Did you know that the first registered private distillery in South Africa is situated near Wellington?
Versailles Farm is home to Jorgensen's Distillery, its traditional 1812 Cape Dutch homestead and surroundings still remaining largely unchanged since the founding days. Even the original distilling equipment is still used to produce exotic spirits such as absinthe in the shadows of the age-old oak trees.
This is a distillery focused on producing authentic, unpretentious, premium handcrafted products, with juniper trees, wildflowers and various indigenous African botanicals being grown in the distillery garden to ensure the Jorgensen sensory tasting experiences are real.
Roger Jorgensen was affectionally known and widely acknowledged as the father of the craft industry in South Africa, and the Jorgensen’s Distillery remains home to the original Jorgensen’s signature range of artisan products.
Ugly Betty still makes magic! (once she was a beaut...)
From the fiery heart of our 1860’s Cape pot still, aptly named ‘Ugly Betty’ for her slightly battered appearance, flows small batches of premium gin, vodka and absinthe. Ugly Betty is our 200L copper pot still from in which all our premium small batch artisan spirits are produced. Betty’s life began in 1860, originally made by Paarl Cape Coppersmiths and used to exclusively distil brandy.
After a century in use, Betty entered a hibernation of sorts. Private distilling came to a halt in 1960 due to South Africa's short prohibition, during which time private distillers were outlawed and most of their stills and other distilling equipment destroyed.
Fast forward forty-ish years to the early 2000’s and Betty is rediscovered in an antique store by Roger!
He brought her home to Versailles and restored her to all her former distilling glory. Everything went well until one afternoon when Betty caught fire and took the tumble which is responsible for her current slightly battered appearance. Henceforth known as ‘Ugly Betty’ — her unique character certainly adds to the charm of life on Versailles farm!
As the current custodian of Versailles Farm and owner of Jorgensen's Distillery, master distiller, Quinn Roos (Rose) sets forth the tradition and brings his own recognisable unique style to the modern craft spirit industry in the form of the Wild Rose Craft Range. These are premium small batch distilled products which honour the rich history of Spirit making in South Africa and the kaleidoscope of precious African botanicals.
The young black crow which sits on every bottle of the extensive Wild Rose range, is our symbol of the revival of the South African craft spirit industry.
Be wild. And let your curiosity be rewarded.
Find details of the Jorgensen's range of distilled products here