Grape expectations: Wellington and the Boland
Buying in the Cape Winelands makes great investment sense right now. Here’s why Wellington and the Boland are great options.
Wellington, once famous for its dried fruit, chutney and brandy, is now increasingly renowned for the fine wines produced on surrounding estates like Bellingham, Diemersfontein, Douglas Green, Napier and Welbedacht. In 2010, the area was awarded the SA Top Wine Terroir trophy and now it is also gaining recognition as a world leader in ethical and environmentally sustainable wine production thanks to the efforts of enterprises such as the Bosman Family Vineyards in nearby Bovlei Valley.
Situated at the foot of the Groenberg and Bain’s Kloof, one of the oldest mountain passes in the country, Wellington boasts magnificent scenery, good schools and reasonably priced properties, and is a fashionable choice for families from Cape Town, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal who are looking to downshift to a simpler lifestyle. A major factor in their relocation decisions, says Tertius Joubert, the local Rawson Properties franchisee, is the good roads that make it easy to commute to work in surrounding areas, such as Cape Town, Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. ‘In fact, about two-thirds of local residents don’t work in Wellington,’ Joubert claims.
Demand for Homes
Wellington has no fewer than 19 schools, as well as tertiary institutions such as the Teachers’ Training College and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Wellington Campus. The town also offers a range of leisure and sporting facilities and, for golfers, there are several international standard courses within easy driving distance. It is not surprising, then, that the demand for homes in the town grows month by month, especially in the R800 000 to R1,4 million bracket, where well-priced homes generally sell within 60 days of being listed, says Joubert. Favourite picks at the moment are the 1920s to 1940s farmhouse type homes found in the centre of town, as well as those located on estates such Diemersfontein, which range in price from R1,3 million to R10 million, and Onverwacht on the town’s northern boundary, where vacant stands are still available at prices from R390 000 to just under R1 million, while a standard three-bedroom home typically sells for R1 million to R1,4 million.
At the other end of the scale, there is a wide choice of working fruit, wine, olive and game farms and smallholdings for sale from R4 million to R35 million. Among these is Kleinfontein, an 11 hectare historic treasure with a three-bedroom thatched homestead dating back to around 1830. Tucked away in the Bovlei Valley, where the fertile soil and sheltered location have proved ideal for winemakers since the 18th century, Kleinfontein is a working farm currently cultivating vines, guavas and olives, and is priced at R9,75 million. According to Pam Golding Properties agent James Visser, ‘properties in this valley seldom come on the market. In fact, just four have changed hands in the past six years, so finding a home here is a rare luxury.’
Other Boland Beauties
For buyers specifically looking for Winelands farms, another to consider is Oudekloof, a 300-year-old wine farm in the Tulbagh Valley, which is in the Witzenberg municipality north of Wellington. Priced at R10,9 million, the 331 hectare farm – currently run as a guesthouse – has a Cape Dutch homestead, guest cottage and three-bedroom manager’s house and is slap-bang in the middle of a farming valley that produces the best of South Africa’s deciduous fruit, as well as olives, beef and pork, and is home to great cellars such as Twee Jonge Gezellen, Tulbagh Winery, Theuniskraal and Drostdyhof.
The Pearl of the Boland
Lately dubbed ‘the Pearl of the Boland’, Villiersdorp, which is to the southeast of Franschhoek on the banks of the vast Theewaterskloof Dam, also holds appeal for families in search of a ‘real’ country lifestyle, thanks to the fact that it has good dual-medium schools and plenty to choose from in the way of plots and small farms. Agricultural properties currently for sale include Badgerberg, a 35 hectare working wine and fruit farm with a four-bedroom farmhouse, guesthouse, tasting cellar, storage and cold rooms, and swimming pool with lapa, which is priced at R12,5 million.
Also to be considered are the two other scenic municipalities that make up the Cape Winelands – the Breede River Valley and Langeberg, which are anchored by Worcester and Robertson respectively. Worcester is the biggest town in the Boland and, surrounded by wine and table grape farms, it has 20 cellars on its wine and olive route. Luxury homes here can sell for as much as R3,5 million, while a well-equipped wine farm in full production can top the R40 million mark.
Robertson, meanwhile, is also rapidly gaining favour with city dwellers planning to relocate. ‘We are fielding enquiries from such buyers almost daily,’ says Johanna van Wyk, co-franchisee of the local Rawson Properties outlet, ‘and the good news is that the Robertson market provides excellent value for money. We can give buyers a choice of spacious three- or four-bedroom homes on stands of 1 000m2 to 3 000m2 – many with small orchards, vegetable gardens or vineyards – at prices from around R1,2 million to R3 million. A lifestyle farm in the region, meanwhile, will fetch between R2 million and R4 million.
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