Groote Post, the beautiful historic farm owned by the Pentz family, entices wine aficionados, gastronomes and nature-lovers alike to escape on a country meander and head up the West Coast for a day to remember. With a wide arrange of ever-popular wines, an award-winning restaurant serving modern country cuisine, a private game camp, monthly country markets, spectacular views and nature walks, a visit to Groote Post is certainly a must.
Only an hour’s drive from Cape Town, Groote Post presents a rustic and rural atmosphere with undulating hills and vast open spaces. Bring the whole family and soak up the rich heritage, inimitable charm and country hospitality synonymous with this family estate.
POST’S THREE WINE RANGES
GROOTE POST’S THE OLD MAN’S BLEND RANGE
The Old Man’s Blend Range came into being in 2001 at the behest of Groote Post’s ‘Old Man’, Peter Pentz, who asked the family to blend him a red wine to enjoy as his winter evening tipple. This wine became The Old Man’s Blend Red and The Old Man’s Blend White was subsequently added to the range.
Groote Post’s The Old Man’s Blend White 2014 is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (60%), Chenin Blanc (30%) and Semillon (10%). This Sauvignon Blanc based summer wine is fresh and zesty and brimming with citrus and grapefruit. The Chenin Blanc and Semillon components lend intensity and depth to the wine. The three varietals that make up the blend are kept separate throughout the winemaking process and then blended in different ratios until the final blend meets The Old Man’s approval. Winemaker, Lukas Wentzel, proudly states that “this wine is sure to become a-terrific-value-for-money-crowd-pleaser” – and at a retail price of around R64, this is a bargain which is hard to beat!
Groote Post’s The Old Man’s Blend Red 2014, which retails at approximately R68, is a blend of Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%), Shiraz (20%) and Cabernet Franc (10%). It is an easy-drinking soft and smooth blended red wine. White pepper, spice and raspberry are prominent on the nose with soft and ripe tannins giving an elegant finish. During the winemaking and 10 months wood maturation, the cultivars are kept apart, and The Old Man, Peter Pentz, takes part in rigorous tasting sessions to decide on the final blend.
Groote Post’s The Old Man’s Blend range comprises seriously good wines at seriously good prices. Sporting stylish packaging, these wines are available nationally at leading wine retailers and select restaurants.
GROOTE POST RANGE
Groote Post Brut Rosé:
A non-vintage classic blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, it is an elegant salmon-hued Cap Classique with a fine creamy mousse, gorgeous notes of crushed strawberries and raspberries and a silky smoothness on the palate.
Approximate retail price: R110
Groote Post Chenin Blanc 2014:
“The 2014 vintage didn’t disappoint and gave us the almost perfect conditions to produce this lovely fruit-driven wine,” says winemaker, Lukas Wentzel. This is a bright, full-styled Chenin with strong guava and green apple flavours. A lively freshness is underpinned by a very good length and body on the palate. Excellent value for money.
Approximate retail price: R63
Groote Post Sauvignon Blanc 2014:
This vintage produced a big crop so we started picking earlier and this gave us a wide spectrum of flavours from green to ripe. After sorting, de-stemming and crushing, 50% of the grapes had skin contact. Usually only the free run juice is used in this wine, but this year the pressed juice was of good enough quality to also make up a component. The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and left on the lees for 2 months Gooseberries are the standout fruit of this vintage. Ripe figs, granadilla and gooseberry abounds on the nose and palate. This vintage is fruit driven with a vibrant acidity and a hint of grass on the finish.
Approximate retail price: R84
Groote Post Unwooded Chardonnay 2014:
This year the berries were small and the bunches compact, producing amazing fruit. The unwooded style of Chardonnay is about maintaining freshness; therefore the grapes need to be kept at 14° - 18˚C in the cellar. The wine spent 3 months on the lees to add weight and depth. The wine has lovely citrus and lime tones on the nose. This vintage is made in a fresher, leaner style than before. The palate has a honeyed structure and the wines balanced acidity will see the wine ageing well in the bottle for a good year or two. The wine “stands proud without oak”, according to the 2015 Platter’s Wine Guide.
Approximate retail price: R84
Groote Post Riesling 2014:
The grapes were de-stemmed and left on the skins for 6 hours. Only the free-run juice from the press was used for fermentation in the stainless steel tanks. The fermentation was stopped at a sugar level of 12g/l by cooling down the wine to 5˚ C. This wine displays beautiful rose petal and peach fragrances on the nose, with ginger and spice tantalising the palate. The wine has a long, lingering aftertaste. This vintage is slightly drier than the previous although still classed as off-dry.
Approximate retail price: R79.
