Over the years, when visiting one of our favourite wine estates,Thelema, in the Cape region, it was clear major ground works were going on in the estate across the road. Massive bouldered retaining walls emerged like the fabled Hanging Gardens.
The estate was Delaire, formerly home to the Platters who wrote the respected Wine Guide, and purchased in 2003 by Laurence Graff, Chairman of Graff Diamonds Int. who envisioned creating great wines, a great restaurant and a great garden full of sculptures.
Curiosity led me to a tour of the gardens, designed by well-known South African gardening guru, Keith Kirsten, winner of many gold medals at Chelsea.
It was clear from the winding drive alone that the standard of planting and maintenance is spectacular.
Indigenous plants such as Cycads, Agapanthus, Strelitzias and Dietes grandifolia are massed in vast numbers to give luscious colour 365 days of the year.
Over 300, mainly indigenous, trees, plants and shrubs have been planted – milkwoods, yellowwoods and scented hedges of camellias.
Laurence Graaf may be the “King of Diamonds”, but he is also a well respected art collector and sculptures abound in the garden as well as wonderful paintings throughout the restaurant and Lodge.
There are water features, rills and reflective pools, all very welcome in the heat of the African sun.
This is a truly luxurious place to stay and breathtakingly pretty for lunch. The vineyards are on some of the best soil in the area, with cooling breezes, and the wines have been winning many awards.
If you are visiting the Cape wine region, try to book a table for lunch or, at the very least, drive up to the reception and gaze at one of the most beautiful views in the Cape region.
More here : Delaire Graaf wine estate.