Lars Maack is an ordinary guy. He is a Dad, a Husband, a dog lover and the passionate owner of Buitenverwachting Wine Estate one of ten producers in the Constantia Valley.
I recently spent the afternoon with Lars, not to chat about the history of Buitenverwachting which was established in 1796, but to discuss what is going on right now at this iconic Wine Estate.
Having enjoyed my fill of the famous Buitenverwachting picnics over the years the first thing I wanted to find out was why wouldn’t they be available anymore? Let’s face it a picnic at Buitenverwachting was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon and I was feeling a tad stressed about the picnics no longer being a feature. Lars launched into his “vision”, and a couple of hours later I was caught up in the enthusiasm, and the picnics I had shared with colleagues, family, and friends were committed to memory, and I began looking forward to making new memories at Buitenverwachting.
Restoration is already underway at the Old Wine Cellar. This was a piece of Buitenverwachting’s heritage that was significantly underutilised, and Lars feels that it should be a space where everyone can celebrate the wines the farm is producing now, and also those it produced in the past.
This grand old national heritage building will soon become a stylish, welcoming and vibrant spot for visitors to enjoy their love of wine. The Old Wine Cellar is going to be the dedicated place where people can discuss their appreciation of this notable pastime no matter from where they come.
Maack wants to remove any pretentiousness from wine tasting. He does not mind if his, or his tasting room staff’s opinions on certain vintages differ from yours. What he wants you to do is to ask questions, enjoy the experience and most importantly form opinions that belong to you. Maack feels that to go home with a bottle of Buitenverwachting wine and a story to tell is the best way to create a long lasting relationship.
Tasting Room Manager Chantel Hodgskin is also looking forward to this new venture and is especially interested to see how the public reacts. We will offer wine tastings as we do now she explained, but Lars has had the brilliant idea of having another space available where people can taste older vintages without formal tutorship from the Buitenverwachting staff. Hodgskin thinks it is a brilliant idea as it will encourage people to be a little more adventurous in discussing what they think of various vintages amongst themselves. We often have many nationalities in the tasting room at the same time, and it will be a fantastic learning experience for us to find out what they are thinking about our wines. Another exciting addition to the cellar will be a large map which shows guests exactly where different varietals are planted. It will also show the different soil types on the farm and this will help wine-tasters better understand the biodiversity of the region.
Outside there is a long terrace which on summer afternoons will be the perfect spot to enjoy your wine tasting experience.
The building where wine tasting is currently offered will be turned into an area where patrons can enjoy a light bite to eat while enjoying a bottle of wine with friends. The reason we have separated the two experiences explains Maack is because we want to give people the option of whether they wish to taste and learn about our wines or simply enjoy a catch up with friends. Buitenverwachting boasts a longstanding regular clientele and it is imagined that this space will greatly appeal to them.
It is incredibly important to me and to the winemaker and his team that the activities in the Old Wine Cellar solely focus on the wines we produce and are so exceptionally proud. We are united in thinking that we should show our craftsmanship in the building where it all began.
Buitenverwachting Restaurant and The Coffee Bloc will continue to service their regular and loyal clientele while looking forward to welcoming a whole new mix of patrons. The Manor house will soon become available for bespoke weddings, but you will have to wait to hear more about that later.
Maack expressed that he wants people to feel welcome on his family’s farm. “We have planned about 70% of this project and will take guidance from guests as we finalise the last stages of the “Old Cellar” – nothing will be regimented. I am sure we will have some adjustments along the way. I believe in authenticity, and the rural farming character and winemaking history is the soul of Buitenverwachting”. The chickens, peacocks and family dogs will always be wandering around, and you will always see sheep and horses in the field.
At the end of the day, Buitenverwachting is a farm, a family home and a place we feel very proud to share with anyone who has a love for wine from the oldest region in the world with an uninterrupted history of wine making.