It’s not an easy task to choose the best wineries near Cape Town. There are hundreds of wineries and, after the redesign of the Wine of Origin scheme in 1993, a total of 5 wine regions with 24 districts and 82 smaller wards that are spaced out over 600km along the coast, bordering Namibia in the north and Mozambique to the east.
When we went out to search for the top 10 wineries near Cape Town, we took a lot into account before coming up with our final list.
- How we picked the best wineries near Cape Town
- Wine Production in the Western Cape
- Wine regions in the Western Cape
- Wine tours near Cape Town
- The best wineries near Cape Town
- Delaire Graff – Jewel of the Cape winelands
- Peter Falke – Boutique winery open on Sunday afternoon
- Uva Mira – A winery with stunning views
- Rust en Vrede – Mandela’s favorite
- Spier – Family friendly and very near Cape Town
- Kanonkop – Most awarded wines
- Tokara – Picture perfect winery
- Hidden Valley – A luxury winery getaway
- Boschendal – Wine tourism at its best
- La Motte – A Cape Dutch classic
- Babylonstoren – Wine inspired entertainment destination
- Groot Constantia – Oldest winery in Southern Hemisphere
- Creation – Excellent pairings in whale country
- Vergelegen – A historical and modern Cape Town winery
- Wineries near Cape Town table
- A few things to know about wine tasting in Cape Town
How we picked the best wineries near Cape Town
When we set out to write this article, we wanted it to be super useful and we realised that, although we could write about Cape Town wineries for days, because I am from Cape Town and visit wineries every month, what would be useful for those with limited time would be to give a selection of the best wineries.
It was the recommendation and the why for each winery to be included in the list that we thought would add the most value. Of course, not everyone agrees on which are the best Cape Town wineries, so we made a list of the most important factors and ranked the wineries against those.
These are the factors we used to determine the “best” wineries in the Western Cape:
- History of the winery, because we wanted to make sure you would visit the iconic ones, the ones that started it all or played an important role in the development of the wine industry in the Cape
- Range of wines, if you will spend 2-3 hours at a winery, it should have a decent range of wines available to taste, or focus on a specific one with a lot to learn about it
- Service and staff, you want to spend your time at a place that makes you feel welcome and with staff that love what they are doing and are proud to share it with you
- The tasting room, does it have any special features? Does it have a noteworthy design? Does it offer great views?
- The menu options, in particular if there are pairing options that are unique for example with ice cream or Biltong, South Africa’s jerky
- The general atmosphere of the place
- Activities on offer. As many wineries have become weekend destinations for locals, they started to add other activities. Here we also wanted to make sure there was a balance of options for couples and for families
- Esteem, we wanted to make sure you could visit the best wineries, as dictated by awards and accolades
- Pricing, so that we could make sure to recommend wineries near Cape Town for all pocket sizes
We made a long list of wineries and then scored them against the above in a not strictly scientific manner, then picked the best ones. As you may have realised, the list of best wineries near Cape Town you’re about to read was well considered.
While this is a well thought-out selection, there are plenty of other wine farms in the Western Cape that we would recommend but didn’t make the article simply because we wanted to give our selection. However, if there is something specific you are looking for, message us and we will try to help.
And if you are spending some time in the Mother City, don’t forget to save our travel guide on the best things to do in Cape Town.
Wine Production in the Western Cape
South Africa is considered a New World country, similar to Australia, Argentina, Chile, the US and New Zealand. The climate differs drastically by region, from the cool climate wines of the Overberg to the semi-arid Swartland. Yet all in all, the Cape climate is considered to be Mediterranean.
According to an annual study by the Organisation Internationale de la vigne et du vin (OIV), South Africa stands as the 9th largest wine producing country in the world with 9.5 million hectolitres (in 2018). This is just after Germany with 9.8 million hectolitres (Pst you may be surprised to know that China is higher up on the list too).
The same study showed that of the 9.5 million hectolitres, 4.3 is consumed within the country and 4.2 is exported around the world. In fact, many wineries near Cape Town produce specific wines for export only.
Spier wine farm, for example, produces the Creative Block 8 which is a Cape Blend (more on that later) for the Chinese market only. So you will not be able to taste or purchase it in South Africa. For Denmark, they change the labeling to something a bit more artistic to suit the European market.
South Africa has around 120,000 hectares of grapevines throughout the entire country from 542 wineries, 86% of which are independent wineries, with 47 co-ops and 121 wholesalers.
There are several grape varietals that dominate the vines of South Africa with Chenin Blanc (Steen in Afrikaans) being the largest of the Whites at 18% and Cabernet Sauvignon with 11% of the reds.
The only truly South African grape you’ll find is Pinotage, which was created in 1925 by Professor Abraham Perold.
Pinotage a hybrid grape combining Pinot Noir and Hermitage (Cinsault), which creates a deep red, fruity wine with bold tannins. When you’re visiting any winery near Cape Town, you should definitely try this variety.
There is also the Cape Blend which is basically a Bordeaux blend with a specific percentage of Pinotage added to the mix.
While the name “Cape Blend” has caused some controversy and the exact amount of Pinotage in the blend is still not an exact science (needs to be around 30-70%), there are some delicious ones to try out which we mention below (see Kanonkop).
Wine regions in the Western Cape
When we talk about “wineries near Cape Town”, we need to narrow down the list a bit. The furthest wine regions in the Western Cape are around 300kms from central Cape Town with the furthest being Plettenberg Bay deep in the Garden Route which borders the East Coast, and the Olifants River bordering the North.
This list looks at wineries within a 150km radius from the city centre to make things easy and simple for you. So you’ll be able to reach any of the wineries below 1.5hrs by car (with mild traffic).
As mentioned before, there are 5 regions, 24 districts and 82 smaller wards within the Cape alone, so no matter where you’re going in the area you’re bound to be within meters of a winery.
The two most popular wine regions in Cape Town are the Coastal Region with standouts Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl, and the Cape South Coast with the most popular ward being Walker Bay (which is in and around popular day-trip destination Hermanus).
Many of the wine districts have their own distinct routes, the first and most popular in the country was the Stellenbosch Wine Route. As it is so popular with tourists and locals alike, it has been divided into five manageable sub-routes for tourists and include: Bottelary Hills, Greater Simonsberg, Helderberg, Stellenbosch Berg and Stellenbosch Valley.
As these are the closest and most popular, they are the only regions included in this list. We also made a map for you with the wine regions in the Western Cape and the major areas near Cape Town so that you can get your bearings.
Wine tours near Cape Town
Possibly the best way to experience the wine routes of the Western Cape is to take a wine tour of the various areas. In this way you can plan everything ahead, fit all the wineries that you want into your trip and know that you (and other drivers) will be safe with a designated driver on call.
Here are some of the best tours of the Cape Winelands:
Stellenbosch and winelands tours
- Private wine tour: A bespoke experience for the wine lover who knows exactly where they wish to go, or who need help in deciding among the best wineries near Cape Town. The tour is 8 hrs long and highly personalised, so you get to go anywhere you want. You will most likely visit around four wineries at most. Hotel pick up and drop off included. Book here.
- Multi-language winelands tour: Tour exploring the winelands in Spanish, English, French, Portuguese or Russian. Not only does the tour include a visit to Delaire Graff with pick up and drop off from Cape Town, there is also history and culture. You will visit Stellenbosch university town and explore museums, cafes and restaurants. You will then move onto Franschhoek and the Huguenot Memorial Museum. Book here.
- Full-day shared tour: Social butterflies who would rather travel with new people and socialise over a glass of wine should check this tour out. You will make a stop at Delaire Graff as well as Fairview (known for their high quality cheese) and Sir Richard Branson’s very own winery in Franschhoek, Mont Rochelle. There is also a biltong and wine pairing and a visit to Drakenstein Prison where Nelson Mandela spent his last few hours in captivity. Book here.
- Child-friendly winelands tour: Catering for wine-loving families this tour includes a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium, a meeting with a giraffe and a pop-in to a lion sanctuary. And of course, there is a cheese, chocolate and wine pairing for the adults. While this tour does not visit any of the wineries on this list, it does go to a brilliant wine farm for families called Spice Route in Paarl. Book here.
- Luxury private tour: Explore the winelands in style as you are chauffeured around in a Mercedes Benz C-Class to some of the classiest wine estates like Delaire Graff and Haute Cabrière. Have a biltong and wine pairing and make a visit to Drakenstein prison where Nelson Mandela spent his final days in captivity. Book here.
