Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  29 Aug 2011

HOSPITALITY: Major Investment At Vergelegen


Recent Western Cape Business News

The grande dame of premier South African wine estates, Vergelegen in Somerset West, is undergoing a facelift.  

The estate is enjoying a R20 million upgrade of its hospitality assets as a long-term investment in positioning the estate.

The improvements include a new wine tasting centre, a new bistro-style restaurant and revamping the existing Vergelegen Restaurant into a premier culinary destination.

Vergelegen MD Don Tooth said that the estate was bought from the Barlow family by the current owner, Anglo American, in 1987. The existing buildings underwent low-key refurbishing in 1990 for hospitality use, and thereafter investment focused on the staff and service levels.

“The estate has now developed a reputation for service excellence and has received numerous awards from wine and tourism bodies,” he said. “The appearance and structure of some of our offerings has, however, become somewhat dated.  The original concept has limited relevance to our current competitive position.

“We decided to review our overall hospitality assets as an entity rather than as different components.  After careful consideration and receiving expert architectural, heritage and environmental opinion, we received Board approval to go ahead for the long-term benefit of the estate.”

The renovations include:
.       The new wine tasting centre: Building is currently underway with interior design starting during the first week of November.  Opening is planned for mid-December in time for the main tourism season.
.       The Bistro Restaurant: This area was originally a horse stables and was adapted to house the gift shop, wine tasting centre and an interpretive centre. It is now being developed into an informal bistro-style restaurant
that will maximise its views of the magnificent Hottentots Holland mountains. Builders are already on site, with handover to the interior design company planned for the first week of November. The opening is also
scheduled for mid- December.
.       Vergelegen Restaurant: The existing restaurant was established in the former dowager house of the estate, with minimal changes to the interior, leading to layout and kitchen constraints. The plan is to develop it into a leading culinary destination with more facilities for private functions and increased outside seating.

Provided that the new bistro-style restaurant is up and running, building on the Vergelegen Restaurant should start on 15 December, with the opening planned for April 2012.  

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