‘Allesverloren’ means ‘all is lost’, and refers to the sad fate of this historic farmstead in 1704, when it was burnt to the ground and the farm destroyed. It was a bitter blow for the owner, the widow Cloete, a courageous woman who was one of the first settlers to venture into what was then the inhospitable Swartland region.

But things have been looking up for Allesverloren ever since, and the nature of the Swartland has changed profoundly and today welcomes visitors with characteristic warmth and hospitality. By 1806 the estate’s first wines had been harvested. In 1872 the Malan family took over the farm, and today the 227-hectare estate, renowned for its distinctive red wines, is still going from strength to strength.

Winemaker Danie Malan believes ‘the secret of the success of Allesverloren wines is in the terroir’. Months of maturation in oak barrels add warmth and body to the wines’ inherent fruity character, and the multidimensional reds – Tinta Barocca, Shiraz, Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon and Port – have great ageing potential.

To celebrate 200 years of winemaking on the estate, a new tasting centre was opened in one of the oldest buildings on the farm in 2006. The building originally housed the farm manager and was later used as a stable, grain store and even a pig sty. The silo has been converted into exquisite toilet facilities, while the original dung floor has been replaced with cork. Stone and clay sections of this early-19th-centure structure can be seen behind glass frames at the entrance. Breath-taking views over the valley can be enjoyed from the large front stoep.

Pleasant Pheasant @ Allesverloren offers hearty meals in a large, well-appointed restaurant (booking is recommended), while the Allesverloren Conference and Function Centre is a popular venue for business and social gatherings.