- 4×4 adventure: More adventurous wine lovers will have a blast on this tour of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek in this 4×4 winelands tour. See some vantage points that you would otherwise not be able to visit in a normal sedan and pop into 3 wineries of your choice and a restaurant of your liking. Book here.
- Constantia wine tour: This tour focuses on Constantia where you will make a stop at Groot Constantia where you will get to taste the wines and visit the Manor House and Cloete Cellar. You also get to pop into Constantia Glen and Steenberg Wine Estate on this 5 hr adventure. Book here.
- Constantia and Table Mountain: Explore two of Cape Town’s gems with a visit to Constantia and Table Mountain. Your Constantia leg will consist of a meal at either tapas bar La Parada on Constantia Neck or Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia. There is also a stop at Camps Bay beach and the Twelve Apostles mountain range. After a tasting at Constantia Glen and Groot Constantia, you will go up Table Mountain as your ticket is included in the tour. This is a complete day tour. Book here.
- Constantia by bike: You can also explore Constantia on a 15km cycle through the vineyards with a gourmet picnic lunch and wine tasting of course. Stop at Groot Constantia, as well as other fine wineries in the region like Buitenverwachting, Constantia Uitsig and Steenberg before exploring the old Cape Dutch architecture. Book here.
- Franschhoek hop on/off wine tram: This is the best way to see the Franschhoek winelands as you can realistically visit around 5-6 wineries without driving, including Boschendal and Babylonstoren. This tour has pick up and drop off at Cape Town. Book here.
- Guided Babylonstoren tour: Tour Babylonstoren with a guide with a visit to the Greenhouse restaurant and a morning wine tasting. The tour goes beyond Babylonstoren with a wine and ice cream pairing at Clos Malverne and a visit to Marianne Wines. Book here.
Other wine tours
- Tour with a winemaker: This one is for true wine aficionados. Hop in a car with a French winemaker as you explore some lesser-known wineries and unexplored wine regions. The full day tour starts in the Paarl regions and traverses to the Swartland. While you don’t get to visit the wineries in this list, it would be a great introduction to the region from an actual certified winemaker. Book here.
- Whale watching and wine tour: You can see the whales in Hermanus (in season between August and November), then visit the penguins at Stony Point and end with a wine tasting of your choice at 1-2 wineries in the Hemel en Aarde valley. This tour also offers pick from and drop off from Cape Town and has a French or English option. Book here.
- Helicopter tour of the Mother City: 2019 Getyourguide award winner for adrenaline junkies, this helicopter tour focuses on Cape Town, flying past Table Mountain, Hout Bay and even the Constantia vineyards! It’s 25mins of breathtaking views and the perfect pre-tasting experience to get the adrenaline going. Book here.
The best wineries near Cape Town
Now that you’ve got your bearings and know all about the wine regions in the Western Cape, let’s take a look at the greatest wineries near Cape Town that are easily reached and super awesome to visit. The list is in no particular order in terms of best and worst, but it is ordered by region.
At the bottom of the post is a summary table of all the wineries near Cape Town mentioned in this article with the details in a handy format to help you choose.
Delaire Graff – Jewel of the Cape winelands
What do you get when you combine one of the best known jewelers in the world with one of the most stunning locations on the Stellenbosch wine route?
The answer is Delaire Graff, a glamorous yet surprisingly unpretentious winery on the slopes of the Helshoogte Pass (from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek).
Laurence Graff founded Graff Diamonds in 1960 in England and has since been cutting and designing the shiny rocks for clientele all over the world from the 29th Sultan of Brunei to Prince Turki II bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. It’s no wonder that the location is nicknamed “The Jewel of the Cape Winelands”.
The first thing you notice when entering the winery is the superior service. Along with being a luxury winery, they are family-focused and therefore serve guests professionally but also make them feel warm and welcome. Right from the security guard at the entrance to the staff who are all extremely accommodating.
Delaire Graff’s tasting room and view
The epic gardens blend seamlessly with the building that has an epic foyer for that additional wow factor on arrival. You’ll also notice artworks surrounding the premises, from paintings to sculptures, which are from Graff’s personal collection.
The tasting room, or as they rightfully call it, the Wine Lounge, is beautifully adorned with plump purple leather sofas, marble tabletops and fireplace, polished wooden floors and high timber ceilings.
The outdoor area provides panoramic views of several of Stellenbosch’s mountains, making a great spot for some dynamic photo opportunities.
Tasting at Delaire Graff
As for the wines, their Cabernet Franc Rose is probably their biggest seller as they have four 20,000 liter tanks just for this purpose. While all their 16 wines in the range are delicious, the most unique is the Cape Vintage which is matured in 20-year-old oak barrels for 12 months with an additional 18 months bottle maturation. The winemaker, Morné Vrey, excels at this delicious South African take on Port.
I was particularly fond of their Banghoek Reserve Chardonnay which is barrel fermented and aged for 10 months in french oak and has a woody influence along with the usual butteriness. Perfect for a sunny day.
The most awarded wines are the Delaire Graff Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (2017) which got a 5* on the Platter’s Guide and a 93 from Tim Atkin’s. The Laurence Graff Reserve (2015, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon) received 4.5* and a 96. For the rest of their wines, some of the grapes are estate, others are brought in from around Stellies and even more, like the Chenin, come from Swartland. So you’ll get the full range of tastes from all over the Cape at Delaire Graff.
The winery produces around 300,000-400,000 liters per year with a large international audience, particularly from Europe, the US, and Brazil. They were also awarded the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show in 2016 for South Africa’s Most Successful Producer.
Apart from the wine, Delaire Graff has two fine-dining restaurants. The eponymous Delaire Graff Restaurant serves “bistro-chic cuisine” that comes either in a tasting menu form or a la carte. The focus is on fresh, local ingredients from chicken, beef and fish to more inventive coffee-spiced venison and the playful Textures of Butternut.
The second restaurant is Asian-fusion Indochine which often cuts the list for best restaurants in South Africa. Chef Virgil Kahn cooks up an organic storm after picking fresh herbs and microgreens from the Estate’s very own greenhouse.
Expect Asian classics like beef rendang and Tom Yum Goong to some South African twists like Karoo Lamb cutlets with falafel or Ponzu Kudu.
You can also choose to stay at Delaire Graff at their lodges with the recently built Superior Villa being the top pick. Each lodge has its own private sundeck with heated plunge pool. See more photos and make a booking here.
The lodges are part of the Relais & Chateaux hotel group, so you know you will find quality amid the luxury. The spa is tranquil and relaxing with beauty products from Swiss Perfection, Aromatherapy Associates and Terres d’Afrique.
Wine tasting: Estate Range: 3 wines, R75; 4 wines, R100; 4 wines, R125. Icon Tasting: 5 wines, R350. Per glass also available.
Food & Restaurants: Tasting room – Cheese/Charcuterie Platters R380, Various snacks R25-R165. Two fine-dining restaurants – Indochine and Delaire Graff Restaurant.
Services: Graff Diamonds Boutique, 100% Capri Luxurious linens, Vana high-end accessories by Vanashree Singh, Africa Nova Traditional African Artefacts & Contemporary design.
Accommodation: Yes – luxury lodges and spa. Book your stay here
Who should visit: Luxury travelers, foodies, those who have a taste for the good life
Tours: Book This tour explores the winelands with a stop at Delairre Graff and is conducted in multiple languages. You also get to explore Stellenbosch town. You can also choose a luxury wine tour that stops at Delaire Graff here. Or create your own private tour on Getyourguide with a visit to Delaire Graff and any other winery of your choice here.
Peter Falke – Boutique winery open on Sunday afternoon
While Peter Falke may not usually top the list of wineries near Cape Town, it is such a great place to unwind, especially on a Sunday when all the other wineries are completely shut down or closed by lunchtime.
The owner, Peter Falke, is the famed Falke sock producer hailing from Schmallenberg in Germany. He has been in the country for quite some time, starting with a factory in the Cape Town suburb of Bellville.
He bought the property in Stellenbosch, which has outstanding views of the towering mountains above, in 1995. Award-winning winemaker and viticulturist Werner Schrenk joined in 2008 and Louis Nel joined as consultant winemaker in 2013.
Wine tasting at Peter Falke
The interior of the tasting room is highly styled with neon reds, deep blacks and clean edges everywhere. But while the interior is nice enough, it’s the outside where you’ll want to enjoy your time.
The pristine lawns welcome anyone to laze about in the sun and the trellised pathways invite exploration (with a glass in hand of course).
