Nestled on the outskirts of Franschhoek, La Motte wine estate is a true Western Cape winelands treasure. Pity then that it’s taken me 20 years of living in the Cape to discover it. That all changed last week when I had the privilege of not only visiting the estate, but staying overnight in their 1751 manor house.
Yes La Motte makes exquisite wine and offers a truly wonderful winelands fine dining experience. But it’s about so much more. My day started off with a visit to the museum on the estate to see what is probably the finest collection of Pierneefs on permanent display in the country.
Of course I’m not referring to my second-cousin-twice-removed, Arnoldus Pierneef, who runs a second-hand car dealership out of his back yard in Patensie. I mean Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957), one of South Africa’s most famous 20th century artists. Avid Pierneef admirers, La Motte owner Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg and her husband, Hein Koegelenberg, have secured an extraordinary collection. It includes some lesser-known private pieces they acquired from Pierneef’s daughter, Marita.
Also on display in the museum is a changing exhibition of other great South African artists. The current one, which will run well into 2016, celebrates South African female artists and features works from the likes of Irma Stern, Maggie Laubscher, Maud Sumner and Cecily Sash. What a privilege. The museum also has a music wall where you can listen to recordings of Hanneli, in her day (under her maiden name Hanneli Rupert) one of South Africa’s finest mezzo-sopranos.
Appreciation for art, culture and preservation is a thread that runs through everything at La Motte. The exquisitely maintained grounds feature numerous fine sculptures. Admire them at leisure or join the formal guided sculpture walk that is concluded with a glass of bubbly and a scrumptious French Madeleine under ancient oak trees.