Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in the Walker bay Fynbos Conservancy near Hermanus, is one of South Africa’s biggest private wine buyers and has two wine lists. One features local wineries from the broader Overberg region including Stanford, Agulhas and Walker Bay. The second list comprises largely Western Cape wines and features rare auction wines from the annual Nederburg and Cape Winemakers Guild auctions.
Grootbos has a trophy of National Geographic on display at reception as one of the “Most Unique Lodges of the World” and was a finalist in the “World Legacy Awards” too. It was also named the Tatler “Best Family Hotel in the World”.
The Perfect Pairing
The Grootbos sommelier Nicole Croome who worked at Groot Constantia and Singita before joining the Grootbos team in February 2019, is on hand to guide guests with wine choices. She takes guests through the premium selection of wines housed in their temperature-controlled cellar. Here guests can choose their own rare wines from the curated collection and pair their wine with their dinner choice. Grootbos also has an intimate wine dining room venue – a perfect private dining or romantic option.
Nicole says the Grootbos wine list offers guests access to vintages they will not find anywhere else. Grootbos Private Nature Reserve owner Michael Lutzeyer is a wine lover and has undertaken collaboration projects with award-winning South African wineries such as Creation and Paul Cluver to label signature Grootbos wines.
The Ultimate Wine Collaboration
The lodge boasts its own Grootbos Stinkwood Pinot Noir 2013, the first collaboration project with Creation’s owner and winemaker, JC Martin.
JC says “Grootbos is one of the few establishments with their own maturation cellar. Grootbos serves wine at its best. When you are a wine enthusiast, it’s more rewarding to drink wine at its peak, and there are not many establishments who made that investment.
“I also worked closely with Michael and his German winemaking friends to produce a special Cuvee of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in 2019. Something to look forward to in the future when it is released.
“Creation wines can be drunk at their optimum from the Grootbos cellar including a complete vertical of our Art of Creation series, as Michael has collected these over the years. We are also excited to share that Cape Ardor stock our wines in the US, so Grootbos clients will be able to create a follow-up collection in the US of what they enjoyed in South Africa,” JC concludes.
A Cool Climate Syrah
Another collaboration success resulted in the Grootbos Last Syrah. This rich Syrah came from the last harvest of a 2015 block of Syrah on the Paul Cluver Estate in Elgin. Michael tasted the wine at a special private tasting and bought the last single vat of 5000 litres.
A bottle of this limited-edition wine is complimentary during guests’ stay at Grootbos. “It is a beautiful representation of a cool climate Syrah,” says Nicole.
Andries Burger, Paul Cluver winemaker, says the Last Syrah is an excellent testimony to friendship and entrepreneurship. “We planted the Shiraz in 2002 but a couple of years later decided to focus more on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and some other varietals. We sold the grapes or wine annually but wanted to pull out the vineyard. Michael visited us for lunch in late 2015 and did a tasting of various wines. I happen to mention the interesting Syrah and our plans with the vineyards. He said the wine was too good not do be used as something special and he bought all the wine.
“I think it is the best wine the block ever delivered.” Andries says Grootbos is one of the few places where multiple vintages of the Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir (2010 – 2015) and Paul Cluver CWG The Wagon Trail Chardonnay can be enjoyed.
A Rare Wine List
Some of the other rare wines guest can enjoy include:
- The Creation, Art of Pinot Noir collection 2013-2018;
- The Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2015 (The first South African wine to receive 100 points in the annual report on the South African wine industry by respected British wine judge, journalist and critic Tim Atkin MW); and
- The 2010 Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage.
Says Michael: “Our Grootbos wine collection has been carefully curated over the years and holds a treasure of vintages and varieties, rarely available on the open market. Many of the wines have been purchased from selections at exclusive South African wine auctions. The oldest bottle in our collection is a 1985 Nederburg Private Bin Cabernet Sauvignon.”
Nicole says guests can order and buy wine to take home, especially vintages or labels that are on allocation that would be impossible for the public to purchase otherwise. It is then shipped or couriered to their door. “We select the gems, cultivars and limited editions that are not easily found on other wine lists,” she says.