Menu and wine choice at Peter Falke
Their Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are quick sellers, in fact, they were out of stock when I went to visit in July (with the harvest ending in February). As they are a boutique wine farm (with about 8,000 bottles produced per year), the grapes for their whites are sourced from their neighbors. Only the Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz are from the property.
Old Cape Dutch building and views at Peter Falke
Falke has a great range of sundowner choices from the Blanc de Noir made from Cabernet Sauvignon, an MCC, a Brut from Chardonnay and a sweet Muscat dessert wine made from Hanepoort grapes. Pair this with a platter and you have the perfect pre-dinner treat.
Sculptures at Peter Falke
Wine tasting: Signature Collection and PF Collection (excludes PF Muscat d’Alexandrie & PF MCC): R80
Red Wines Only: R65
PF Collection Only: R65
Food & Restaurants: They do cheese platters and only sell cold food, like a charcuterie platter (R225), springbok carpaccio, and salad, with the exception of cheese nachos and in winter they do soup. Most food is around R145. No restaurant.
Accommodation: No, but you can find some stunning places to stay in Stellenbosch by booking online here.
Who should visit: Couples looking to have a sundowner, families
Tours: Create your own private tour on Getyourguide with a visit to Peter Falke and any other winery of your choice here.
Uva Mira – A winery with stunning views
It’s no surprise that the owner to the rights of Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini in South Africa, Toby Venter, would produce some top shelf wine from the highest altitude wines in the country. And they really are spectacular.
You’ll find Uva Mira, a boutique winery where the major focus is on quality over quantity, perched at around 620m above sea level. In fact, winemaker Christiaan Coetzee travels overseas every year to handpick each French oak barrel and has free range to experiment with innovative technology.
Uva Mira, which draws its name from one of the brightest stars in the Cetus constellation, means “wonderful grape” in Latin. And to make sure that they live up to their name, they take no shortcuts to quality.
To solidify that the wines are of a premium standard, Uva Mira wines are only entered into international competitions so that they are on par with international standards.
The tasting room at Uva Mira
Another reason why the wines excel in quality is due to the region in the South African wine world called the Golden Triangle. Thanks to great temperatures and soils the terroir is particularly good for red wines, so you’ll notice that Uva Mira reds are more delicate than the usual masculine Stellenbosch ones.
The combination of soil and ocean breezes drafting in from False Bay below create a cooling effect on the grapes which also play a very important role in upping the quality of the grapes. The minerality of the Mira Chardonnay for instance is crisp and fresh, and I personally fell in love with it.
Wine tasting outside at Uva Mira
What’s more, the berry sorting is done on a conveyor belt, where all grapes are selected by hand. So depending on the harvest they would make around 70,000 – 100,000 bottles.
The wines are also stored for three years in a cooling room to mature. So if you’re planning to take some home and have patience, the ageing potential is around 10-15 years if stored correctly.
The flagship wine, the OTV is an ode to owner Toby Venter’s father, Ockert Tobias Venter Senior. You can be sure that this Bordeaux blend, where the percentage of each grape cultivar changes every year depending on the quality, will be marvelous.
Even if you have a travel companion who is not that much into wines, you should come here for the views. It’s one of the only wineries in the area with ocean and farmland views and it is absolutely breathtaking.
The attention to detail is also fantastic, I’ve never seen a golden drip saver before! So extravagant.
Wine tasting: The Mira Classic tasting includes 3 wines at R70. The Mira Collection Tasting includes all 5 wines in the Mira Collection at R110. Tastings are from 10-5 everyday of the week.
Food & Restaurants: Artisan cheese platter (R225), Savory Meat Platter (R225), Mixed Platter (R250).
Accommodation: No, but you can find some stunning places to stay in Stellenbosch by booking online here.
Who should visit: Wine lovers who enjoy spectacular views and world class service
Tours: Create your own private tour on Getyourguide with a visit to Uva Mira and any other winery of your choice here.
Rust en Vrede – Mandela’s favorite
If you trust Nelson Mandela’s advice, then you should definitely make a visit to Rust en Vrede. Why? Because the former President selected Rust en Vrede to be served at the Nobel Peace Prize dinner in Oslo in 1993.
He then selected Rust en Vrede for the South African Export Achievement Award in 1997. Along with being Madiba’s wine of choice, it’s also one of my favorite wines in South Africa, which is a bold statement.
The farm was established in 1694 by the legendary Simon van der Stel, and after changing hands a few times, it ended by in the loving care of the Engelbrecht family, who took over in the 1970s. They began to focus their attention on red wine, growing only Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.
Rust en Vrede tasting room
They make 200,000-220,000 bottles per annum from the 39 hectares under vine. Each of the three cultivars has its own individual wine, except for the Merlot, the last vintage of which was made in 2017, and there are two blends.
The Single Vineyard wines are single cultivar wines where micromanaged single vineyards are selected, as they produce lower yields with higher quality. These wines are therefore quite limited as they’re taken from a single block of the oldest vines (around 20 years old).
The first blend is the Estate Blend and has been the flagship wine for the past 40 years. This was the first South African wine to make the Top 100 List from Wine Spectator magazine and has made it four times since.
A fun fact about this blend is that the percentage of the grapes in the blend is the same as the percentage of grapes on the property. It’s a unique blend with a 60/30/10 split of Cab Sav/Syrah/Merlot respectively.
Their next blend and the most decorated bottle is the delicious 1694, the first vintage of which was made in 2006 and is a blend of the two single vineyard wines, with a 60/40 split between Syrah/Cab Sav.
For white wine lovers who are thinking of giving Rust en Vrede a pass, give it a second chance as their Donkiesbaai Steen (Chenin Blanc) is absolutely exquisite.
The grapes for Donkiesbaai are sourced from the Piekenierskloof, about 200km north of Cape Town. Multiple vinification methods are used – concrete eggs, stainless steel tanks, old barrels and clay amphora – and then blended to make a complex, textured wine.
Cellar at Rust en Vrede
There is also a fun and super quick walk-in cellar tour which is done in about 10mins. You can see the unique bottle storage facility among the brick walls in the underground natural cooling cellar and learn some interesting wine facts about the punch-downs, pump-overs and fermentation processes. Don’t forget to look up at the gorgeous ceiling made from used oak barrel slats.
Old Cape Dutch architecture at Rust en Vrede
If you’re peckish, there are two options for food depending on what time of day you come. The Winemaker’s Lunch is an informal, no frills, two-option meal of either steak with a glass of Estate Syrah or Salmon with Donkiesbaai Steen. Lunch is taken on the patio with amazing views or in the cellar if the rain arrives.
The restaurant on the other hand is a fine-dining, evening-only event of a 4-10 course meal where you will have to book in advance. It’s situated in the old cellar which is a lovely Cape Dutch building and it is a fabulous meal worthy of a trip from Cape Town for a special occasion (we know because we’ve done it twice).
Wine tasting: Estate Tasting – all current Estate wines: R60
Vertical Tasting – a wine from 4 different years: R120
Single Vineyard Tasting: R120
Tasting of all Wines: R150
Food & Restaurants: Winemaker’s Lunch in the tasting room and outside on the terrace between 12-3pm. Two menu options paired with a glass of wine, chalmar steak and Estate Syrah (R270) or Norwegian Salmon and Donkiesbaai Steen (R270). No bookings, first-come basis. Rust en Vrede fine-dining restaurant for dinner only, bookings essential.
Services: Informal free cellar tour under 10 mins, walk-ins welcome.
Accommodation: No, but you can find some stunning places to stay in Stellenbosch by booking online here.
Who should visit: Wine connoisseurs & foodies
Tours: Create your own private tour on Getyourguide with a visit to Vrede en Rust and any other winery of your choice here.
Spier – Family friendly and very near Cape Town
Traveling families who want to experience a Stellenbosch wine farm that’s relatively close to Cape Town should make Spier their first pick. The 800 hectare property has something for all walks of life from wine to segway tours to art walks and even a bird sanctuary.
Although the farm started in the 1600s, they only started producing wine in the 1700s. In fact, they only used vines as pergolas to shade the vegetables before the correct wine producing methods arrived in the country.
Pond views and sculptures at Spier
After many changes in ownership, South African businessman and billionaire Richard “Dick” Enthoven purchased Spier Wine Farm in 1993. He has since turned it into a visually stunning property with a variety of activities, eateries, as well as a hotel and spa.
