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Zevenwacht Manor House

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The Lego Architecture Line comprises iconic landmarks around the globe and destinations that shape our life.

After now 12 years in Africa I feel the line is missing some of the beauty of this continent: have a look at this outstanding example of Cape Dutch architecture!

Venturing inland and upwards from Cape Town you’ll find the Boland, meaning ‘upland’. It’s a superb wine-producing area, and indeed the best known in South Africa.

There’s been colonial settlement here since the latter half of the 17th century, when the Dutch first founded Stellenbosch and the French Huguenots settled in Franschhoek. Both towns pride themselves on their innovative young chefs, many based at wine estates, and the region has become the mainspring of South African cuisine. Along with Paarl, these towns make up the core of the Winelands.

Welcome to Zevenwacht, situated on the beautiful Stellenbosch Wine Route, with panoramic views of Table Mountain, Table Bay and False Bay. The name "Zevenwacht", derived from the Dutch "Seven Expectations" is a modern wine farm with a 300 year history.

To have a look at the original building in all it's glory, please have a look at http://www.zevenwacht.co.za/

The History of Zevenwacht Wine Estate

Situated on the Stellenbosch Wine Route, sprawling over the Bottelary Hills between Stellenbosch and Kuils River, Zevenwacht Estate has strong viticultural roots penetrating deep into the historic past of South Africa. Now comprising some 350 hectares, the property was originally two separate farms, Langverwacht and Zevenfontein.

Langverwacht was allocated in 1712 to Jean le Roux of Normandy, one of the French Huguenot wine farmers who fled from France in 1688. Also known as Jan le Roes, he and his wife, Marie de Haas, remained at Langverwacht with their eleven children until their deaths in 1752 and 1751 respectively.

The neighboring property, Zevenfontein, was granted in 1793 to Daniel Bosman who built a cottage there, at the head of a small picturesque valley. He already owned De Kuilen, a property of 112 morgen on which he built the Die Kuilen U-shaped house, later known as Leeuwenhof.

In 1799, Langverwacht and Zevenfontein were purchased by wealthy landowner, Pietrus Johannes Hiebner, who, in 1800, enlarged Bosman's cottage into a T-shaped house and added the beautiful neo-classical front gable. Two flat-roofed wings one of which is the kitchen were later added to the base of the T, so changing the Zevenfontein homestead into an H-shape.

The original kitchen should have been situated at the end of the back wing but no traces of a fireplace can be found there. Perhaps the house had an outside kitchen since the foundations of a small outbuilding at the back of the house are still visible. The main bo-en-onderdeur is original and has a fine surround of fluted pilasters with Prince of Wales feathers at the top and a classical architrave. The windows are circa 1860 and have inside shutters. The end gables are of the unusual stepped variety. The stoep in front of the house has end seats. A werf wall runs below the house, gently undulating over the uneven ground.

In 1829 Pieter de Waal purchased Langverwacht and later also Zevenfontein. In 1870 his son Adriaan purchased both farms from his father. Following the discovery of tin some 33 years later, he sold them to a mining syndicate in 1903.

By 1918, mining operations had ceased when insufficient value could be realised from the mine and the land was restored to farming.

During the early 1900’s Zevenfontein was purchased by James Barclay Lithgow a stock broker from Johannesburg.  Following the death of his widow, Pat in the early 1960’s the property was passed on to his two surviving children Donald and Jean.  They were joined by partners, Jack & Hildegarde Watson, Rhodesian tobacco farmers and Willie Walls.  Jack Watson took over as Manager of the farm greatly improving the quality of the vineyards, as well as starting tobacco farming. The grapes were sold to the KWV

Previous owner, Cape Town architect, Gilbert Colyn, descendant of the old Cape Colijn family, purchased Zevenfontein and Langverwacht in 1979, uniting them under the new name of Zevenwacht. He started to restore both the vineyards and the Manor House, a National Monument, which were in a sad state of neglect. He also built a new cellar (in 1982). The first vintage wine was produced in the cellar in1983.

The present owners, Harold and Denise Johnson purchased Zevenwacht in 1992. They have committed themselves to a programme of development to realise Zevenwacht's rich potential.

The farm Zevenfontein of 225 hectares and the adjoining farm Langverwacht of 125 hectares were consolidated in 1979 to form Zevenwacht. Of the total of 350 hectare estate, 160 hectares are planted with vines. In 1998 Die Eike, a neighbouring farm, was purchased adding a further 150 hectares to the Estate.

From the highest vantage point there is a magnificent, panoramic view of Table Bay on the one side, and the whole of False Bay on the other.