Groote Post Shiraz 2013:
The wine matured for 13 months in 300L oak barrels of which 15% was American oak and 15% new oak. The wine has an invitingly deep red colour and abounds with flavours of blackcurrant and mulberry. The nose displays white pepper and violets while dark fruit and a full array of smoky spices fill the palate. Silky, full bodied, elegant and flavoursome, the wine has excellent ageing potential. “”Text book Shiraz’, according to the 2015 Platter’s Wine Guide which rated this wine 4½ Stars.
Approximate retail price: R117
Groote Post Merlot 2013:
Malolactic fermentation and ageing took place in 300L French Oak barrels. 20% new wood, 50% 2nd fill and 30% 3rd fill. A wine with tremendous balance of fruit, tannin and oak. Ripe plum and mint flavours support a juicy mid palate that lingers and lingers.
Approximate retail price R110
GROOTE POST KAPOKBERG RANGE
“This is our flagship range named after the highest hill on the estate where some of our best grapes are grown”, says Nick Pentz.
Groote Post Kapokberg Sauvignon Blanc 2014:
“A bumper crop this year did not detract from the excellent fruit we harvest from this specific vineyard site. We harvested at 2 different ripeness levels to cover the whole flavour spectrum”, says Lukas Wentzel. The wine has distinctive aromas of capsicum, lime and fig, lovely minerality upfront and lemon zest, lime and green flavours fill the palate, 5 months on the lees imparting impressive palate presence. The wine’s balanced acidity will allow ageing for a good few years. Rated 4½ Stars in the 2015 Platter’s Wine Guide.
Approximate retail price: R125.
Groote Post Kapokberg Chardonnay 2014 (wooded):
Chardonnay grapes, with small berries, from high lying vineyards are left hanging late into the season to become fully ripe. The juice was fermented in 300-litre French oak barrels and aged on the lees for 10 months, 15% new oak and 85% older oak. This wine has an appealing golden straw colour and an enticing nose of toasted farm bread with lashings of butter and zesty lime marmalade. An elegant chardonnay, it is well integrated with the wood and brimming with citrus flavours.
Approximate retail price: R129
Groote Post Kapokberg Pinot Noir 2013:
This is almost a new beginning for us when it comes to Pinot Noir, because of the new Pinot sites and clones that we are starting to use in our blend. Great to work with different components to produce a wine that has more layers and character. The wine was fermented in open barrels and also in stainless steel tanks. The wine spent 12 months in 500-litre French oak barrels - 10% new oak and the rest in older barrels. A delicate musky aroma welcomes you, stemming from the French Oak used. Cherry flavours greet you on the palate accompanied by dried-beef and savoury flavours, rounded off with the taste of fresh herbs. A subtle hint of forest floor underpins the earthy character of the cultivar, yielding an elegant refined and soft wine.
Approximate retail price: R164
Peter and his father, Oupa Nico, bought the historic Groote Post farm in 1972, looking for a cool climate site for their dairy operation, and later added two adjoining farms, including the equally historic Klawervallei. Today the combined farms, Groote Post Vineyards, total 3 000 hectares.
The name Groote Post is derived from the farm’s original status as the largest guarding post in the area, set up to protect cattle and sheep from marauding Khoikhoi stock thieves. A series of restored historic buildings on the estate serve as evocative souvenirs of the farm’s illustrious history dating back to 1706. Co-owner Nick Pentz and his family live in the historic Groote Post Manor House built in 1808. This National Heritage Site was once Lord Charles Somerset’s only genuine ‘shooting box’, and later became the home of well-known author and grande dame of Cape cuisine, Hildagonda Duckitt. On the adjoining historic Klawervallei farm, where all the old buildings are National Heritage Sites, a restored 18th century fort is the home of the Groote Post cellar and wine tasting centre, and Groote Post’s popular Hilda’s Kitchen restaurant is located in the original Klawervallei Manor House. The historic slave bell, depicted on the Groote Post wine labels, is perched on an enormous rock guarding over the wine cellar.
the dairy business to winemaking
When the Pentz family bought the historic Groote Post and adjoining farms, they were dairy farmers and wine wasn’t even a dream.
The Pentz family had been in the dairy business since 1904, when Peter’s grandfather founded the Union Dairy in Cape Town. Dairy herds were established over time, but as the milk distribution business became less attractive, Union Dairy was sold, freeing up Peter and Nick Pentz to concentrate on the production of milk. Peter Pentz pioneered the commercial importation of cattle semen into South Africa in the early eighties, establishing their semen business, Groote Post Genetics, in 1985.
