Van Loveren Family Vineyards have something to offer for everyone, from wine tasting to birding and biking. Here’s seven reasons why Van Loveren should be on your itinerary when you are next in Robertson.
There are many wine farms in the Robertson Wine Valley, each with their own charm and story to tell. However, if you are looking for an affordable, family-friendly option at a winery that has been in the same family for over eighty years, then you should pay Van Loveren Family Vineyards a visit.
Built on three generations of proudly South African entrepreneurial spirit and genuine hospitality, Van Loveren Family Vineyards have something to offer for everyone, from wine tasting to birding and biking. Here’s seven reasons why Van Loveren should be on your itinerary when you are next in Robertson.
Wine tasting and pairing
The Retief family has been making wine since they bought the farm in 1937, warmly welcoming visitors to the farm house and tasting rondavel (a converted milk shed). Today the rondavel pays homage to the family’s history, with wine tastings and pairings taking place either in their tasting room or on the deck overlooking the garden. There are a few options to choose from, including:
- Van Loveren Cheese and Wine Pairing
- Tangled Tree Chocolate and Wine Pairing
- Taste of Africa Pinotage Pairing
- Lime Stone Chardonnay Platter
Pairings cost R65, the Papillon Kids Tasting costs R50 and the Non-Alcoholic Tasting is R60. Or you can pop in and taste four of their wines for R20 before choosing a bottle to enjoy.
Take a guided tour through the cellar to see where Van Loveren’s wines are made and learn some of their wine-making secrets. The guided cellar tour costs R60 and includes a tank and barrel tasting.
Cellar tours take place on Mondays through to Fridays (preferably before 11h00) and not on Saturdays or Sundays.
The garden surrounding the winery is the legacy of Jean Retief who, since her arrival in 1939, has planted many trees to commemorate special family, political and historical occasions. Some of the trees and their stories include:
- The Pomegranate tree was one of many that formed a sheep pen next to the homestead when Hennie first arrived on the farm in 1937. It is the oldest and only original tree at Van Loveren.
- In 1949, four year-old Wynand (Jean’s younger son) jumped from a pig-sty and landed in a spike-thorn. Wynand became very ill and had to have an operation. Since both he and his mother cried so much at the time, his grandmother gave Jean a “weeping bottle-brush”.
- When each of her grandsons turned twenty one, Jean planted a Traveller’s Palm for each of them next to the cellar, with the wish that they would travel the world.
Possibly the most famous of all the trees at Van Loveren is the Karee Tree. This was the result of Jean writing to a nursery in Natal, requesting a hardy tree. When the tiny specimen arrived at the Klaasvoogds railway station, the local farmers were all convinced that it was the well-known Karee Tree. Jean, however, insisted that it was a Rhus Lancea. Hennie promptly fetched a Karee branch from the river and planted it next to Jean’s Rhus Lancea. Over the years the two Karees have become intertwined, since neither Jean nor Hennie would remove the one that either of them had planted. Jean always said she sees the trees as a symbol of her and Hennie’s love. It is also the tree behind the Tangled Tree range.
A leaflet detailing all the stories is available from the staff at Van Loveren. You are welcome to do a self-guided tour or join a guided excursion for R60, which includes a glass of bubbly.
Fish Eagle Hiking Trail
This hiking trail offers the ideal way to explore and see some of the Cape’s finest examples of rare fauna and flora. One of the experiences you can enjoy includes hearing the call of fish eagles – a pair have been breeding on the farm since 1995 and their nest can be spotted in a Blue Gum tree by the river. The route offers panoramic views, indigenous vegetation, birdlife and even a special rock formation shaped some 1.3 million years ago.
At a gentle pace the 7.5km trail will take approximately three hours to complete. A permit for R50 is available from the tasting room and tracking poles are also available.
Mountain bike trails
Trail ride enthusiasts have three mountain bike routes to choose from, all offering amazing views of the farm and the valley. The routes range from an easy, scenic route for families to routes of intermediate difficulty that will keep fitter riders occupied for a few hours.
The routes all start and end at the Van Loveren tasting room, where riders can cool down afterwards. Permits (R50) must be arranged in advance if you plan to start the ride before their trading hours. You can bring your own bike or rent one from the farm for R120.
As many as 100 bird species can be spotted in a day along their safe and peaceful birding route. Even senior citizens will find the walk easy-going as there are no obstructions or steep inclines. Plus, the section of the path along the Breede River is shaded by tall blue-gum trees and is pleasantly cool, even in warm weather.
Specialising in thin-crusted, wood-fired pizzas, gourmet burgers and a variety of seasonal chef’s specialities, the Christina’s Bistro allows you to enjoy a meal with a glass of your favourite Van Loveren wine under a shaded pergola. They pride themselves on using local produce, keeping their food-miles to a minimum and all items on the menu are made from scratch. On Sundays, local musicians set the tone for a laid-back afternoon and they also offer picnic baskets and platters. Christina’s is open daily for breakfast and lunch from 09h30 to 15h30.
I spent a very pleasant afternoon at Van Loveren Family Vineyards trying their newly-launched Almost Zero wine range (the Ravishing Rose is my favourite) and was treated to a truly delicious lunch at Christina’s Bistro. Having not visited there before, I loved the gardens, the tree stories, the family history and was impressed with the offerings at the Tasting Room. I am very confident that you will be too!
Contact Van Loveren Family Vineyards
Did you know?
When the Cannas are in bloom, keep a look out for the dark red ones. Wherever you spot them along the roads in Robertson, those vineyards belong to Van Loveren Family Vineyards.
Published June 2019 | Hosted by Van Loveren Family Vineyards