OUR STORY

La Verne Wine Boutique opened its doors in June 2005, before Voortrekker Street became filled with other shops and businesses.

During that winter two couples who had been friends for years entered a new stage in their friendship – they became business partners. It was Pat and Elaine Paulsen who first had the dream of opening a wine boutique shortly after they opened Robertson Art Gallery in 2004. They approached André and Lizelle Fernhout, their close friends, and soon the dream became a reality.

André and Pat continued their jobs as full-time farmers, leaving their wives to head the businesses in town. While Elaine took care of the gallery, Lizelle soon became the heart and soul of La Verne. She welcomed customers with the passion and warmth that have become an integral part of the La Verne philosophy.

Seven years later André passed away in a car accident and in 2017, the community lost Lizelle to cancer.

This tragic story of loss turned into a new beginning when Franzelle, daughter of Pat and Elaine, moved back home in 2018, dreaming of returning to the place where she earned pocket money at school and university. Now the father-daughter duo is building on the legacy of their dear friend, managing La Verne with Lizelle’s philosophy of warm and friendly service, and ensuring that her legacy always remains a vital part of the shop’s identity.

Together with their exceptional team, Franzelle and Pat offer visitors the opportunity to purchase the Robertson Valley’s outstanding wines under one roof and at cellar prices.

Believing that wine is something truly personal, the La Verne Team aims to personally become acquainted with each wine offered in their store, hoping to perfectly pair its character with the personality of each individual customer in their little piece of heaven.

MEET THE TEAM


Samantha Van Rooi
Keeper of the Family

Shop Assistant Samantha has been a part of the La Verne family since March 2008. Some of her happiest memories working here over the past decade include the late Lizelle Fernhout, co-founder of La Verne. Samantha loved working alongside Lizelle, learning to give a personal and warm service from this mentor. She compares herself to a wine blend. “Because you never know what you’ll get from me.”


Yolandé Hagen
Jester of the Shop

Yolandé joined the La Verne team in July 2018. Since then, she has loved getting to know the awesome team as well as learning more about wines and the process involved in making wine. She compares herself to a sparkling rosé. “I have a bubbly personality, and so it only makes sense that I sometimes leave people with a headache the next day from all my laughter and chatting,” she laughs.


John Stevens
Keeper of the Peace

Because of his sweetness and friendly demeanor, John sees himself as a Muscadel. “Knowing that I’m part of such a great team that forms a strong unit, makes me happy,” he says. Our clients know him for his kind and helpful nature – from recommending wine to carrying heavy wine to vehicles – but interacting with you is his favorite part of the job. “I love helping clients and meeting new faces.”


Franzelle Paulsen
The Girl with the Wine

Franzelle basically grew up in La Verne, spending her school holidays and later also her university vacations here. After gaining some experience in the world of marketing, she permanently joined the team in April 2018. Franzelle compares herself to the cultivar she enjoys most. “I’m a Chenin Blanc, most definitely! It’s a fruit-forward, zesty, and very approachable wine… a little like me, I hope.”


Pat Paulsen
The Guy Who Started It

Pat is one of the founders of La Verne. He reckons his personality matches that of a Cabernet Sauvignon. “I like its honest character, and the fun that comes with drinking a bottle of good Cab,” he explains. Pat loves the process that comes with listening to what a client wants in a wine, making a suggestion, and later hearing that the client found his recommendation to be spot-on.


Shelby Oakman
The Adventurous Financier

Shelby moved from Zimbabwe to Montagu in 2007, learning to speak Afrikaans in only one year! She’s been on many an adventure since then – in 2013, she spent a year working in the Netherlands, discovering new cities by train every weekend. Shelby, who approaches every new challenge with positivity, compares herself to Pinotage Rosé. “It’s light, fruity, and easily enjoyable on a sunny summer day.”