Van Loveren is what I think of as a mega-winery. With six wine ranges, and everything from bird watching to hiking and mountain bike routes on the estate, it’s not somewhere you plan to go for a quick visit.
I’ve enjoyed their wines at home – most recently their travel-friendly Tangled Tree eco- range – but had never been to the estate. We visited on the morning of our last day in the valley, and enjoyed a garden tour before settling down to a selection of wine tastings.
The garden has Jean Retief to thank, as she planted a tree for any, and every, life event. Whether it was a child graduating university, her husband falling out of a tree, the end of a war or inauguration of a president – there’s a tree to commemorate it in the garden. The guided tours last 30 minutes and include a glass of bubbly, for R45.
As there are so many wines on offer, Van Loveren has eight tasting options available. Each tasting is tutored, and costs R55 per person. If you’ve been dragged along as a non-wine loving plus one, all tastings are also available as non-alcoholic options. With our group of six, we worked our way through almost everything on offer, with the Chocolate and Tangled Tree Wines and Charcuterie and Rhino Run Wines options proving most popular. There is also a fun and colourful Four Cousins Fiver Party Plate.
With a more conventional indoor tasting room and tables available, we decided to make the most of the garden views and enjoy our pairing plates outside on the deck. Van Loveren is a particularly child-friendly estate, as was evident by the number of families enjoying a Sunday out. We sadly didn’t have time to try the on-site bistro, Christina’s, but it appeared to be hosting a bustling Sunday lunch as we walked past.
Van Loveren’s efforts to make wine accessible can easily be interpreted as them producing low-quality wines, which is not the case. While they do have entry level ranges (with the Four Cousins Natural Sweet Rosé said to be the biggest selling single wine line item in the country), their wines are good quality, with wines from the Christina van Loveren range being consistently awarded four stars in the Platter’s Guide, as well as various Veritas and Michelangelo Gold Awards dotted through all six ranges.
It was lovely finally visiting an estate whose wines I have grown to enjoy so much over the years. We look forward to returning – perhaps for a bite to eat and hike, next time.
We enjoyed our visit as guests of Robertson Wine Valley and Hot Oven Marketing. All views and images are my own.