In all honesty, I can barely think of a place more scenic than the Cape Winelands. And plus, it’s proven to becoming increasingly difficult to top the wine tasting experience if you’re not in South Africa. So, instead of the long guides I love to send your way, I’ll be dividing my posts for the Cape Winelands in a three part series to cover in-depth guides to Stellenbosch and Franschoek, respectively.
And now you’re probably: what’s the point of this post? Well, my dear friend, it’s to give you a what to expect when touring little towns along the winelands (there are so many!), and also how to make the most out of the wine tasting experience!
First off, this guide isn’t only for those who love to drink wine, okay. I happen to have been surrounded with non-alcohol drinkers in the tour group and everything still turned out fine. Another thing, the winelands are great towns to explore and to see what’s hidden in the Western Cape.
Due to the strong influence of both the French and the Dutch in these parts, Stellenbosch and Franschoek look like small towns from Europe instead of South Africa. But that’s just my take on it.
The estates, villas, and the view
Nestled at least 3 hours away from the city of Cape Town, the winelands are adored with many villas which also house wine tasting sessions, lunches, and overnight quarters.
As the winelands are surrounded by mountains, it tends to be cooler in this side of the Cape. Plus, the food here is completely different from what you’ll usually see in the city as everything’s organic, and fit for vegetarians. Although there were also dishes designed for meat-lovers, you won’t see the usual steak selections. Rather, you’ll be greeted with lean meats and roasted pork. Yummmm
Admittedly, I was lucky enough to have gone wine tasting to one villa, one estate, and two separate vine yards which make the experience all the more worth it.
Stellenbosch Clouds Estate
Where to find them: Helshoogte Road, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, 7560, South Africa
DeKraal Country Lodge
Where to find them: Helshoogpe Rd, Stellenbosch, 7599, South Africa
Phone: +27 21 885 1399
Where to find them: Swart Street / Kylemore Road, Stellenbosch, 7599, South Africa
Phone: +27 21 885 1575
Franschhoek Country House & Villas
Where to find them: Main Road, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa
Phone:+27 21 876 3386
Where to find them: Elandskloof Road, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa
Phone:+27 21 876 4100
Winelands Villa Guesthouse and Cottages
Where to find them: 59 Old Stellenbosch Rd, Helena Heights, Somerset West, 7130, South Africa
Phone:+27 82 268 8267
The wine tasting experience
You’ll have an entire day dedicated to trying wine at different vineyards where each one will have the opportunity to show you why they’re the best. In particular, the Lanzerac Wine Estate will tell you how they process wine and fill you in on which chocolate works best for it too.
Like many wine tasting adventures, you’ll have white wine first then pink before trying out the reds. Although there’s going to be a unique twist per wine estate just like Lanzerac’s, they’re the original producers of a Pinotage. If you’re wondering, the wine is blended smoothly and to make it taste a little sweeter. It actually comes close to the taste of a Cabernet-Sauvignon Shiraz.
Whereas trying the wine at Boschendal Estate in Franschhoek, you’ll be taught how to pair your drink with toasted bread, different African cheese, and their special jam.
Other estates or villas simply offer you food and choose which wine pairs with what you’ve ordered. Either way, the entire experience can only be labeled as gastronomical! And is really up to you on how you’ll be able to pair each one.
But let me tell you this – your entire view and experience with wine will surely change. Your taste will become more refined and your palette a little more colourful.