When the Faures, an original settler family of French descent, had to give up Vergenoegd after 14 generations in 2015, the European Heritage Project became aware of the culturally precious estate that accommodated one of the oldest and largest vineyards in South Africa. Although its former owners hadn’t made any major investments for decades – leaving the estate in a poor condition – the rare and unadulterated building structures became a major and convincing asset eventually leading to the acquisition of the 180 hectare of historic farmland.
Being a witness of European culture and architecture that have clearly left their mark on a global scale throughout the centuries, the European Heritage Project classified it as landmark site falling under the organization’s objectives.
At Vergenoegd, the European Heritage Project understands its conservationist measures not only from a historico-architectural perspective, but also on an environmental level.
In consultation with specialists in various fields of expertise, the project is proactively supporting sustainability and committing to biodiversity-friendly farming practices by conserving natural areas, while continually improving water and energy efficiencies, stemming from the awareness that landscapes also pose an invaluable heritage to local and regional culture. Nowadays, the farmlands are inhabiting diverse water bird populations that were able to resettle here.
About 1.500 runner ducks – the largest population worldwide with more than 1.500 birds – are working as natural winegrowers, eating snails and insects -forming a daily parade on their way to the vineyards and thus attracting tens of thousands of visitors yearly.
It is one of South Africa’s most prestigious showcase projects concerning the renaturation of wetlands and was even honored by the World Wildlife Fund.
The wines grown, cultivated and bottled on the estate itself are rated among the best South Africa has to offer.