Spier also finally succeeded in their efforts to make the farm 100% certified organic, which is no easy task in South Africa, especially for a farm their size, with additional properties in the Helderberg mountains, Paarl and Durbanville. It was a gruelling 15 year process, but they were finally certified organic in 2017.
Wine selection at Spier
Their wine range is enormous, and includes the Signature Collection, Seaward, 21 Gables, Frans K Smit, MCC, Secret Sparkling, Ideology, Cape Winemakers Guild, Vintage Selection, Creative Block, Organic Range and a Collaborative Series.
There are even some wines produced for the foreign market that can’t be tasted or bought in the country. There are a total of nine winemakers at Spier, each at the helm of a different range.
Treats at Spier
Wine enthusiasts looking for the largest selection at a single stop should definitely drop by. But don’t worry about the quantity, quality has been kept and Spier is a world class winery.
I like the idea behind the Creative Block range. The soils and altitude throughout the various blocks are different, so the winemakers experiment with styles, methods and cultivars to form a final product. The name Creative Block also suggest that the winemaker is an artist when creating wine.
Spier tasting room
The 21 Gables range also has some thought behind it and is a tribute to the Cape Dutch heritage of the farm. You can actually visit and see all the historic gables on the farm on a heritage tour.
While they may be a massive wine farm, their spirit of social responsibility and sustainability is seen throughout the farm. They run various initiatives, both social and environmental, that have been recognised by some major institutions like WWF, Fair Trade in Tourism and the African Responsible Tourism Awards. It’s an ethos we can all get behind while sipping away.
And talking of tours, Spier does not offer a cellar tour, but does have other great adventures to experience. The Segway Tour offers a look into the workings of the farm from grapes to livestock and shows how a wine farm becomes certified organic.
There are three segway tours to choose from, the one-hour whistle-stop tour, two-hour farmlands route or the two-hour sunset tour. If you’re not into the wheeled version, you can do a self-guided walking tour of the premises with either a Heritage Walk, River Walk or download the VoiceMap app (the same one for Groot Constantia) and listen to Spier’s history while taking in the sights.
Eagle Encounters is a great way to pass time with the kids, there is a Crafts Market in the Summer months and there’s even a Spier magazine to pass some time. As the winery has a big focus on art, you can also visit the Spier Artisan Studio which is a mosaic and ceramic workshop.
Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery
And of course there are several choices of eateries from Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery to the Hotel Restaurant, as well as a Farm Cafe and Picnics on the lawn.
After all the fun you’re having, you may not want to leave. And that’s perfectly okay as there is a luxury 4* hotel built village-style along the Eerste River with a Kids’ Clubhouse as well as a Spa. You can see reviews and book your stay at Spier here.
Food at Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery
Wine tasting: Spier Tasting: 3 wines from the Signature range and one from each of the three premium wine ranges, 21 Gables, Creative Block and Seaward – R40
Winemaker Selection: 2 premium wine ranges plus Spier’s organic red wine, First Stone – R90
Children’s Grape Juice Tasting: Perfect for kids and includes a lucky packet, tasting of two grape juices and an activity sheet – R40
Tastings can be waived depending on circumstances such as the amount of bottles purchased and the type of tasting done. The wine ambassadors will use their discretion, so you can always try your luck.
Wine Club Members enjoy some benefits like purchasing 12 bottles with a 15% discount, 1 free tasting per year and some tastings of wines made for export. Members also get discounts on the restaurant and hotel.
Food & Restaurants: Chocolate and wine tasting: R70. Cheese, olive and charcuterie platters can also be purchased.
Spier Farm Cafe Tuesday – Sunday from 8am to 5pm, also has picnics in the summer months for R275. Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery for smoked meats and delicious desserts. Fine-dining and traditional specialties at the Hotel Restaurant.
Services: Art experiences at the Arts Collection, Artisan Studio and the Mosaic Kraal. Tours that include a vineyard segway tour, all the birds at Eagle Encounters and a few self-guided walks. There’s also a craft market selling authentically South African crafts during the summer months.
Accommodation: Luxury 4* hotel on the grounds and along the riverside. There is also a spa with 3 different options from shoulder and neck massages to Malachite Crystal Extract, Baobab fruit Powder and Omega Rich luxury facials. Book your stay here.
Who should visit: Families, art lovers and active travelers
Tours: Create your own private tour on Getyourguide with a visit to Spier and any other winery of your choice here.
Kanonkop – Most awarded wines
This winery near Cape Town is for serious wine aficionados looking for top quality wines and a more personalised tasting experience.
Kanonkop is not a destination where people come for souvenirs, cheese platters or gimmicky activities – the focus is on the wine. Also, I recommend you leave the kids at home for this one.
The cellar is smaller and more intimate than some of the other wineries on this list with only three tables that can fit eight people, a countertop that fits twelve and small tables for six.
The “Kanonkop experience” is not a pushy, snobbish affair where wine ambassadors read a script about each wine’s notes, instead, they are super friendly, welcoming, sincere and informative.
Kanonkop is a family-owned estate bought in 1903 by the Sauers. The wine farm dates back to 1953 when Paul Sauer inherited it and planted the first vines. The first wine made under the Kanonkop label was a Cab Sav/Pinotage blend in 1973, when they broke away from the Stellenbosch Farmers Market.
Kanonkop wine selection
The winery’s name comes with an interesting anecdote. Kanon is the Afrikaans word for canon and refers to the canon that used to be perched on the hill in the Simonsberg Nature Reserve. You can see into the False Bay harbour from up top and the canon was sounded every two hours as the ships arrived in the harbour. The farmers then knew they could take their produce to the harbor and do trading.
Paul Sauer has done a lot for the agricultural sector and wine industry in South Africa. He was the first student at the agricultural college Elsenburg and was an advocate for wines to be legalised for sale in supermarkets.
He also wanted to teach people the culture of drinking wine without being a snob about it. Paul knew the value of personal preference when it comes to wine and was often heard saying that “the best wine is the wine in your glass”.
Wine tasting room and gallery at Kanonkop
After Paul passed, his youngest daughter Mary inherited the farm. She passed the farm on to the two current owners, Johan (CEO) and Paul Krige (Head Supervisor). So the farm is currently in the fourth generation.
You can really feel the family spirit when you arrive and I was told that of the roughly 65 permanent employees on the farm, some were even born there. Everyone is treated as an equal and the brothers know everyone by name. Just being related to the owners doesn’t solidify a position, you have to earn your spot, nepotism is unheard of at Kanonkop.
The South African cultivar, Pinotage, is their main focus with 60% of the farm being Pinotage bush vines. If you haven’t tasted Pinotage before, this is the place to try it. As mentioned above, pinotage was created by Dr Abraham Izak Perold in 1925 by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsault (or Hermitage).
Wine is a strict and serious business at Kanonkop and it shows as Wine Master Abrie Beeslaar won international winemaker of the year award several times from the IWSC. Viticulturist Annelie Viljoen also takes very good care of her crops.
To produce this amount they bring in grapes from 31 estates in the Stellies area with only 10% being their own grapes. It’s a 37/36% blend of Cab Sauv/Pinotage with 25% Merlot and a little Cabernet Franc and sits in French oak for 14 months.
In 2010 they started producing a Pinotage Rose which is a palatable summer wine leaning towards a Provance style that’s light and refreshing. New kid on the block Kadette Pinotage was introduced in 2012, and The Cabernet Sauvignon is a hidden gem, as most people come for the Pinotage.
The flagship, the Kanonkop Paul Sauer, named after the former owner, was the first South African wine to receive 100 points by Tim Atkins (for the 2015 vintage), which surged this Cape Town winery’s status to new heights.
It’s a classic Bordeaux blend that uses only new oak for 24 months and is released on July 1 every year. It’s also the only wine that gets pre-blended before going into the barrel and is made using only estate grapes.
The piece de resistance is the Black Label, named after the color of the wine wrapping and not the whiskey. The Black Label is a single vineyard wine made from the older certified Pinotage vines that were first planted in 1953. The specific block is 3.8 hectares, so production is low, at between 5-6,000 bottles annually.
There are two tastings you can choose from, either the walk-in Cellar Tasting or the Private Tasting which must be booked in advance. The standard wine tasting includes six of the seven wines, but the miniscule R70 fee is waived if you purchase a bottle. Their epic Black Label is an additional R130 per glass which will not be waived. A bottle will set you back R1,850 (in 2019).
Once your tasting is over you’re welcome to explore the premises including the cellar and small Art Gallery. There is also a tiny gift shop for wine snobs like myself with practical gifts like wine-away and antiox wine savers. Souvenirs like a little canon pin can also be purchased for fans.
