From the High­lands to Lon­don

SLOW Magazine - - Contents - Text: Monique Van­der­lin­den Im­ages © Ryan Ab­bott | TCB Me­dia

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.

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