The Manor House

The beautiful thatch-roofed Cape Dutch manor house was completed in 1800.

In 1800, Philippus Wolvaart completed his beautiful thatch-roofed Cape Dutch manor house, now a national monument. Beautifully proportioned, it features yellowwood shutters, beams and doors and Batavian floor tiles. What makes his building feat so remarkable is that most of the materials had to be transported from Cape Town. Less than an hour’s drive today, every journey would have taken two days at least by cart. Undaunted by the distance, he created a gracious H-shaped homestead and gave it a fine finishing touch with one of the most beautiful gables of its type.

Before turning his attention to building a fine residence to house his family in style, Wolvaart would have first erected a regimental dwelling an outbuilding such as a wine cellar and stables, creating the basic infrastructure for his farming enterprise. Once officially established he could think about a Manor House. When he was ready toward the end of the 18th century, he chose to lay the foundation close to a little stream.

Sun-dried bricks bound with clay mortar were used to build an elegant H-shaped gabled country gentleman’s home in the Vernacular Cape style.

He encircled the house with a broad stoep and planted oaks for shade. These trees were destined to outlive the family for more than a century. Sometime after 1937 the Graues’ replaced the oaks with plane trees. Graue introduced some very significant technical changes in the cellar, like cold fermentation to counteract the effects of high summer temperatures during the fermentation process, which had an adverse effect on wine quality. He brought in technologically sophisticated equipment, setting a precedent for innovation.

The innovation for which Brözel is best remembered was the introduction to South Africa of botrytis or noble late harvest wines. His legendary Edelkeur was to become the benchmark against which all other South African dessert wines would be judged.

Today, the historical manor house at Nederburg and plays host to a bistro-style restaurant called The Red Table. It offers locally-sourced fresh, light bistro-style food in a relaxed and gesellige atmosphere. Created in collaboration with well-known Cape Town foodie, Andrea Foulkes, the restaurant’s menu is adapted as the seasons change. Click here for more