Wine tasting: Standard Tasting: R70, fee waived on purchase of wine. Preferably no more than 8 people. No bookings required.
Black Label Pinotage Tasting: R145, non-refundable.
Premium Tasting: R130, with a minimal charge of R550. This is a seated, dedicated tasting of around 45min and can be done with between 1 and 40 people. This is for serious wine lovers who want to learn more than just the wines.
Private Tasting: The creme de la creme of tastings for serious wine enthusiasts that is private, seated, and runs about 90mins long. Bookings between 1 to 20 people is R3000 and 21 to 40 people is R6000. Bookings are required. What you get is a taste of current vintages, as well as 3 Estate Wines of around 10 years old. But if you want to taste the Black Label Pinotage it’s an additional R1500.
Food & Restaurants: There are pre-booked lunches and dinners with a traditional Cape Snoek barbeque all year round. There is a minimum of 15 people and bookings are essential. In summer, there are cheese plates under the oaks along with a glass of red wine.
Who should visit: True wine aficionados that want a detailed tasting with excellent service
Tours: Create your own private tour on Getyourguide with a visit to Kanonkop and any other winery of your choice here.
Tokara – Picture perfect winery
Driving over the Helshoogte Pass (from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek) will give you the good kind of chills.
The panoramic views of the tall mountains make it feel like you are somewhere in a Lord of the Rings movie. The Simonsberg Nature Reserve to the north and Banghoek Conservancy to the south provide one of the most epic sights.
Right at its centre lies Tokara, which is the best representation of a picture perfect winery near Cape Town. It has great wines, is situated in one of the most beautiful locations in the city, is art-focused, has spectacular architecture and has some great dining options.
The grounds at Tokara
Tokara is classy, yet family-friendly, so you can bring the kids and snap some pics for Insta all at the same time. You can wander through the vineyards and olive tree groves or peruse some sculptures on the art walk. There’s also a kid’s playground with a slide that looks more like a tree and a large hammock-type swing.
Tokara tasting room area
There are 15 wines to choose from and even a potstill brandy if that’s your poison. Sit on the veranda of the restaurant and sip away while you take in the gorgeous views of Stellenbosch below.
Speaking about restaurants, Tokara has two choices to whet your palate. Tokara Restaurant is a more refined eatery where South African artist William Kentridge’s tapestries line the walls. The menu is inspired by the South African countryside and showcases head chef Carolize Coetzee’s upbringing in the Eastern Cape. It can be defined as “plaaskos” or farm cuisine.
The second option, the Delicatessen, is a more family-oriented affair with a lighter meal, but still has some utterly delicious dining options. This is where the majority of the outdoor artwork is on display and it’s where the kids playground is situated.
Free olive oil tasting at Tokara
There is also a free olive oil tasting at the Delicatessen where bread, olives and several different Award Winning olive oils are available for tasting. You can also visit the little store where you can purchase some nice souvenirs for the kitchen back home.
Wine lovers must be sure to pop into Thelema Mountain Vineyards, which is on the same property and a quick walk down.
Wine tasting: R100 for 8 wines and the brandy tasting.
Food & Restaurants: Free olive oil tasting. Fine-dining Tokara Restaurant with terroir focused contemporary cuisine lunch is from Tuesday to Sunday and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday.
The Delicatessen which serves some delicious food beyond only the deli snacks.
Accommodation: No, but there are some truly beautiful and luxurious stays in the Stellenbosch area which you can book online here.
Who should visit: Families, foodies, artists and olive oil enthusiasts
Tours: Create your own private tour on Getyourguide with a visit to Tokara and any other winery of your choice here.
Hidden Valley – A luxury winery getaway
Driving into Hidden Valley is a beautiful surprise. You can’t really see the premises from the road and the fairly steep driveway up to the ergonomic building makes it all the more exciting. Once you park and get out of the car you’re welcomed with one of the most sought after views in Stellenbosch.
The winery invites you in with the signature bronze mask sculpture, meticulously designed by local artist Willie Botha. The same Hellenic-era inspired face adorns all the wine bottles.
Just like Uva Mira above, Hidden Valley sits at quite a high altitude and is situated in the Golden Triangle. The area allows the breeze from the False Bay ocean to flow through the vineyards, and along with the decomposed granite soils creates a unique terroir.
Art and wines at Hidden Valley
Hidden Valley has a stringent sustainability policy where they “work with nature” to make sure that all farming methods are in accordance with the latest conservation practices. They are also a member of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative and a WWF Conservation Champions in Wine. So you can sip soundly knowing that the thriving ecosystem surrounding you is well looked after.
The wines are therefore top notch where winemaker Annalie van Dyk uses her years of international and local experience to ensure the highest quality.
Having a tasting at Hidden Valley is calming and comfortable. You can choose from an array of different platters, pairings and picnics while you look over the rolling green hills and the silvery sheen of the olive groves. There’s even an option for an intimate and secluded picnic & tasting or even a vineyard tasting.
The Deck at Hidden Valley
Opt for the veranda next to Overture restaurant for the best views. Nature lovers can choose to sip some vino on the deck overlooking the small dam that also offers some informal light snacks.
Overture restaurant setting at Hidden Valley
Since 2007, Overture Restaurant has been pleasing guests with its local and seasonal menu. Award winning Chef Patron Bertus Basson is constantly pushing the boundaries of haute cuisine, surprising hungry tummies and weary eyes with inventive treats.
Overture shares the same fantastic views with the wine tasting area where on a clear day you can see all the way to Robben Island.
Not only can you look at the scenery, but you also get to explore the meticulously landscaped environment on foot through the nature trails. You can explore the endemic flora and fauna, particularly the local fynbos and proteas.
And after your walk in the wilderness, why not continue the fun and stay the night at the 5* self-catered Bush Lodge. You’re ensured countryside tranquillity in luxurious seclusion. Just like the name of the winery, the Lodge is also hidden away in the slopes of the sprawling Helderberg mountains.
Bush Lodge views at Hidden Valley
Similar to the main building, the Lodge was also built according to best environmental practices, making as little disturbance as possible to the surroundings, it’s also the perfect spot for a good old South African braai (BBQ). Have a dip in the pool for extra relaxation. See why they have an almost perfect score on Booking.com and reserve your stay here.
Wine tasting: Wine Tasting is R65 for 5 wines & served with complimentary olives, olive oil & bread. The Chocolate & Wine Pairing is R115. Open 7 days a week from 8am-6pm in summer and 8am-5pm in winter
Food & Restaurants: Cheese Platter for two (R195), a Charcuterie & Cheese Platter for two (R375) and a Winter Soup Platter for two (R250, May-September)
Overture Restaurant Food & Wine Pairing includes 4-courses paired with Hidden Valley Wines at R875 per person.
There are also secluded picnics which comes with a picnic basket for two and includes a selection of charcuterie, cheese, bread, fruit, olives & something sweet for R440.
The Vineyard Wine Tasting Experience is something you’d want for a celebration and has breathtaking views, a wine tasting experience, and a charcuterie & cheese platters for R395pp with a minimum of 10pax. Only from September-April.
Overture Restaurant is an award winning, fine dining restaurant. The Deck, an informal eatery on floating deck on a dam with views of the mountain and dam.
Services: Cellar tours are done daily between 10-11am and 2-3pm. Cost is R25 per person. There is also a sculpture studio with well-known sculptor, Willie Botha’s works and a Nature Trail.
Accommodation: You can stay at the luxury Bush Lodge. You can book your stay here.
Who should visit: Hikers, luxury travelers and foodies
Tours: Create your own private tour on Getyourguide with a visit to Hidden Valley and any other winery of your choice here.
Boschendal – Wine tourism at its best
Boschendal is big, seriously big, a total of 1,800 hectares big. If you ate at the famous restaurant Werf and wanted to do a wine tasting on the other side of the farm, you either have to walk 15mins or drive.
Thanks to its expansive grounds, there are a host of activities to keep an entire family busy for several hours from picnics on the lawn to farm tours to MTB trails and more.
Founded in 1685, Boschendal is said to be the second oldest winery in South Africa after Groot Constantia. For curious wine enthusiasts interested in etymology, Boschendal means “Bush and Valley” which describes what you’ll see upon arrival to this wine farm on the outskirts of Franschhoek.
The grounds at Boschendal
The farm is surrounded by the Drakenstein and Simonsberg mountain ranges that together create some epically panoramic views. Both mountains are a peek into the history of the area.
