Grand Delade, Grand Beauty

Grand Dedale

A few years ago in the early 2000’s I decided to visit the Winery of Doolhof in a corner of the Groenberg Mountains just behind the small town of Wellington, in South Africa’s Western Cape, about an hours drive form Cape Town. Wellington itself is a quirky little place – a beautiful church watches over it from the top end of town (as well as an impressive statue of famous Scottish Engineer, Alexander Murray), and remnants of a Victorian inspired era are clearly visible, such as the Queen Victoria Arch (built to commemorate her visit in the late 1800’s). One quickly realizes that you’re in the heart of a farming community, a pretty ancient one at that, as bakkie’s (Afrikaans for pickup truck) chug about and the local boer/farmers run about their business, donning their usual attire of rugby shorts and veld shirt.

Grand Dedale Country House Gardens b

Now, nothing out of the ordinary so far…

But when you start to go off piste into the mountain and scout about among this most beautiful of wineland districts, you stumble upon a few extra special Cape Dutch gems. Before even arriving at Doolhof, you pass the pretty farms of Nabygelegen, Dunstone, Amares and Wolvenpaas, to name a few – all of  which produce some excellent wines in an area that you would be fooled for thinking was too hot for the growth of great vines, and making of fine wines. I say ‘Farms’, and not Estates, deliberately, as to really understand the history and psyche of the Cape regions, you need to recognize that first and foremost, these were, and still are, important farming communities dating back to the 1700’s.

Once up the track past Wolvenpaas Farm (itself a dreamy spectacle of a bygone era) you bend your way up towards Doolhof (Afrikaanse for labyrinth). Now back in the early 2000’s, this farm had been purchased by a British entrepreneur, Dennis Kerrison. With new vines having been planted in 1993, the old stables converted into a winery (of note I should add), Dennis set about renovating the old Cape Dutch Manor House, Grand Dedale…. Wow, what a job they did!  The moment you set eyes on it, the landscaped position on where it’s seated, and meet the charming managing couple Angelo & Tina Casu, you’ll be wrapped. This place is of Utopian beauty in the 21st century, with contemporary features elegantly re-defining a very special and historic dwelling. With only 6 suites, and a honey-moon annex, this is very much a boutique hotel. Beautifully and tastefully furnished, with a pool you can actually do ‘lengths’ in, a discreet in-house restaurant service which is tailored to the individuals desires, you couldn’t find a better place to retreat from the daily stresses the world throws at us.. Peaceful, picturesque, and pretty darn magical if you ask me..

Today, Grand Dedale continues its warm and special hospitality, and the farm has gone from strength to strength in its wine award winning quest to prove itself as one of the best in the region. If you’re looking for a piece of historic and luxurious Cape, you couldn’t wish for a better destination. I can’t wait to return…


About the Author
Richard is the Founding MD of Greatest Africa & Richard Hilton Vineyards. He lives in Somerset West with his wife and two daughters. He is passionate about the Cape, travel, global wines, wine education and sharing his experiences of this beautiful country that he calls home.