Doolhof - "The valley of the Labyrinth"
Doolhof means labyrinth in Afrikaans. In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was an elaborate structure constructed for King Minos of Crete and designed by the legendary artificer Daedalus to hold the Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull and which was eventually killed by the Athenian hero, Theseus. Daedalus had made the labyrinth so cunningly that he himself could barely escape it after he built it.
Labyrinths, as opposed to mazes, offer only one entry and exit point – a single pathway to the centre. From time immemorial, Labyrinths have been utilised as a form of meditation. By focusing on the pathway and the intricate turns one calms the mind and realigns the thoughts.
When Settlers first set sight on this magical valley in the early 18th Century they noted the many hills and vales and aptly named it Doolhof.
Today, this labyrinthine topography is harmonised with the positioning of our vineyards, making good use of the many micro-climates and terroirs which are ultimately expressed in the Doolhof Estate wines.
The beautiful, remote and historic valley, north-east of Wellington, that contains Doolhof is surrounded by the Groenberg, Limietberge and Hawekwa mountains. In 1707 the first settlers grazed cattle here. Permits were granted from 1709 and land granted in 1712. Grapes for wine and brandy making were introduced by Huguenot settlers as early as 1728.
Due to Doolhof being surrounded on three sides by mountains and having no main route into the hinterland of South Africa, Andrew Geddes Bain built Bainskloof Pass in the 1840s, a famous pass which allowed access and expansion. For part of the project, Bain lived on Doolhof and today the wine estate traverses Bainskloof.
The farm has been the jewel of the Bovlei valley for three centuries and has had many owners. The current farm dates from 1993 with the decision to grow high quality wine grapes. The first vines were planted in 1995. Since the present owners acquired it in 2003, they have built a winery, tasting room and storage complex. In 2005, the farm was given Estate status.
Today, it stands as proud testimony to its Old Cape heritage, its historic buildings carefully restored and perfectly situated in a beautiful, landscaped setting. The new Grand Dédale Country House situated in the Manor House, with its magnificently decorated rooms, opened to guests in late 2009 and is Wellington's most exclusive privately-owned Country House, on a par with the best such venues in Europe. It can accommodate 12 guests in six double bedrooms furnished in sumptuous luxury. There is a separate Guest Cottage that sleeps two and which can also be used as a wedding chapel.
Doolhof’s modern facilities, quality grape production, modern viticultural methods and award winning wines ensure its place in the 21st century – a continuation of three centuries.
Tasting Room: visit our Tasting Room to taste superb wines in a cool, elegant setting.
Light lunches: Enjoy tasty, light lunches prepared by the Tasting Room chef Linfred Louw
Walking trails: get out into the open air and relax by walking the trails on Doolhof, either along the river or climbing the hillsides amidst the vines and fynbos plantations.
Picnics: Return to a delicious picnic in the paddocks or lawns with a bottle of Doolhof wine.