With its spectacular views and award-winning wine, Almenkerk Wine Estate in Elgin is well worth it. But in case you need extra incentive to make the trip, they’ve recently opened a gallery and sculpture garden filled with exquisite contemporary art from local and international artists.
The brainchild of Dirk Durnez, and curated by Gordon Froud, the grounds, cellar and tasting rooms of the estate have been transformed with the inclusion of incredible art pieces. The exhibition as a whole is titled Mute Wisdom. According to Gordon, this is to show how an inanimate ‘mute’ object can exude its own form of wisdom as soon as you engage with them. From large scale sculptures to intricate paintings, the assumingly eclectic mix of art has been carefully chosen and placed to tell its own narrative.
One of the most impressive parts of the exhibition is an old barn that has been converted into a gallery. Lined with gigantic cones, the old-school building combined with contemporary artworks creates an interesting juxtaposition. Inside, you’ll find several sculptures and paintings beautifully displayed behind glass. After a visit to the barn, take a walk up to the tasting room where you can sample the Almenkerk wines. On your way, you’ll be greeted by other sculptures, including a gigantic red poodle, wire artworks and a huge blue penguin in the distance.
With a glass of wine in hand (I recommend the Chardonnay, especially on a hot summer’s day), wander the rest of the estate to take in the views and the art. At every turn, you’ll find something to marvel at. Some of my favourite pieces included a brass sculpture of a woman in a closed garden, a stained glass window hanging in the cellar, and a small wolf-like sculpture titled The Trickster tucked in the corner of the tasting room. With such a diverse collection, you’re sure to find a few pieces that speak to you too.
The owners of the estate, Joris and Natalie Almenkerk, are excited to work with Dirk to bring art to their beautiful estate. Not only does it add to their property, it also adds to Elgin as a whole, giving visitors to the region a new experience to enjoy when in the area. ‘We have the space and environment, and Joris and I both love art so we decided to play with the idea of bringing quality contemporary art to the estate,’ says Natalie.
This has all come to fruition thanks to Dirk, who is an Impresario for the Art @ franchise that looks to pair quality wine and art to create a meaningful experience. Mute Wisdom will be on display for the next six months until the end of June 2017.
When Tuesday – Sunday 10 am – 4 pm (Closed Sundays during winter)
Where Almenkerk Wine Estate, 50 Viljoenshoop Road, Elgin
Contact +27 21 848 9844, [email protected], almenkerk.co.za
Photography Annzra Denita