Like many wine farms in Franschhoek, Grande Provence is steeped in history, the estate founded over 300 years ago by fleeing French Huguenots. And while the Manor House still stands, an outstanding example of Cape Dutch architecture, the feel is one of distinct modernity. This, in large part, owed to the presence of some rather impressive bodies of sculpture that occupy the leafy gardens.
Showcasing works by leading and emerging South African artists, there is an extensive and ever-evolving selection of artwork. Anton Smit’s overwhelming heads (part of his Walking Man exhibit) and monumentally sized sculptures, in metal and stone, evoke wonder and awe. Toby Megaw’s clay-modelled, bronze casts of small children are lifelike in their invocation of emotion and movement – a trait he shares with his father’s (Theo Megaw) own works, also displayed. Sam Allerton’s fantastical conceptual sculptures are intriguing, the human/animal figures referencing Allerton’s constant homage to nature and wildlife.
The sculpture garden is just one of the places from where to appreciate Grande Provence’s collection, as The Gallery inside is home to more exquisite pieces, – including paintings, drawings, original prints, sculpture, ceramics, photography and traditional beadwork – from South Africa’s finest artists.
Of course, art appreciation and wine have gone hand in hand for centuries for a reason. Here, the susurrus of the rustling oaks, the grandeur of mountains, and the beauty of the landscaped garden provides the ideal setting from where to savour some delectable wines in summer. Should it be a little more on the cosy side, fear note, as their fireplace blazes in the cooler months.
Tasting options range from introductory samples of wines to wine blending and canape matching. If you’re just starting out, or popping in as part of a wine tram tour, you might opt for the Premium Tasting, Sparkling Tasting, or Flagship Tasting, all of which give you broad overview of what’s on offer. From crisp, fruity Sauvignon Blancs to Unwooded Chenin; a blushing Rose with a nose of berries, and a smooth Zinfandel, there is something to suit every palate. If you’re partial to bubbly, don’t skip out on theirs, both the Brut and Brut Rose MCC delicate and delightful as aperitifs.
Canapes and Dining
Feeling snackish? Opt for the canape pairing (think tempura oysters, tuna tartare, beef tataki and meringue with berries), or get deeply involved with the winemaking process by blending your own wine which you are allowed to take home – a beautiful memento from the day.
Having eaten at The Restaurant on previous occasions, we can wholeheartedly vouch for its merits. Led by Executive Chef, Guy Bennett, the team whips up seasonal lunches and dinners that showcase the region’s best produce. One can settle in for a set course menu (R450.00 per person for lunch, and dinner at R725.00 per person), or simply order ala carte. Expect sublime dishes like Gin cured Franschhoek trout, Karoo lamb, Potato gnocchi with cauliflower and peanut crunch, local line fish with butter-poached mussels, and sweet endings like honey parfait, macadamia crumble, passion fruit sorbet, or a 70% Valrhona fondant served with peanut ice cream, apricot and sesame.
Visiting Grande Provence
Grande Provence is open daily from 10 am – 6 pm. Visitors are welcome to drop in for a wine tasting and stroll around the gardens, but if you’re interested in dining, wine blending or pairings, visit their website to make a booking, email email@example.com or call +27 21 876 8600.
Blog post by: Tarah Darge