It is so rare to be able to do a cellar tour with a member of the family that owns a wine estate. Most estates get too big and then they employ staff to do the cellar tours. A cellar tour is always interesting as everyone wants to learn about how wine is made, however there is something so special in getting to know the history of the estate from the family as well as getting the opportunity to learn about the production of wine.
La Petite Ferme was opened as a restaurant in 1984 by John and Carol Dendy Young. The Dendy Youngs could not have chosen a prettier location – on top of the mountain with sweeping views of the Franschhoek valley below. John personally oversaw the choice of vines to be planted on the estate.
He starts the tour outside among the vines talking about the choice of varietals and route stock, as well as the history of their journey from food into wine.
The tour then moves down to the cellar. This is a wonderful cellar to do a cellar tour as the estate is a small boutique winery – as such the cellar is small and intimate, with many of the processes of wine making still being done by hand. John takes you through the stories of how the wine is made by his son – Mark Dendy Young – John is however very much on hand during harvest and during the wine making process to assist. Today the ownership of the property has been transferred to Mark and his wife Josephine.
A highlight of the cellar tour is the opportunity to do barrel tastings – very few estates offer barrel tastings anymore………..and it is great fun to do it!
Once you have tasted the wine – John encourages you to pour the contents out into the cellar – the theory is that you are assisting with keeping a humid environment – something that is necessary for stopping the barrels from drying out!
From the cellar you head up to the bar area to try the end products!
It would be a mistake to not book for lunch after the cellar tour. La Petite Ferme has been a consistently good restaurant since it opened. The views from the restaurant are amazing and it is our absolute favourite thing to start the lunch sitting on the lawn enjoying the view and drinks. From here you order your food and once it is ready they call you to your table. After lunch we always settle back onto the lawn for the afternoon. La Petite Ferme only opens for lunch – so there is no rush to move on. Don’t plan to spend a short time at this magical spot! Note that during summer this restaurant is very popular – so make sure you book your cellar tour and lunch well in advance. The cellar tour starts at 11am and is free if you are staying for lunch and R50 per person if you are only coming for the cellar tour. For more details visit the La Petite Ferme Website or call them on +27 (0)21 876 3016 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Note that on days that John cannot do the tour – his son – the winemaker – Mark – does the tours.) Ps John has written his own book – make sure you buy it while you are there and he will sign it!
Ps 2 La Petite Ferme is child friendly and has child meal options on their menu. The cellar tour is suitable for older kids as it is fascinating to learn the process of wine making!
Just a few foodie pics to whet your appetite!
Relaxing at La Petite Ferme – my favourite thing!