Drakenstein is named after Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Drakenstein who was a Dutch commissioner that pioneered agricultural in the country. Simonsberg is named after the infamous Simon van der Stel (Stellenbosch is also named after him) another pioneer in agriculture, particularly in wine. The entire area is called Groot Drakenstein.
Outdoor tasting area at Boschendal
Wine lovers have several tasting options available depending on your preference. The informal Cellar Door Wine Tasting has several different locations and pairing options. You can sip your vino under a giant oak tree, in a rose garden, or near the flagship restaurant.
There’s a choice of bubbly, premium or entry level wines with a variety of pairing options from chocolate to cheese to biltong. You can read about all the options here.
Wine aficionados should select the The Manor House Wine Tasting, which is a more personal affair in a private room. There is the Historic Tasting of 5 wines which explores the history of Boschendal and a Connoisseur Tasting of 5 limited release wines. In the Connoisseur Tasting, the wines are served in various Riedel glasses to suit the grape variety, pretty fancy.
The Werf restaurant at Boschendal
If your tummy starts to grumble, no problem as there are a variety of options to choose from. Your first pick should be fine-dining Werf, which is a highly awarded sustainable restaurant where the menu is seasonal and divided into Garden, Ocean, Pasture, and Sweet. You’ll see the cooks running out to the organic garden to fetch the produce, truly farm to table.
The Werf restaurant views at Boschendal
The Deli is a bistro-style, laid back dining joint with classic Farmer’s Breakfasts, Black Angus cheese burgers, and pizza from a wood-fired oven. There is also a kids lunch menu. The Rhone Homestead Buffet has a pre-booked lunch or dinner option for private functions and conferencing. And there is also a Farm Shop and Butchery if you’d prefer to cook at home.
The Deli area at Boschendal
Beyond the food, activities abound at Boschendal from edifying farm and vineyard tours, to horse riding, cellar tours and even MTB trails. If you’re into history and sustainable farming, then the farm tour is highly recommended. I went on it and were super impressed.
In the future, they plan on adding a whole bunch of new activities from yoga to new mountain hiking trails. So keep checking their site for more. There’s even plans for overnight glamping in one of the three caves on the mountains for guests.
The Treehouse at Boschendal
Parents who are looking for a winery near Cape town to taste wine in peace and quiet can drop their kids at the cutesy Tree House which has a wonderfully designed wooden structure for them to play on and loads of activities.
There are activities like farm foraging where they show what the staff do on the farm. The kids then forage for their own produce, and then make their own food, with a large menu to choose from, although they usually choose pizza.
And of course, there is some really high end accommodation, which is a wonderful Farm Stay where you get to laze around in renovated Cape Dutch cottages. You can see more reviews and book your stay at Boschendal here.
Remember that the grounds are impressively large, so you will be staying away from the hustle and bustle of the day visitors and will be in serene silence and surrounded by expansive gardens. There is also a Farm Spa with a range of wonderful treatments.
If you’d like to learn more about some of Boschendal’s initiatives and their “4 Cs” of conservation, community, commerce and celebration, then read on below. Otherwise, skip to our next winery on this list of best wineries near Cape Town.
Nature is the focal point at Boschendal where they work hard on sustainability and organic produce. The farm is like a little village and they try not to source anything externally.
If they do need to bring in produce, like milk, they do so from farms in the area with a similar organic and sustainable credo. They want to leave the earth in a better condition than what they found it in with an ambition to be the top experiential tourism provider in the world.
Gardening system at Boschendal
Over the past five years or so, Boschendal has grown its staff from a humble 50 employees to around 600. This is a clear example of their focus on sustainability and community-driven social empowerment, which is invigorating.
As the residents at Boschendal used to live sustainably back in the day, making their own food, candles, soap and so on, they have tried to live up to this credo by following their ancestors. Taking the 2 hour Walking Tour of the farm will show you the inner workings of Boschendal and it is highly recommended.
As you walk through the garden you can see the organic produce from tomatoes to lettuce and can really feel their “4 Cs” at work – conservation, community, commerce and celebration. You learn about such initiatives as the “Seed Trust”, where employees at the farm can take home seeds from the garden for free to plant their own food at home.
If a job position opens up, they would rather train one of their employees to fill it than hire from the outside. For example, if they need a cook, they would train a current employee using training company Lobster Ink instead of talent scouting.
They are also experimenting with sustainable farming practices to uplift those in rural areas, like the Eastern Cape, where people have a lot of land but no agricultural experience. Their Model Farm system uses animals to work the land so that all the farmer needs is irrigation to grow some crops.
They use seven blocks for experimenting in this way. First the cows go in and eat the grass to a certain level, then the pigs come in and till everything, after this the chickens arrive and spread the manure of the cows and pigs and they drop their own manure which has nitrogen that the soil needs. Add some irrigation and you’re ready to plant, no humans needed.
You can clearly see that this is working as the soil used to be rocky, but now it’s about 2-3cm of top soil that is good for farming. They plan to implement this in rural areas in the near future.
Wine tasting: Cellar Door Wine Tasting: A more informal affair with several different locations and pairing options. There are too many options to mention here, so you can get an overview of all the tastings and pairings, as well as locations here.
The Manor House Wine Tasting is a more private and personal option for true wine enthusiasts. You will need to reserve this one as you have your signature experiences in a private room. There is the Historic Tasting of 5 wines which explores the history of Boschendal and a Connoisseur Tasting of 5 limited release wines. In the Connoisseur Tasting, the wines are served in various Riedel glasses to suit the grape variety. The Manor House tasting is R250pp and lasts around an hour.
Food & Restaurants: Pairings include: MCC & Chocolate (R75), Wine & Chocolate (R95), Cheese Platter for 2 (R125), and Biltong/Droëwors (R50).
Apart from their festive summer picnics with live music, there are other dining options. This includes 2 other picnic options which are the Rhone Rose Garden Picnics and Werf Farm Picnics.
Fine-dining at Werf goes from R450 for 3 plates (R740 with wine pairing) and R550 for 4 (R935 with wine pairing).
The Deli is a bistro-style, laid back dining joint with a kids lunch menu.
The Rhone Homestead Buffet is for private functions and conferencing. Farm Shop and Butchery as well.
Services: Activities include farm tours and vineyard tours, horse riding, cellar tours and even MTB trails.
Tree House for kids with a wooden structure to play on and loads of activities.
Farm Spa with a range of wonderful treatments.
Accommodation: Farm Stay where you get to laze around in renovated Cape Dutch cottages. Book your stay here.
Who should visit: Families, foodies and active travelers
Tours: Create your own private tour on Getyourguide with a visit to Boschendal and any other winery of your choice here.
La Motte – A Cape Dutch classic
La Motte is packed with history, art and gorgeous wines. The current owner Hanneli Rupert is in fact the 19th owner in a line that extends back to 1695, making it one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa.
Before being handed over to Hanneli, La Motte was acquired by her late father, Dr. Anton Rupert, in 1970. He actually bought three wine farms in the area. The others include L’Ormarins known (apart from its wines) for its Motor Museum, and Drakenstein Stud Farm, owned by Anton’s son, Anthonij.
After Antonij passed away from a tragic car accident in 2001, the Franschhoek wine farm was handed over to Johann, Anton’s other son.
The third winery on the Fredericksburg farm is now under the name Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons in partnership with the De Rothschild family of France. Their wine, particularly the Classique which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, is found throughout the world.
As you can clearly see, La Motte is a family-run affair, which is extended through Hanneli’s husband, Hein Koegelenberg, who, apart from being a certified winemaker, is CEO of La Motte. Hanneli’s mother, Huberte, was an art aficionado and played an immense role in the preservation of art within South Africa.
Female empowerment is a theme at la Motte
You will notice that La Motte has two artistic themes throughout its premises. The first is female empowerment which is evident right from entering the premises where the first female figure greets guests among the backdrop of La Motte Mountain.
The second is the artwork of South African artist Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef who is most well known for his landscape paintings and linocuts. Hanneli’s parents started acquiring his linocuts when she was a child.
When Pierneef passed away his daughter, Marite Bailey, approached La Motte to ask if they’d like to purchase some of her original collection and a friendship grew out of this. There are also some deeply personal pieces, like the two small artworks drawn especially for Marite’s dollhouse when she was a child.
There is a large collection which is displayed throughout the grounds and in the Museum. The Museum also has a history of the farm and a curator if you have any questions. The Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch was established by Hanneli’s mother.
