, Oscularia paardebergenis and Serruria roxberghii. Vondeling is actively involved in preserving and protecting the natural heritage of the area. This manifests itself in many ways, from the estate being a proud member of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative as well as The Paardeberg Sustainability Initiative, which was established by Dr Bridget Johnsen, to Cura, a fund-raising initiative by Vondeling Wines in partnership with WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa), and even to publishing the coffee-table book Fire to Flower, which acts as a species identification field guide for the for the Paardeberg and surrounding areas.. Flora The Vondeling Wines vineyard fans across the slopes and foothills of the Paardeberg Mountains, rich in indigenous fynbos. Both Vondeling’s flagship white and red wines have been named after two of these red data listed plants, namely the Babiana and the Monsonia. In addition, a new, as yet unnamed Micranthus species has been discovered.
Following a fire on the Paardeberg in January of 2011, a botanical survey was commissioned by the Paardeberg Sustainability Initiative (PSI) in collaboration with Vondeling Wines to record the plant species growing on the mountain. The post-fire fynbos regrowth was documented for 18 months through plant collections and photographic records. To date, over 900 species in over 70 families have been collected, and about 10 % of these are listed as endangered. Fauna Not only is the interesting and endangered Fynbos rife in this area, but of course, the wildlife also has a role to play in the ecological system, and therefore also requires protection.
In recent years, a camera trap was installed with the support and assistance of the Cape Leopard Trust. The camera confirmed suspicions that Cape leopard are residing in the Paardeberg Mountains.
The camera trap also photographed some small antelope, a civet cat, a caracul with a dassie kill, porcupines and many baboons… Paardeberg Sustainability Initiative (PSI) The PSI was established by Dr. Bridget Johnsen in 2001 as a response to threats to the biodiversity and natural resources of the Paardeberg.
Through fundraising for various integrated non-profit projects, the PSI seeks to promote sustainability of the greater Paardeberg area. The PSI also encourages local profitable enterprises to contribute generously and tax-efficiently to a central fund that is managed by the Board of Directors of the PSI. Wines Even though Vondeling is so well known for its conservation initiatives as well as wedding functions, its main product is still its wine. There’s a 50/50 red to white varietal ratio on the farm, with a distinctly Mediterranean slant when it comes to more recent plantings.
The white wine varieties include Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Muscadel, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, while the red wine varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Grenache Noir, Merlot, Mourvèdre and Shiraz.
Vondeling is not only a beautiful destination where conservation flourishes, it is also a great treat for all wine lovers and the perfect place for a perfect wedding. For more information on the destination, the conservation efforts, or the wedding functions, visit www.vondelingwines.co.za.