Fortunately for the wine industry, dairy farming is as terroir “driven” as the wine industry. Not least is the requirement for a cool climate (just like wine) and fertile soils to produce healthy grazing for milk cows. Groote Post farm, in a verdant valley set back from the barren Cape West Coast coastal fynbos, was the perfect dairy farm. The Pentz family were unaware at the time of the rich wine-growing potential in the hills above. However, Peter Pentz is a man of vision and by 1992, after extensive soil testing of the entire 5 300-hectare farm, they identified the best areas and aspects of the farm and during the 1990s planted 117 hectares of noble cultivars. Meticulous and deeply thoughtful farming, with continual upgrading and modification of the vineyards, has seen the Groote Post wine estate, viticulturally, mature into one of the best in the area.It was the move, in the late 1990s, to winemaking that precipitated the Pentz family’s extrication from the milk business. “Nobody has ever told me they like my creamy milk, as they do with the Groote Post wines”, says Peter Pentz, explaining the emotional decision to sell off this West Coast farm’s famous Holstein herd. “It was the biggest auction of a single herd ever held in SA, possibly the world” says Pentz. Peter Pentz was honoured for his exceptional contribution to the dairy industry when he was awarded National Farmer of the Year in 1998 as well as the World Dairy Expo’s International Person of the Year in 2001. His citation, signed by George W Bush, mentioned his pioneering role in introducing imported semen to SA, and called him ‘a visionary’ and ‘progressive, committed, successful’. “All qualities”, according to the John Platter South African Wines 2003, “he and his son Nick are bringing to bear on their vineyards here in the Darling Hills, 6km from the Atlantic Ocean”
Vineyards and wine cellar
Groote Post’s philosophy is to produce only the best grapes, concentrating on quality rather than quantity, resulting in the best wine.
The 107 hectares of vineyard plantings, meticulously cared for by viticulturist Jannie de Clerk, are all on the south-facing upper slopes of the Kapokberg and surrounding hills, overlooking the icy Atlantic Ocean. Vineyard altitudes vary from 200m to 450m above sea level. The prevailing summer south-easterly winds keep the vineyards cool throughout the warm summer months. Although soils are deep with good water retention, irrigation was installed a few years ago to alleviate vine stress during the hotter periods in summer.
The 500-ton wine cellar, attuned to a low-intervention winemaking philosophy, was built in 1999. The philosophy of excellence in the vineyards has been carried through to the cellar where only the best 450 tons are vinified by winemaker, Lukas Wentzel, with the remaining grapes being sold off.
Hilda’s Kitchen Restaurant at Groote Post
Groote Post’s well-loved and award-winning Hilda’s Kitchen restaurant - named after, and inspired by Hildagonda Duckitt, a grande dame of Cape cuisine, who once lived on the Groote Post farm - offers the finest country hospitality and modern country cooking. Debbie McLaughlin, Hilda’s Kitchen’s highly-esteemed internationally-trained cordon-bleu chef, has established Hilda’s Kitchen as a West Coast oasis, using her culinary creativity to devise delectable seasonal menus using locally sourced produce including Groote Post’s very own home-grown lamb, beef and venison, and the freshest veggies and herbs from their own garden. The menu, which changes daily, is designed to complement the outstanding range of Groote Post wines. Here follows some of the new dishes on the menu, as well as some old favourites:
- Smoked haddock and watercress tart
- Mexican styled salmon salad with avocado, tomato salsa and black beans
- Thai flavoured smoked chicken salad
- Camembert and tomato tart
- Roast beetroot, goat's cheese salad
- Springbok Carpaccio served with a homemade relish
- Blue cheese and caramelized onion tart
- Pork belly with green papaya, roasted peanuts and tomatoes
- Chargrilled chicken with Asian slaw
- Three cheese and Darling gourmet mushroom lasagne
- Spicy lamb pie with pickled beetroot and a fresh mint yoghurt – Groote Post Merlot
- Old Man's steak roll served with garlic crème and hand cut chips
- Penne served with creamy basil pesto sauce
- Slow roast pork belly with plum sauce and noodles
- Lamb paprikash
- Peach Melba tart
- Marsala roasted pears and grapes with farm cream
- Chocolate and pear tart
- Buttermilk tart with coconut ice cream
- Flourless chocolate fudge cake with cream
- Meringue with fresh fruit
All these desserts pair beautifully with Groote Post Riesling. | And there is always at least one ‘kiddie’s meal’ on the menu.
Hilda's Kitchen is the only restaurant to be nominated in more than one category in its region in the 2013 Eat Out guide. The categories are Best Bistro and Best Country Style. This is the fourth year in a row that this restaurant has been nominated in the Best Country Style category.
