In 1937, winemaker Hennie Retief purchased a tract of farmland from Goudmyn in the Breede River Valley. A few years later, he married Jean van Zyl who persuaded him to name the farm after one her ancestors who had arrived in the Cape 238 years earlier. Her name? Christina van Loveren.
The elegant title has proven itself to be timeless and today, Van Loveren Family Vineyards – with its flagship restaurant and bistro, Christina’s @ Van Loveren – is a proud and vastly successful South African producer and international exporter of an extensive range of quality wines.
Van Loveren cellar’s formidable repertoire of wines
Located between the towns of Bonnievale and Robertson, approximately 160 kilometres from Cape Town, the modern cellar at Van Loveren produces six different ranges and a total of 40 different wines of good quality and consistency. The Van Loveren range is well known for its affordability and accessibility, while the Four Cousins range – particularly the sweet rosé – has been the educational starting point for many a new wine-drinker. For the more discerning of palates, there is the Christina range of handcrafted reserve wines, many of which are heavyweight award-winners. Van Loveren even has a selection of delicate, fruity sparkling wines (Papillon), easy-drinking, environmentally friendly wines (Tangled Tree), and a conservation themed Five’s Reserve Range, in honour of Africa’s “Big Five”.
Tasting and food pairings at Van Loveren
There’s little that wine cannot be beautifully paired with and Van Loveren’s tasting menu acutely reflects this sentiment with their incredible variety of cheese, chocolate, Olyfberg’s olive products, nuts, charcuterie, and preserve pairings. In fact, Van Loveren has such an extensive variety of food and wine pairings that they have printed a menu to help visitors make their selection, effectively and successfully appealing to every palate and vice.
The estate also offers a lovely variety of spaces in which to sit, relax, and enjoy your food and wine, from the cool, leafy garden of Christina’s Bistro to the winery’s modern dining and tasting room. In any of these spaces, visitors can unwind and sip their way through five Van Loveren wines paired with artisanal cheeses; or the environmentally friendly Tangled Tree range paired with gorgeous melt-in-your-mouth chocolates of a delightful variety of exotic flavours; or the Rhino Run range, which is paired with locally produced charcuterie (supports a worthy cause).
Uniquely, the estate has been named “Family Vineyards” and not only because it is a family-owned, multi-generational effort but also because it is a welcoming destination for families with children of all ages. Even the wine tastings are tailored to include children; of course, instead of wine, they’re given red and white grape juice and a beautiful picture of Van Loveren’s cellars and winery to colour in.
Van Loveren tours and activities
From bird watching, hiking, and MTB trails to garden and cellar tours, Van Loveren Family Vineyards boasts a handsome suite of activities for visitors, so bank on spending the better part of a day here! One of the most charming and unique of these activities is a tour of the thriving and colourful garden that embraces the estate’s cellar and restaurant, Christina’s @ Van Loveren.
Each of the trees in this garden was planted by Jean Retief (Hennie’s wife and ancestor of the farm’s namesake) to mark a special occasion in the country’s or family’s history, be it a grandson’s 21st birthday, or a significant political event. For only R45, you’ll get a glass of the beautiful Christina MCC Brut, a guided tour around the garden, and a ream of fascinating anecdotes about each of the trees and the stories/events they stand testament to.
A must-do for Robertson visitors
A visit to the Robertson valley is not complete without spending at least a few hours at Van Loveren. This beautiful, family-oriented and family-run wine farm truly embraces the spirit of South African winemaking culture and the reverence with which we regard our families. Few, if any other wine farms in the entirety of the Cape can rival the variety Van Loveren has to offer, be it their extensive repertoire of wines, food and wine pairings, indoor/outdoor seating options, and fun family activities and tours.
To book a garden or cellar tour (R55) at Van Loveren Family Vineyards, phone 023 615 1505 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org