The winery produces 1.5 million bottles per year with estate grapes (around 75-80 hectares under vine) as well as some other wine farms in the Cape South Coast area.
The viticulturist, Pietie le Roux, has been overseeing the vineyards since 1986 and it was one of the first wine estates to be awarded the coveted ISO 14001 Environmental Management Certification.
Entrance to La Motte
Grapes are also brought in from various producers that have a long running partnership with La Motte or they rent land and grow grapes on those properties with the same stringent requirements that push sustainable farming methods.
La Motte is also a WWF Conservation Champion Wine Estate which means it is acknowledged as an environmental leader in the industry for “commitment to conservation, responsible production practices, integrated environmental management systems, and spearheading innovations in water, energy efficiency and climate adaptation”.
What you get at the intimate tasting room is a guided experience through their delicious wines that are full of natural flavors and a history of sustainable practices. The grounds are very pretty with sculptures placed ergonomically throughout the gardens.
Cross the little bridge to the tasting room with wooden floors and furniture and a glass wall that covers the cellar. The setting is more of an intimate affair, without the tour buses you might see at the larger wineries.
The most notable cultivar is Syrah as Wine Master Edmund Terblanche is the chairman of the Shiraz Association of South Africa, so he no doubt works closely with this grape. If you are a fan of Syrah/Shiraz, I would recommend spending the additional R80 to taste the Hanneli R.
This is the flagship wine and the cultivars used change depending on the harvest. As this wine needs to be absolutely perfect, only the best grapes are used. If the harvest of one year is inferior in quality, the Hanneli R won’t be made.
The grapes put into the wine change each year, but it’s usually a Shiraz-forward blend (around 80%) with the addition of Petit Syrah and Tempranillo. The Shiraz grapes used come from Elim and Bot River, while the other cultivars are from Franschhoek.
The wine is matured in French oak barrels for 40 months, so you can imagine that it’s wonderfully complex and deep. Only 3,000-4,000 bottles are produced a year where each bottle is marked individually and goes for roughly R1,300 (in 2019).
Apart from the wines, they have a wonderful fine-dining restaurant where head chef Eric Bulpit (since 2018) prepares “Cape Winelands Cuisine” which shows the heritage of the area.
Expect a mix of French classics with a Cape Dutch twist like wentelteefjes (French toast), kandeel (a dessert) and makkrolletjies (macaroons). It’s one of the best places to taste authentic South African food.
La Motte even created a book called Cape Winelands Cuisine, so you know they are knowledgeable on the subject.
Other activities include a hiking trail of about 5kms on La Motte mountain which is either self guided (any day) or guided (Mondays only). There is also a Historic and Sculpture walk throughout the week which also visits the Manor House that is usually not open to the public.
Wine tasting: Current Vintage Tasting: R60 per person. R70 per person when part of a group.
Cellar Tour – maximum of 16 people. Reservations are essential. Cost: R30
Limited Release Tasting: R120
Hanneli R Tasting: R80
La Motte Straw Wine Tasting: R30
La Motte MCC Tasting: R30
Vinoteque Tastings: R250 pp
Walk-ins are welcome, bookings for larger groups between 8-16 people.
Food & Restaurants: Friday there is food and wine pairings in the restaurant, guided by a wine ambassador that walks you through the pairing at R295 pp. Fine-dining Cape Heritage Cuisine at Pierneef à La Motte Kitchen.
Services: Hiking trail of about 5kms on La Motte mountain – R60pp self guided with water and map – Mon-Sat. Monday is a guided hike for R120 where they send some MCC, juice and muffins.
Historic and sculpture walk throughout the week.
Museum dedicated to Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef and is open to the public free of charge. There is also other artworks on rotation (other than Pierneef) and is therefore closed during the winter.
Accommodation: No, but there are some exquisite places to stay in Franschhoek which you can book online here.
Who should visit: History buffs, foodies, active travelers, art lovers
Tours: Book the Franschhoek hop on/off wine tram which stops at several wineries including Boschendal and Babylonstoren with pick up and drop off at Cape Town. Book here. Or create your own private tour on Getyourguide with a visit to La Motte and any other winery of your choice here.
Babylonstoren – Wine inspired entertainment destination
Visiting Babylonstoren is like going to a mini farm theme park without the rides. You’ll see animals sauntering around the grounds like they’re tourists on a holiday stroll and there are workshops to get you in touch with pastoral life like soap, cheese and bread making.
Animals at Babylonstoren
The maze of a garden has the majestic Simonsberg, Du Toitskloof and Franschhoek mountains as a backdrop which are always a treat for the eyes. The story of Babylonstoren dates back to 1692, when Simon van der Stel granted the farmlands to Pieter van der Byl who set the foundations of the irrigation system and planted the first vineyards.
Some of the restored buildings that are standing today date as far back as the 1750s and are a perfect example of the old Cape Dutch style. The popular restaurant Babel was actually an abandoned cowshed before former magazine editor and current owner Karen Roos started her restoration efforts.
The gardens at Babylonstoren
Even the newer buildings on the premises, like the luxurious Farm Hotel, were designed meticulously to reflect the original architecture. From the outside, you’d think that these were centuries old Cape Dutch cottages with their thatched roofs and whitewashed walls.
The expansive 3.5-hectare working garden at Babylonstoren took inspiration from Cape Town’s Company’s Garden were it is said that Jan van Riebeek planted the first vines. Both restaurants, Babel and the Greenhouse, get most of their produce from the estate.
Babel at Babylonstoren
Speaking of the restaurants, the glass-walled Babel is a treat of the senses. The laid back yet sophisticated eatery serves seasonal farm-to-table dishes and usually tops many lists of where to eat in South Africa including being the only SA restaurant on Monocle’s Top 50 list (in 2018).
The Greenhouse at Babylonstoren
The Greenhouse is more casual with walk ins welcome. The restaurant, as its name suggests, is either inside or next to a working greenhouse. It’s an airy garden cafe that serves light lunches in the sunshine.
The Bakery provides both restaurants with fresh bread, which you can also take home with you. By night the Bakery transforms into an Italian feast where you can channel your inner Sicilian with Italian-inspired evenings and a three-course set menu.
There are also Carnivore evenings on Wednesdays for a five-course meat extravaganza. The meat is also farm to table from farm-reared and grass-fed Chianina cattle. Combine this with a South African braai and you’ve got the perfect fusion taste experience.
The tasting room at Babylonstoren
And how can we forget about the wine. The tasting cellar, similar to Babel, is a glass-walled old Cape Dutch building, but also has panoramic views of the mountains in the distance. There are 13 different cultivars produced on 88 hectares under vine, so you have a large selection to choose from. You can pick from the usual Shiraz and Chenin, or the more unusual wines like the Mourvèdre Rosé.
Art piece about the history of wine
Go on a walk-in cellar tour (R75pp) that is every hour on the hour from 11am-3pm and includes a tasting of six wines (groups will need to book in advance).
There’s an informative art piece about the history of wine in the Cape and of Babylonstoren as you enter the building. Take your time perusing this informative and visually inquisitive piece that is something out of a pop-up book.
There’s also a Garden Tour where you can literally stop and smell the flowers and learn some insightful information about the farming methods used at Babylonstoren. The last tour is the Special Collections Tour which changes with the season like the succulent collection.
The Scented Room at Babylonstoren
If wine isn’t your thing, you can also visit the “Scented Room” to go on an olfactory adventure. There are soaps and oils for sale, as well as a balsamic vinegar ageing battery which is a cute little excursion upstairs.
Balsamic vinegar ageing battery
Note: There is a R20 entrance fee pp (R10 for kids) on weekends & public holidays and R10 for all on weekdays.
Area: Simondium, between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek
Wine tasting: Daily from 10am-5pm in winter and 10am-6pm in summer. Tasting starts at R60 pp for 6 wines (flagship wines: Chardonnay R20, Nebukadnesar R30 and Sprankel R35).
Food & Restaurants: Babel for fine-dining, The Greenhouse for an outdoor cafe and The Bakery for fresh bread and Italian meals.
Services: Daily Cellar Tours (R75pp including a tasting of six wines). Daily Garden Tour starting at 10am in front of the Farm Shop. Special Collections Tour with daily guided walk from Monday to Friday at 11,30am.
Many workshops that change with the season including Cheesemaking, Juice jamming, Pruning for beginners, Espalier essentials, Grafting & budding, Breadmaking, Soapmaking, All about asparagus, Clivia encounters, Seasonal vegetables, The secret life of bees, and Healing or Fragrant herbs.
