Visitors to Van Loveren can expect a novel wine experience following the opening of the renowned Robertson Wine Valley estate’s brand new tasting venue in mid-November. The cellar owned by the Retief family was one of the very first in the region to present wine tastings for visitors. Now, embracing both innovation and tradition, the family once again takes the lead by extending the wine tasting horizons of wine lovers by promising a refreshingly different wine experience.
“This extension represents a significant investment in the region’s wine tourism and helps to establish a home for our brand – a place where wine lovers can relax,” says Van Loveren CEO Phillip Retief. “Our goal is to offer something for every visitor. The new tasting venue and bistro that opened its doors in December 2011, in addition to the rich history of the farm that finds expression in the gardens, creates the ideal environment where wine lovers and their families can spend many leisurely hours.”
From a regional perspective, the fertile Robertson Wine Valley has itself become a wine tourism leader as a result of popular festivals such as Wine on the River and Robertson Slow. And Van Loveren remains one of the most beloved destinations in this region. “Since we sold our first bottle of wine in 1980, a Premium Grand Cru, for R1.50, the feedback has been that people return again and again as a result of the generous and personal reception they experience here,” says Phillip. “My grandmother Jean was well-known for her hospitality, her stories and the trees that she and my grandfather Hennie planted to commemorate special family occasions or important historic events. We still strive to have one of the Retief cousins here every Saturday to welcome our guests.”
Incorporating the famous Van Loveren gardens, the new tasting venue has been designed with 6.5m high glass panels. The wheelchair-friendly venue extends onto a lovely shaded wooden deck – an ideal space to seek shelter during the valley’s hot summers – which overlooks the Rhus Lancea, the well-known entwined tree planted here in 1941 and which gave the new Van Loveren wine range its name – Tangled Tree.
“increasingly Consumers seek more than a traditional wine tasting. They prefer new experiences, want to experiment and to involve all their senses,” explains Van Loveren marketing manager Bonita Malherbe. “Different things motivate people to visit a wine estate and we want to give people a vibrantly different wine and outdoor experience as a way of encouraging them to spend the day.”
There are a number of experiences to be enjoyed at Van Loveren.
Food and wine pairings take on a whole new dimension: think wine and charcuterie, wine with nougat and nuts, chocolate and wine, and even child-friendly and alcohol-free tasting platters that will both challenge and entice the senses. The comprehensive farm experience is augmented by daily cellar tours that include tank and vat tastings, guided garden tours and a shopping spree in the deli where such regional products as olives, olive oil, cheese, meats, preserves and quinces are available.
The Ultimate Wine Discovery tasting takes you on a thrilling three-hour wine journey along a variety of flavour stations, complemented by visual and sound elements, with information about the ins and outs of food and wine pairing and how wine should ideally be tasted. Savour six specially prepared canapés with wines from the Christina van Loveren range.
For lovers of the great outdoors, a 15km and 6km mountain bike route across the river and through the vineyards awaits – bring your own bike or simply rent one on the farm. Or set out on a meander along the upgraded Fish Eagle hiking route where different theme boards inform walkers about the rich biodiversity of this environment where sustainable farming is first priority.
The already popular Christina’s @ Van Loveren, a bistro offering delectable pizzas and burgers, is open six days a week (closed on Tuesdays) for lunch and breakfast on weekends. The wine tasting venue has been operating for seven days a week since December 2011 with extended seasonal opening hours.
Van Loveren is in the hands of the third generation Retiefs, a family of wine lovers with six wine ranges: Van Loveren, Christina Van Loveren, Papillon, Five’s Reserve, Four Cousins and the new eco-friendly range dubbed Tangled Tree that includes a Tropical Sauvignon Blanc, Butterscotch Chardonnay, Moscato Rosé, Chocolate Cabernet Sauvignon and Spicy Shiraz.
Book for the Ultimate Wine Discovery at firstname.lastname@example.org – no bookings necessary for the other activities. Visit www.vanloveren.co.za for more information or follow Van Loveren on Twitter @vanloverenwines or @5thcousin.