The picturesque vistas of the Franschhoek Valley are just as famous as its food and wine offering. In fact, so ambrosial are these two facets of this corner of the world, it’s no coincidence that the reasons your eyes pop at the beauty of the natural surrounds and that your tastebuds dance when they sip on wine or taste fare from such a setting, are the same.
This link was pertinent to the new owners when they acquired the farm in 2012. The 2000 hectre grounds are steeped within one of the most diverse and beautiful eco-systems on earth, with nutrient dense soils dating back some 1000 million years ago, the Cape Floral Kingdom, a fact that was the starting point for the extensive through-the-line refurbishment.
'The impetus for us taking a holistic approach to revamping the farm was that agriculture is an important part of the Cape economy and Boschendal with its 2000 hectares is ideally suited to contribute to this. We also realised that the best way for us to share the incredible heritage and environment of the farm is through an accommodation and hospitality offering,' says co-owner Sam Lundie.
And so began a multi-faceted approach that started from the ground up, namely, the adoption of regenerative farming techniques to improve the soil quality. The implementation of cover crops in the vineyards, clearing of alien vegetation, the rearing of a herd of free-to-roam, pasture-reared Angus cattle and a free-range chicken coop, all aiding this. A large number of indigenous fruit trees were planted as well the formation of a five-acre organic food garden designed by Jan Blok. Where all of this behind-the-scenes activity really comes into its own however is in the hospitality offering.
'Our whole approach about farming holistically is to provide an opportunity for the public to see and eat food produced within the confines of a single estate.' - Sam Lundie
On the accommodation side, the 22 self catering Werf and Orchard cottages, once old farm worker’s homes, were renovated by architect Phillip Briel - who also designed the new Olive Press conference and function venue- and refurbished by interior designers Graham Viney and Danella Conti.
The Werf Restaurant is the current darling of the Winelands culinary scene, where chef Christiaan Campbell's gastronomic alchemy is thanks in most part to the quality ingredients grown on the farm. The elegant design of the restaurant, spear-headed by Spanish designer Lazaro Rosa-Violan, includes its orientation towards the bountiful food garden, making the experience one of 'what you see is what you eat', a mantra suited to much of the ethos here. The new wine-tasting venue (the chocolate and wine pairing experience an absolute treat), the new butchery serving cuts and cures of the resident Angus cattle, the farm shop of locally-made goods as well as the more informal deli, all complete the hospitable experience of the farm.
Despite it's convoluted history, Boschendal's creating a new legacy of ethical food production and its sharing. The full potential of this however, to be realized in decades to come. We'll toast to that!