South Africa 24 — Delaire Graff Estate


Another special vineyard/winery, hotel and restaurant complex that we visited in Stellenbosch is the Delaire Graff Estate. After Babylonstoren, it’s another example of owners with cash to burn creating something that is utterly spectacular…


Up a steep and winding driveway from the main road that is flanked on both sides by the most amazing plantings of dozens of varieties of plants both flowering, succulent and what not, it was only a fraction of the views and gardens to come…


…higher up on the property were amazing views of the vineyard and mountains in almost all directions. We happened to be there late Fall, so the leaves had turned, and it was really pretty.


Enlarge this panoramic shot above on your computers if you can, it was just breathtaking. Had the skies been a bit clearer, it would have made the perfect postcard shot.


Despite the cool weather going into winter, the gardens were still abloom, with a natural unstudied look that takes planning and serious gardening expertise to execute.


Owned by the Graff family famous for their shops carrying some of the world’s most stunning diamonds, this estate features several works of art such as sculptures dotted around the visually stunning grounds.


There website details some of their prized possessions, which include paintings, sculpture and other works of art.


My uncle, with a plethora of sculptures in his personal collection, has often loaned them out to various sites and gardens such as the Puentespina gardens in Davao, but somehow, the sculptures at Delaire Graff got as leading a billing as the amazing vistas around the pieces.


There were more sculptures in the main courtyard…


near the entrance to the building that housed several restaurants, cellars, and the only Graff store on the continent of Africa.


There was also a replica of AN ENORMOUS yellow diamond on display in the main lobby, near this beautiful floral arrangement set in dozens of clear bottles and vases. The Teen ventured into the Graff diamond store off the main lobby, and asked me in hushed tones if she could try on the merchandise, and of course I said yes, absolutely, what better chance to explore? So she promptly asked to see a 5-6 carat(!) round white diamond ring, almost internally flawless and as she put it, “a nice size, no?” and she had to muffle an involuntary squeal when the saleslady said “it’s USD180,000, before VAT”!!! Yipes. I told daughter if she saved $100 every month for roughly 100 years plus interest she could buy the ring herself! I must admit, however, it WAS a stunning ring. At least we know she has both good and aspirational tasted. We browsed (that doesn’t cost anything) and learned a bit more about diamonds during our brief visit to the boutique.


A photo of the wine tasting room and shop, with all sorts of doodads like corkscrews, honey, preserves, wines, etc.


Terrace seating under umbrellas with spectacular views…


…and another amazing panoramic view (enlarge on your computer or phone if you can)!


The outdoor grill…


…and a shot of the pristine cellars were wine was being aged.


The MM family in the gardens. Overall second most favorite stop in wine country after the Bablyonstoren gardens and shop. Check out the estate, accommodations, restaurants, artwork, etc. HERE.

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11 Responses

  1. Good to see Mrs. MM’s charming face, finally, without the specs or shades!

    Not bad for someone who used to scrub floors and toilets, unless it is another created story of big success for the king of bling! Graff’s collection of modern art is reportedly some $250 M! Hopefully no conflict diamonds from Graff who has full control of his diamond business as we are told. And for a trivia that is not so trivial:

    “In the early 1980s, after seeing a Graff exhibition in Hong Kong, a lady-in-waiting to Imelda Marcos invited Graff to the Malacañang Palace for an audience with Madame Marcos. At the end of Graff’s week in the Philippines Mrs. Marcos bought three storied gems that he had carried to Manila, for a total of $10 million. Among them: the 42-carat Emperor Maximilian, named for the Austrian archduke who, legend has it, was wearing the diamond around his neck in a pouch when he faced a Mexican firing squad in 1867. Graff bought it at a Christie’s auction in 1982 for $726,000.”

  2. For those of us not as privileged to make it to the Delaire Graff estate but find their way to South Africa, the Kirstenborsch Botanical Garden, acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens in the world is a place to visit in Cape Town.

  3. South africa can now be in my bucket list…..the wine country looks fantastic!

  4. MM, i really appreciate your effort to share and “bring” us to the experience…thank you!

  5. How do they prevent shedding leaves from contaminating the table settings? Along the same lines, I always wonder about the typical Balinese look of the frangipani by the swimming pool. I don’t know how other people’s frangipanis behave but mine is a pain when it comes to shedding. But then again, slavish vigilance might just do the trick.

  6. Great family picture again! What a beautiful countryside– I really want to go there :)

    I’am very grateful for all your posts but especially this one as diamond was mentioned. My birthstone is diamond (April 6) and I am a diamond-a-holic in very small scale. Married for 31 years, I received gifts of 6 diamond rings ($14K) 6 diamond bracelets ($7K) 6 diamond earings ($6K) plus various 18k and 14K gold jewelries and akoya pearls. Nothing like Graff but I am very , very grateful.

  7. MM, thank you for sharing with us your wonderful South African experience. I especially enjoyed the photographs of the incredible sights and the lovely gardens. Your commentary on their wines is very much appreciated. Some of the best wines I’ve tasted come from Africa’s wine-producing regions.

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