The sixth sibling of ten, Hildagonda Duckitt was born and raised at Groote Post over a-century-and-a-half ago. Her father was a member of the first Cape Parliament, and consequently numerous high society receptions were hosted at Groote Post. Hildagonda’s celebrated success as a charismatic hostess at these illustrious affairs prompted her to write and publish two books: ‘Hilda’s Where is it of Recipes’ and ‘Hilda’s Diary of a Cape Housekeeper’. These two titles became household names in Victorian England and are presently highly sought-after Africana. Both of these cherished historical manuscripts contain not only Hilda’s treasury of Cape Cuisine at the time, but also delightful cameos of Victorian life. Groote Post can also lay claim to international horticultural associations through Nemesia Strumosa, the seeds of which were sent by Hildagonda Duckitt to the English nurserymen of Suttons who marketed and developed Nemesia into one of today’s most popular bedding varieties. In her Diary, Hilda writes about Groote Post with great affection and evocative nostalgia, referring to the farmstead as her ‘dear old home’, describing the farm as ‘admirably situated …. with a panorama of five hills, on the middle one of which, Capoc Berg ….. is a beacon erected by Sir Thomas Maclear, the then Atronomer Royal …. Standing on that hill one gets a lovely view of the country for almost a hundred miles around’.
Groote Post Game Drives
2014 Klink Wine Tourism Awards, for its ever-popular Game Drive. These consumer-driven awards, where the public decides on who walks away with the ultimate accolade, honour Groote Post as a destination that offers a unique selling point attracting wine tourists to the cellar- door, and celebrate its Game Drive as the most unusual and memorable attraction on a wine farm.
The highly-acclaimed Game Drive in the winery’s bona fide game vehicle affords visitors the opportunity to take in the splendour of their 2000-hectare game camp. Visitors can spot the game to which Groote Post is home, namely: Eland, Kudu, Gemsbok, Bontebok, Springbok, Red Hartebeest, Ostrich, Black Wildebeest as well as Quaggas. For those more inclined towards flora than fauna, one will appreciate the farm’s conservation of natural vegetation, including the highly endangered Swartland Granite Renosterveld, Swartland Shale Renosterveld and Atlantis Sand Fynbos. The Groote Post Renosterveld makes up 4.7% of South Africa’s total area under this type of vegetation. The drive continues through the Groote Post vineyards - including a breathtaking view of Table Mountain from the top vineyard on the Kapokberg – and, of course, to complement the experience, a glass of wine (and other refreshments) is a pre-requisite as you soak up the glory of nature.
Monthly Country Markets
Take a break, round up the family and head out to the country to join the Pentz family in the gardens at Groote Post for their country market on the last Sunday of every month, between 10h00 and 15h00.
The terrace in front of Hilda’s Kitchen and adjacent to the Cellar is a hive of activity, brimming with delicious and beautiful country offerings. Guests can expect artisan foods, arts and crafts, home ware and décor, live entertainment, lots of fun activities for kids, and of course, Groote Post’s well-loved wines. Local is lekker with locals presenting a divine selection of Darling gourmet produce including mushrooms, burgers, breads, cheese, cured meats, olive oils, preserves and much more - to enjoy at the market or take home. Kids can enjoy the rolling lawns, playground, tractor trips and guided horse rides. All Groote Post’s wines are available for tasting and purchase. As a special treat, Nick Pentz and winemaker Lukas Wentzel have launched a Groote Post Rosé made exclusively for the farm’s monthly market visitors. In addition, visitors can also opt to lunch at Hilda’s Kitchen, the estate’s popular restaurant.
Entry to the Groote Post Country Market is free of charge.
Groote Post Country Market dates for 2015:
26 April, (please note that the market will be closed for three months over winter), 30 August, 27 September, 25 October, 29 November and 27 December.
For further information visit: www.grootepostcountrymarket.co.za.
visit to Groote Post
In addition to a wide range of award-winning wines, Hilda’s Kitchen’s superb culinary experience and Game Drives through the private game camp and vineyards, Groote Post also offers:
A child-friendly area with a jungle gym and
= Spectacular views of the Atlantic coast and Table Mountain;
= Nature walks
= Bird-watching in the hide on the dam
= Magnificent West Coast flowers in spring
= Groote Post is also a popular wedding venue
Opening hours and bookings
Groote Post is one of the few wine cellars, let alone wineries with restaurants, open on Sundays in the Darling district and surrounding wine routes.
Open for lunch Wednesday
to Sunday (Booking essential)
Wine-tasting and sales
Open Monday to Friday:
08h00 - 17h00
to Sunday starting at 10h00
Groote Post closed
Easter Friday, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day