The wine farms in the Western Cape are abundant and mostly fabulous. While Stellenbosch and Franschhoek offer a myriad to choose from, here we highlight our favourites and some off the beaten track treasures.
We LOVE wine (as much as travelling) so we’re always on the look-out for different wine farms and new wines to try.
There’s just so much wine and so little time…
Must-visit Wine Farms
Their wines are all highly rated in Platter’s wine guide and for us the Chardonnays are always outstanding. The restaurant overlooks treetops and into the Valley below and the food is beyond delicious – a set price menu, not that cheap, but worth every cent!
They also offer accommodation in the form of a boutique hotel.
This is a beautifully situated wine farm on the way to Stellenbosch and is fabulous to visit as much for the wine tasting as for the gourmet picnics. Gorgeous lawns and verandahs, for tasting and feasting, surrounded by glorious views – they also offer childrens’ picnics and are family friendly.
A true bit of Italy in the Cape and tucked away in a semi-industrial area, so not frequented by hordes of tourists.
The family began by distilling Grappa in Italy in the 1920’s and that tradition continues today in South Africa. Apart from their well-known and loved Grappa they also make some pretty fantastic wines which the old wine maker and his son are always happy to chat about.
Next door to the distillery is the fabulous restaurant – Pane e Vino. It’s absolutely worth a visit (even if you don’t buy or do a wine tasting) – great atmosphere, with a limited menu of Italian food, written up on a blackboard. Then of course, there’s the grappa without which no meal is complete, drunk in tandem with thick, dark espresso! There is nothing about this place not to love!
This is a very special wine farm. Apart from being a super impressive building and having an award-winning restaurant, they practise biodynamic farming where the vineyards are mowed, composted and harvested by a team of Percheron horses with very little tractor usage. Sheep and cattle are also moved around to graze in the vineyards and their droppings fertilise the vines while their hooves turn up the soil!
The Circle of Life white wine is a real favourite and it comes complete with a booklet depicting just that in vine terms. Their Circumstance label is also fabulous and it’s worth arriving early to do a wine tasting before eating.
Food and wine here are delicious – the restaurant has a view for miles, all the way to the sea. Not cheap, but definitely a place for a special occasion.
This is for the lover of bubbles – and who isn’t? Our philosophy is that there’s always an excuse to celebrate and this is one of our favourite Cap Classique sparkling wines.
A small vineyard dedicated to making champagne as well as importing French champagne for tasting and sales. Charming owner who leads you through the tastings and is not mean with the amount of bubbly in the glass! Only open in the mornings 11am – 1pm or by appointment.
This boutique wine farm is situated high up in the beautiful Constantia Valley in a secluded and tranquil spot. The garden is a delight in summer – sit and do a wine tasting under age old trees or in winter in their cosy tasting room. The staff are fabulous as is the Shiraz – one of our favourites!
A true get-away-from-it-all kind of place that offers some great wines. These can be paired with delicious platters at lunchtime to be enjoyed in a really picturesque environment.
Some great wines and very good value for money. Tastings here are always fun and the staff very friendly. It’s one of those places that has a “feel good” atmosphere and everyone chats with everyone and anyone and of course by the end of a few bottles a lot of new best friends are made!
Their Saturday morning food and wine market is well worth visiting (9am – 1pm) and is an institution in these parts come rain or shine, the market goes on!
This is an example of beautiful modern architecture set in the luscious surrounds of the Hemel-en-Aarde valley. The tasting room and restaurant is housed in an atrium like space, surrounded by windows on all sides with views to die for.
The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are especially good and the whole wine tasting is a fun experience. The staff are super friendly and efficient and the restaurant offers great food at a set-price menu. Well worth stopping off here for lunch when doing a tour of the other wine farms in close proximity!
A family run affair with every member involved in some aspect of the farm which is named after the owner’s black fishing vessel from his former working life.
Situated in a glen in the Kleinrivier mountains (near Stanford) with the river running through it and not so many miles from the sea at Walker Bay, it is one of 8 wine farms on the recently established Stanford Wine Route.
We indulge (a lot) with their reds, especially the Raka Quinery and the Raka Biography Shiraz.
This is the highest wine farm in the Western Cape situated above the beautiful Elgin Valley. The tasting room is decorated with one of the owner’s art and some of her sculptures feature on their wine labels. The office houses an old Porsche – a real one – and adds to the eclectic feel of this wine farm.
Wine tastings here are always great and the very knowledgeable lady who conducts these was once a picker in the vineyard before her talent was spotted.
The nickname Sophie te’Blanche, coined by the workers who couldn’t pronounce Sauvignon Blanc is a great story and also provides the name for one of their wines.
The sense of humour, love of art and passion for what they do is very much in evidence on this lovely farm and the wines bear testament to this.
This beautifully situated wine farm, set amongst age-old oak trees, not only offers outstanding wines – especially their Pinot Noir – but is a producer of cut flowers as well as free range beef and pork! Situated on the Elgin Valley wine route it is worth stopping here around lunch time and spending time in the Pool Room Restaurant after doing a wine tasting.
The restaurant serves only fresh and free range produce, including meats from the farm. The food is delicious, you can either eat in their lovely dining-room or in summer a picnic can be prepared to eat in the grounds.
