Vondeling, meaning ‘foundling’, lies on the slopes of the unspoilt and undiscovered Paardeberg mountain, approximately 45 minutes’ drive from Cape Town. Today, an environmentally sensitive approach to farming and minimal intervention during the winemaking process ensures wine with a distinct fingerprint of origin. Vondeling’s flagship wines, Vondeling Babiana and Vondeling Monsonia, are named after rare species of fynbos that are endemic to the Paardeberg mountain, the home of Vondeling Wines.
As a destination Vondeling includes a historic Cape Dutch homestead, a beautifully appointed tasting room as well as St Clement’s Chapel; a consecrated church and wedding venue.
There are breathtaking views of mountains and vineyards in every direction. It’s a privilege to be able to view the surrounding landscape from the highest peak of the Paardeberg where you’ll find one of the Cape’s original Signal Cannons, which was once used to communicate to farmers that a ship had arrived in Cape Town’s Table Bay Harbour.
The first vintage of Vondeling wines made from our own grapes was in 2005. There are now approximately 100 hectares of vineyard, mostly planted to Mediterranean varietals. Most are planted in granitic soils and on the cooler southwest facing slopes. The older vineyards, which include Sauvignon Blanc planted in 1983 and Chenin Blanc in 1986, have come into perfect balance over the years and provide some of our most valuable fruit. On average, crop yields range between six to eight tons per hectare.
Minimal intervention during the winemaking process ensures wines with a unique ‘fingerprint’ of origin. The day’s fruit, carefully picked in the cool of the early mornings, is transported in lug boxes to a refrigerated storeroom adjoining the cellar where the grapes are cooled down to 6°C. This is followed by destemming and berry sorting by hand. The winery, a cleverly converted milking shed, is equipped with a raised trussed ceiling and open-top stainless steel tanks for extra gentle handling of fruit. Separate vinification of specific blocks and natural fermentations are an integral part of the process. Basket pressing, hand plunging, minimal filtering and no fining also feature in the hands-on approach.
Wines are matured in first-, second- and third-fill French oak barrels in the atmospheric barrel maturation cellar with its thick clay walls and rietdak ceiling.
The Paardeberg Mountain is rich in indigenous fynbos. Notably, 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 this natural heritage. This manifests itself in many ways: from being a Conservation Champion of the WWF, and a proud member of The Paardeberg Sustainability Initiative, which was established by Dr. Bridget Johnsen, to Cura, a fundraising initiative by Vondeling Wines in partnership with WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa); and even to the coffee table book, Fire to Flower, which acts as a species identification field guide for the Paardeberg and surrounding areas.