Under the Wentzel family’s care since 2011, this boutique farm in Klaasvoogds West now produces single-vineyard wines (chenin blanc, rosé, pinot noir) along with olives and olive oils. Add to this a pizza oven for pizza-making evenings and a guesthouse nearby, and it certainly adds to the character of this Langeberg area. Jana Wentzel Roodt lets us in on some behind-the-scenes info.
In 2009, we decided that we wanted to buy an olive farm. After a long and extensive search (from Tulbagh to Napier) for a farm with established olive groves in our price bracket, we came to the conclusion that there was nothing on the market.
Then we found Vredelus in the Klaasvoogds West valley. It had old vineyards and orchards that could be cleared, the soil was suitable for olive trees, it was located in beautiful surroundings and included a house, and there was irrigation water under pressure. We fell in love with it.
By 2011, we had bought the farm and the next year, had planted 6 500 olive trees. That left us with 5ha of vineyards. This led to us making wine for the first time in 2014.
What is the story behind the farm?
Vredelus belonged to various families over the years. Apparently 40 to 50 years ago, Vredelus was the farm in the valley. It was where the locals went for Sunday school picnics and outings – but over the years that changed. When we bought it in 2011, the farm was quite run down. The outbuildings were delapidated and the main house needed refurbishment. It was a challenge but an opportunity and we loved every minute.
Why the name Exdiem?
It’s derived from Susjan Wentzel’s maiden surname, Buitendag. Buite is “ex” in Latin and Dag is “Diem”.
Why is the area so conducive to single-vineyard wines?
Due to the micro-climate of our little tucked-away valley in the mountains, the grapes grown here translate into wine with characteristics quite different from those from in the dryer and warmer Breede River Valley.
How did your guesthouse come about?
After my parents moved to Vredelus in 2011, my husband and I desperately wanted to follow suit, so, in 2014, we bought a smallholding 3km away. Because of the ideal setting, with its sweeping panoramic views over the Langeberg, we decided to extend the existing stables, creating a five-bedroom en-suite guesthouse on one side and our private residence on the other. The name Galloway Guest House came from the Galloway cattle that now graze on the farm.
And your pizza-making evenings?
We love having friends and family over for a braai or perhaps a pizza evening. It was just natural to share the fun of making pizza with other guests, too.
What do you enjoy most about living in the area?
The farm, mountains, sunset, full moon, people – everything, actually.
082 453 7253
082 443 7000
Interview: Kirsty Wilkins