What can be nicer than a great wine tasting followed by a heavenly meal?
We happened upon this boutique wine farm by accident while out doing a mini day trip to Botrivier. When we were there Niels, the winemaker, only did wine tasting by appointment, but nowadays the cellar is open weekdays to the public.
Their philosophy for wine making, to use their own words, is ‘farming conscientiously with minimum mechanization’.
Chenin is a relative newcomer to the wines produced on the farm, which up to now has been known notably for its fabulous, hearty Shiraz – made in limited quantity, each bottle being numbered.
It’s a delight to taste wine here and the farm exudes a very happy family atmosphere – very informal and a far cry from the sophisticated estates of say Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.
Read the blog about our visit to Luddite here
As you get out of the car you are greeted by a pack of very friendly, german shepherd dogs who happily escort you to the wine tasting room door!
This private cellar is an historic homestead situated in the Bovlei area of Wellington and is off the beaten track of the favoured wine routes, offering wine tasting at no charge.
The owner, James Mackenzie, is really friendly and always happy to chat to you. The wines are delicious – he prefers to use old vines saying that it makes for a lower yield, but better quality. Especially recommended to taste is the Seventeen-Twelve and the Chenin Blanc.
We always prefer to stay away from the madding crowd and discover small, gems of wine farms, of which this is one.
This wine farm sits in a magnificent valley, dominated by mountains, and is close to the town of Wellington. Great wines under the Napier label which all have an illustration of a single bead on the label to signify a single premium vineyard block.
These ethnic beads were chosen because of their long tradition in trade and celebration – also associated with wine – and make a striking label. Being a lover of great packaging design I was instantly taken with the bottles and luckily the wine inside is just as good! Their potstill brandy is definitely worth a taste too! Friendly people on an estate that’s again off the beaten track, but well worth a visit.
A family run concern which is as well known for its wine as its olive products. The tasting room is in an old cellar and both wines and olives can be tasted in tandem.
The farm is situated just outside the village of Riebeek Kasteel and as you drive over the pass and down towards the village, Kloovenburg’s vineyards and olive orchards stretch on both sides of the road as far as the eye can see.
It’s a lovely venue with delightful staff and the wines are great! For a hot summer’s day try their White from Red Brut which is delicious and refreshing and of course, don’t forget to try their fabulous Chardonnay and Shiraz!
There are all sorts of olive products on offer too, from bottled olives to soap and body lotion – certainly something for everyone and a good source for gift buying.
A modern, beautifully designed building with lots of glass and windows reaching up to the sky. The tasting set up is incredibly professional while also being very friendly and to top it all the wines are fabulous! They have wines to suit most pockets and the reds are exceptionally good.
The label on their Provenance range shows an image of a sculpture by Angus Taylor, that stands by the lake, and is iconic to the winery. They’ve just added a new one of his sculptures at the entrance to the estate which is incredible and it’s worth a visit just to admire these two pieces alone!
Their private art collection is on display in the gallery space upstairs and you’re encouraged to take a glass of wine with you as you wander through the atrium admiring the paintings!
No regular restaurant, but they do have functions from time to time so keep an eye out as the setting is gorgeous and the people a delight!
This wine farm is made up of 18th century buildings (declared a national monument) which ooze charm and atmosphere. The family Pentz who own the farm were award winning dairy farmers in the Cape until they decided to sell their herds and concentrate on wine making in 2001.
The staff are extremely friendly and knowledgable and both the red and white wines are good.
The restaurant, housed in another fabulous old building, is definitely worth a try too. Open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday and booking is essential. Picnics can also be ordered 48 hours in advance.
Groote Post holds a country market in its grounds on the last Sunday of every month.
If we were only allowed to drink wine from one wine farm (God forbid), this would probably be the one! Another family concern that’s run by a brother and sister team and they’re certainly doing a fabulous job.
Apart from being set in beautiful grounds, surrounded by mountains their wines are truly delicious. Both white and red are fantastic and they’re also very good value for money. Taste them while sitting on a deck overlooking the lake – there are many worse ways to spend an hour or two!
This has to be one of the most remote wine cellars in South Africa and is certainly the highest altitude one. It’s situated deep in the middle of the Cederberg nature reserve and the land has been in the Nieuwoudts family for many generations. Their wines are award-winning and it’s a treat to visit the cellar and spend some time in the unspoilt, gorgeous surrounds of the Cederberg.
Book into accommodation at Sanddrif (or pitch your tent), which is where the cellar is based, and enjoy a glass of heavenly wine as the sun sets over the mountains, then next day stock up the car and drive home happy and rested!
Situated close to the southern most tip of Africa, Dirk Human the owner, winemaker and viticulturist was one of the pioneers of wine making in this district whose slogan is “Real wine. Real people”. This boutique winery produces only a limited quantity of wine annually and doesn’t enter their wines into competitions believing the wines will speak for themselves – which of course they do! Try the White Pearl 2013 and the Triton red blend – both delicious and worth taking a bottle or two home.
The restaurant at the winery is a great place for lunch with fabulous seasonal, fresh ingredients picked from the garden and offering up wonderful views while you eat – booking is essential.
This is a gem of a winery, well worth seeking out and one of the most southerly you’ll find in Africa!