A ’22 review: the more things have changed, the more they’ve stayed the same

by Sue and Doug Lund

For most people, 2022 hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been a lot better. After two years of Covid, everyone’s still tired, everyone’s still feeling the after-effects, but this year we all, mostly, got back to normal.

For us here at Newstead, after two years of introspection, 2022 has been an opportunity to act on our reflections, and to make some changes. Nothing too dramatic, no big departures… more a return to what’s important and what makes us happy.

One of the changes we decided to make was to slow down and pare down here at the farm. Over the last 10 years, almost while we weren’t watching, things had got bigger and busier, with tastings, our restaurant, weddings and events. It felt like we’d gone from being a best-kept secret to being “on the map” – and with that came a lot of (probably self-imposed) pressure to keep up. It just wasn’t what we wanted.

What we want – what we’ve always wanted – is for Newstead to be small and special. Actually, to be special by being small. By making people feel welcome; by making them feel like they don’t want to leave.

So, this year, we simplified a little. We aren’t doing as many events. The ones we are doing, we’re able to put our heart and soul into. And we’re loving it. We also took our restaurant back to basics, not necessarily by doing things so differently that people might notice, but by re-emphasising the warm, intimate informality that people have always told us makes Newstead unique. We want our food to be absolutely delicious, but we also want the experience, the feeling, to be personal and unforgettable.

Over the years, we’ve received lots of accolades for our wines, but this year we got an amazing one for our restaurant. The 2022 Reviewers’ Choice Awards gathered reviews for more than 1000 South African restaurants, and Newstead was voted in the Top 20. That was so gratifying. And it was proof that our decision to be true to ourselves, and not to get bigger or fancier, was the right one. It also means so much to us that this recognition came from customers, who ultimately are the real judges. If you’ve been to Newstead for lunch and given us a review – thank you!

Another change we made was a personal one. Our children are older and are starting to spread their wings, and so we made the decision to move out of our homestead at Newstead, and into a house in Plettenberg Bay. Newstead was a beautiful, special home for our family for nearly 15 years, and we’re so grateful for the time we had here. Having left, we’re reminded of the saying that a change is as good as a holiday. It really has relaxed and re-energised us.

Now, we’ve done some facelifts and upgrades to the homestead and will be renting it out. We’ve put the same love and feeling into it as we do into our restaurant – it’s upscale down-to-earth, furnished with understated luxury and unpretentious comfort. We hope our guests feel, in the few days or weeks they spend here, a little of what we felt living here.

As for our vineyards and wines, well, that’s a story of constancy. We’re still looking after each grape as best we can, as responsibly as we can. And our winemaker, Anton Smal, is still putting those beautiful fruits to the best use he can.

This year at the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge, our 2015 Blanc de Blanc was one of only five MCCs to be awarded a double gold, and it won the Trophy for the Extended Ageing (previously called Museum) Class.

We were also recently notified that Newstead has made it onto the South African Wine Index’s Grand Wines Collection. SAWi objectively analyses and compiles the results of over 70 local and international wine tasting competitions, measuring wines’ performances over multiple vintages. Wines are scored out of 100, and only those scoring 93 or more make it into the collection. Three of our bubblies were included, and our MCC Brut scored 98.

We take accolades with gratitude, humility and sobriety. They have helped to build Newstead’s name, reputation, brand and business; but we’re conscious that they can be fickle. So the SAWi news is especially pleasing, because it recognises consistency across multiple competitions and years. We’re doing something right, and we’ll keep on doing it.

And even though we no longer live on the farm, we’re still there daily, in the vineyards, in the stables, in the restaurant, paying lots of attention to lots of very small details, making sure that Newstead’s essential and timeless ingredients are still being nurtured and grown.

Looking back at the year, there’ve been some outward changes, both for our family and our business. But, inwardly, we hope the more intangible qualities are still firmly rooted and deeply felt. For us, Newstead is, and always has been, about simple things that matter: grace and honesty, warmth and hospitality, heart and humanity.

Thanks for being part of our journey. Happy holidays, and happy new year.


If you have questions, queries, comments or just want to drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you. Better yet, visit us in person so we can meet you.

Opening hours:
Wednesday to Sunday, 11am – 4pm.
Wine sales Monday and Tuesday by arrangement.

+ (27) 076 300 9740

Newstead Wine Estate
Redford Road, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay