Diamond in the Rough

When Laurence Graff purchased a rustic winery called Delaire in South Africa, he uncovered a hidden gem...

by Jane Broughton


In 2003, when Laurence Graff purchased a rustic winery called Delaire in South Africa, he uncovered a hidden gem—which makes sense, considering he’s chairman of Graff Diamonds. His recently refashioned Delaire Graff Estate includes an ultramodern winery, a spa, and a hotel with 10 villa-style suites. Go to

THE SETTING Located 35 miles from Cape Town, the 100-acre property was updated by French architect Pierre Bories using local materials. The thatched roofs, gables, and earthy plaster walls offer a modern interpretation of Cape Dutch vernacular, but the big attraction is outdoors: There are breathtaking views from every room.

THE WINERY Delaire is in the heart of Stellenbosch, one of South Africa’s oldest wine-growing regions. In the winery, the formal restaurant and maturation cellar are separated by a wide passage with a peach-pit-and-resin floor. The cellar is visible through a glass and stone wall that took nine months to build using traditional techniques.

THE DECOR Graff turned to David Collins to give the property cosmopolitan flair while respecting tradition. Most of the furniture was crafted by local artisans; the reed ceilings and grass-cloth walls are South African staples. At the restaurant Indochine, Collins installed blue leather chairs and copper-topped tables.

THE SPA There are four spa suites with terraces (treatments include antiaging facials and Indian head massages), along with a heated pool and a hot tub. Work out with the latest Technogym equipment or consider a nature walk up the Botmaskop peak, where leopards are occasionally sighted.

THE ART Graff displays South African pieces throughout the estate. Sculptures by Deborah Bell, Dylan Lewis, and Anton Smit are strewn along walk­- ways and in the gardens planted by horticulturist Keith Kirsten. A large paint­- ing by William Kentridge in the winery’s restaurant served as inspiration for the banquette that runs the length of the room.

Gallo Images/Shaen Adey; Bronze Sculpture: Conjunction by Deborah Bell (2008)