Estate Historical Overview

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 10 years the business was not doing well at all and with the fruit industry at a low the Dendy-Young’s had to make some difficult decisions. Carol was forced to get a job or they would have to sell, she took a position at the 1688 restaurant (now La Quartier Francis) where she worked from 1982 to 1984 doing both front of house and cooking as well. She then decided that if she had to work this hard they might as well open up their own restaurant and so in 1984 it took John and the farm workers 12 months to build the 40 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 had to swap their aprons for gumboots as they rebuilt the restaurant again. It took them 5 months to rebuild and this time with a kitchen twice the size as before. 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 3 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.

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