Nestled in the Helderberg Basin, surrounded by an imposing range of peaks on three sides with False Bay across the plains to the south, Journey’s End is undoubtedly a fitting name for this fine estate.

Journey’s End is by no means the end for FNB Wines2Whales however. Located within the opening kilometers of the standard route and within the final 30 of the Switchback it is one of the farms which the event races through. Their wines are however a fitting way to celebrate any milestone.

The estate’s ethos is one driven by principles of conservation and corporate social responsibility. Not only did they start a food programme, under the Journey’s End Foundation banner, in 2020 but the farm also received WWF Conservation Champion status the following year. The same decomposed granite soils and the micro climate which provide Journey’s End with its unique terroir are also responsible for the evolution of endemic fynbos species. These, in turn, are visited by specialised insects and birds which can only exist in harmony with particular fynbos plants.

In honour of Journey’s End’s continued commitment to sustainable farming and conservation of their native fauna and flora the WWF recognised the estate with their Conservation Champion grade in early 2021. The commitment to sustainability does not end with organic matter, the estate has been run solely off solar energy, since 2014. Journey’s End is also WEITA (Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trade Association) and IPW (Integrated Production of Wine) accredited, and the farm became fully Fairtrade certified from April 2017.

Their wines are made with progressive techniques, both in the vineyards and the cellar, by winemakers Leon Esterhuizen and Mike Dawson. One of Joureny’s End’s signature features is their use of amphorae and concrete eggs for fermentation. This results in a range of complex, classically elegant wines, which remain approachable and easy drinking.

Along with the estate’s Journey’s End range they also produce wines under the Mount Rozier, Identity and Gabb Family Vineyards labels. The farm is currently closed for wine tastings, but wines can be purchase online at www.journeysend.co.za/buy-now.

 

Journey’s End
Location: Journey’s End, Somerset West
Website: https://vergelegen.co.za
Opening Hours: Weekdays 08:30 to 16:00 and Weekends

 

When Vergelegen was established, in 1700, it was truly far from the Cape Colony. Now, 321 years later, it borders on the bustling heart of Somerset West but remains an oasis of wilderness in the Helderberg Basin.

Not only is Vergelegen at the heart of Somerset West, but it also at the heart of FNB Wines2Whales. It is one of the race’s ever-present hosts, having graciously given route access to mountain bikers since the first edition in 2009. In 2021 riders will be excited to note that the Switchback route does not include the imposing Vergelegen climb, but rather the trails undulate in a downhill trend from the farm’s eastern border towards its western marches.

On the race through Vergelegen mountain bikers should be on the look out for the estate’s celebrated wildlife, including bontebok and eland, as well as their free ranging Nguni cattle. While visitors to the heart of the estate can view one of the oldest and best kept examples of historic Cape Dutch architecture. The three-century old homestead with its white washed walls, thatched roof and ornate gables is an icon of the form.

For those looking for a less physical way, than mountain biking, of indulging in the beauty of Vergelegen the estate boasts historic gardens, the opportunity to book a picnic in the forests, meals at the Camphors at Vergelegen or Stables at Vergelegen resultants, and wine tastings. On the wines front, Vergelegen is renowned for their Brut MMV, a 100% Chardonnay dry sparkling wine.

Vergelegen’s wine tasting and restaurants are open seven days a week, from 08:30 to 16:00.
 

Vergelegen
Location: Vergelegen, Somerset West
Website: https://vergelegen.co.za
Opening Hours: Weekdays 08:30 to 16:00 and Weekends

 

Situated high on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountains Idiom Wines boasts an absolutely spectacular view. From its restaurant and tasting room visitors look out across the Helderberg Basin, over False Bay and back at the sweeping curve of the Hottentots Holland Mountain Range.

A traditional final stop before taking on the Gantouw Pass portage Idiom Wines is without a doubt the estate with the most breath-taking view on the FNB Wines2Whales route.

Outside of FNB Wines2Whales the trails on the property are off limits to mountain bikers, but outdoors enthusiasts can visit for an immersive sensory walk in Idiom’s Varietal Sensory and Fynbos Gardens. The real reason for visiting though is clearly their spectacular wines and gourmet restaurant.

Though there is an a la carté and pizza menu available the best way to experience Idiom in all its glory is to book a 3-course dinning experience. Each dish is paired with a wine from the Idiom Collection. Thanks to the pandemic you can even order take-aways from the restaurant too.

Wine wise, Idiom specialises in Italian varietals. The estate’s first vineyards were planted in 1999 and features 19 varietals. Winemaker, Reino Thiart favours lesser seen single varietals and iconic classic blends. Along with the Idiom Collection range they also produce a limited edition 900 Series, the Heritage collection which reflects the owners’ Italian roots, and the Imperium range. Idiom wines are open for tastings, breakfast and lunches, Monday to Sunday, 10:00 to 16:30.

 

Idiom
Location: Idiom, Somerset West
Website: https://idiom.co.za
Opening Hours: Weekdays 10:00 to 16:30 and Weekends/Public Holidays from 10:00 to 16:00