The heart of La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme is a beautiful, luxurious and well-known wine farm found overlooking the incredible valleys of Franschhoek. Not only does it offer breath-taking views, you can be sure to indulge in a delicious meal accompanied by La Petite Ferme wine of your choice at the newly renovated restaurant, or enjoy a few days away surrounded by absolute beauty and tranquillity when you stay at our 5-star accommodation facilities.
A brief history
How did it start you might ask? Well, what makes this wine farm unique is the inspiring, rich history that La Petite Ferme holds firmly onto to this very day. This is our story:
John and Carol Dendy-Young moved from Zimbabwe to Franschhoek in 1974 when they bought the La Petite Ferme farm to start farming with predominantly plums. After farming with plums and pears for ten years, the business was not doing well at all and with the fruit industry at a low, the Dendy-Youngs had to make some difficult decisions. Carol was forced to get a job or they would have to sell the farm, so she took a position at the 1688 restaurant (now Le Quartier Francais) where she worked from 1982 to 1984 doing both front of house and cooking. She then decided that they might as well open up their own restaurant and so in 1984 it took John and the farm workers twelve months to build the forty-seater restaurant. They also sold the bottom half of the farm which meant they had to close the fruit packing shed and left all the workers without a job. They employed all the ladies who worked in the packing shed in the restaurant as cooks and waitresses, some of them not even able to speak English. With Carol’s love and passion for cooking she put together a menu which was both heart-warming and comforting, with some items still on the menu today.
In 1996 the property was bought by their son, Mark Dendy-Young, who also brought his love and passion for wine with him into the business. He planted vines in the same year and started off with just two tanks. 1996 also brought with it a great tragedy which saw the restaurant burn down to the ground. The workers then swapped their aprons for gumboots as they rebuilt the restaurant. It took them five months to rebuild, and this time with a kitchen twice the size. Regular local and international guests were devastated by the news and donated pots, pans, cutlery and kitchen equipment.
In 1997 they also built the first accommodation on the farm, starting with three cottages. Carol slowly let go of the kitchen in 1996 and John still looked after the vineyard and wine tours until October 2015 when the property was sold.
It’s the very people and circumstances that shaped and moulded La Petite Ferme into what it is today. A story so inspiring, it continues to fuel the passion in each and every employee and customer that visits.
A promising future
With La Petite Ferme under new ownership; some incredible renovations were made, but the heart of La Petite Ferme has remained the same. A heart filled with strength, character and passion that will surely lead La Petite Ferme into a bright future.