Accommodation: The Farm Hotel and Spa. Book your stay here.
Who should visit: Families, active travelers, foodies and those who love farm life
Tours: Book the Franschhoek hop on/off wine tram which stops at several wineries including Boschendal and Babylonstoren with pick up and drop off at Cape Town. Book here. You can also take a guided tour of Babylonstoren tour, with stops at Clos Malverne for a wine and ice cream pairing and a visit to Marianne Wines. Book here. Or create your own private tour on Getyourguide with a visit to La Motte and any other winery of your choice here.
Groot Constantia – Oldest winery in Southern Hemisphere
Groot Constantia is the closest winery near Cape Town on this list and is also the oldest (as well as being the oldest in the entire Southern Hemisphere). The farm dates all the way back to 1685 when land was granted to Dutch Cape Colony governor Simon van der Stel who had a history as a viticulturist.
The winery became extremely popular after notable figures started tasting the dessert wine called Vin de Constance. Some standout clientele includes Frederick the Great of Prussia, Louis Phillipe (King of the French), Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and most recently Ed Shereen.
Tasting room at Groot Constantia
Bonaparte was said to have drunk a bottle a day for a month when he was held captive after the war in St Helena. He also asked for a glass on his deathbed.
If you’ve come a long way for a taste, you may be disappointed as the tasting room is only allowed to open a bottle a day for guests. Get there early to be one of the lucky ones.
If you don’t get to taste their dessert wine, there are a variety of other wines to taste, which are all quite delicious. They are particularly known for their Chardonnay which won best Chardonnay in the world by Chardonnay du Monde in 2013 and has been on the top 10 list several times after.
Large tasting room at Groot Constantia
Groot Constantia is also a good place to taste Pinotage, South Africa’s own varietal, as well as MCC (Methode Cap Classique or sparkling wine), and even some Cape Brandy. Tastings are open seven days a week, including public holidays other than Good Friday and Christmas Day.
There are two different tasting rooms, the top cellar and the bottom cellar. You can also pair your wine with chocolate.
Cellar tours occur throughout the day from 9am to 5pm and are quite informative with a quick intro to Groot Constantia and then a sort of crash course in the terroir and wine-making process.
Entrance and fireplace at Groot Constantia
Beyond the wine there is the The Visitors Route tour. The full tour is R115 where you are allowed access to all locations on the premises and a wine tasting. The tour is partially self-guided with a free app and partially guided.
This means that if you want, you can only download the app for free and listen to the audio. If you pay the fee, you gain access to the museum and can go on the cellar tour.
The app is called Voicemap and has geolocation, so the audio will start as you enter a specific destination on the circular route. It’s a really nice way to learn more about the history and what goes into the making of the top quality wine.
The fully paid tour includes the original Cape Dutch Manor House, the famed Cloete Cellar (the birthplace of Grand Constance), a wine tasting, entry into the wine museum and cultural history museum, one chocolate & wine pairing (additional R50) and a guided cellar tour. There are several options for different prices. For example, if you only wanted to take the cellar tour, it would be R60 and not the full R115. Ask at the information desk in the museum for further assistance.
The property is great for family gatherings or lovers who want to share a slow day among the vineyards. The revamped Cape Dutch architecture is a wonderful sight and the ducks roaming around the property make for some great pictures.
The grounds at Groot Constantia
There are two restaurants on the property, both in gorgeous settings. Jonkershuis is nestled next to the Manor House and surrounded by large oak trees. There are various places in the restaurant to enjoy the Cape Malay-based meals from the courtyard to the front lawn and even next to the fireplace in winter.
Simon’s at Groot Constantia
Simon’s is nearby and has an extensive menu with everything from burgers and pastas to pork belly, salads and seafood. It has indoor and outdoor seating, so you can enjoy the sun or feel cozy indoors.
Area: Cape Town
Tours: Take Constantia wine tour for 5 hours and visits several wineries here. This wine tour of Constantia also makes a stop Table Mountain and goes via Constantia Neck with plenty of culinary experiences. Explore Constantia by bike with a 15km cycle through the vineyards of Groot Constantia and beyond. Create your own private tour on Getyourguide with a visit to Groot Constantia and any other winery of your choice here.
Wine tasting: Wine Tasting is R100 – with any 5 wines and includes a souvenir Spiegelau crystal glass.
Top Cellar open from 10am-4,15pm (doors close at 5pm)
Bottom Cellar open from 9am-5,15pm (doors close at 6pm)
Cellar tours start from 9am to 5,15pm and sales close at 6pm
Food & Restaurants: Chocolate and Wine Pairing: R150.00 – Chocolate & Wine Pairing, 5 pre-selected wines with 5 handcrafted chocolates and a Spiegelau Crystal Glass
Jonkershuis is an eatery with classic Western breakfasts, South African main course and Cape Malay cuisine.
Simon’s is more focused on modern fusion with a large menu from burgers and pastas to pork belly, salads and seafood.
Services: Visitors Route Experience: R115 – Manor House Museum and Cloete Cellar Access,
Hourly Guided or Self Guided Cellar Tour (10am-4pm), Wine Tasting (5 wines), Souvenir Spiegelau Crystal Glass
Visitors Route Experience + Chocolate Pairing: R165 – all the above with a Chocolate & Wine Pairing (5 pre-selected wines with 5 handcrafted chocolates)
There’s a free downloadable app where you can get a guided tour of the premises. There is also a guided cellar tour which takes you through the wine making process and history of Groot Constantia which you can purchase on its own apart from the Visitors Route Experience.
Accommodation: No, but there are some brilliant places to stay in Cape Town which you can find here.
Who should visit: History buffs, families and those who don’t have much time in Cape Town
Creation – Excellent pairings in whale country
Travelers up for a day trip from Cape Town should consider visiting Hermanus. It’s the land-based whale watching capital of the world (between June and November) and there is a quaint town atmosphere with cute boutique stores, cafés and second-hand bookshops.
But you’re here for the wine, and wow does this region (known as Walker Bay) have some brilliant choices. Driving up from Cape Town, you will pass several different winegrowing regions, districts and wards. Apart from Stellenbosch, you’ll also find Elgin and Bot River before arriving at the Hemel-en-Aarde wine valley.
The name, literally translating to “Heaven and Earth”, gives you a hint of what’s to come. It’s basically a winding path that stretches from Hermanus to Bot River and is best known for its Burgundy style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. If you’re a fan of Miles from the movie Sideways and are passionate about Pinot, make sure you get here.
The Hemel-en-Aarde actually comprises three different wards which include Hemel en Aarde Ridge, Hemel en Aarde Valley and Upper Hemel en Aarde Valley. It’s a worthwhile detour if you’re planning to drive up the Garden Route.
Situated some 9 km from the Atlantic Ocean, Creation is a pioneer on the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge: they were the first to plant vines in this previously uncharted territory. Today their virus-free vines planted in 450-million-year-old clay loam soils at an altitude of 290m above sea level yield grapes of exceptional quality and flavor.
Top-notch cellar equipment imported from Germany, Switzerland and France ensure that every effort goes into making wines that are a true representation of the unique terroir.
Apart from its famous cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, Creation also features a top-quality portfolio of other varietal and blended wines. For a tasting, you’ll start with the Estate range, then onto the Reserve. The Creation Art of Chardonnay and Art of Pinot Noir are grown in single, site-specific vineyards, barrel selected and individually numbered.
Creation was recently selected as one of the world’s top 50 vineyards; one of three South African wineries to make the list (the others being Vergelegen and Delaire Graff).
Apart from the spectacular wines, food is where Creation shines. While most wineries focus on one pairing option, Creation offers visitors a selection of no less than seven pairing menus. The standout among these is the unique ‘Story of Creation’ pairing which changes quarterly to offer an ever-changing taste profile.
Beyond the panoramic views, elegant wines, sophisticated decor and scrumptious food, the estate also offers an exciting program of events ranging from music to art exhibitions.
While visiting you’ll also be pleased to learn that Creation is also involved in various community upliftment and environmentally friendly initiatives. These range from the Pebbles Hemel-en-Aarde Educational Project to the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) scheme.
There are plenty of wineries to choose from on the Hemel-en-Aarde wine route; we have selected Creation for both its wines and its all-round experience.
If you have come for the wines only, I would suggest you also visit (in order of priority) Hamilton Russell, Bouchard Finlayson, Newton Johnson, Bartho Eksteen & Wijnskool (for Sauvignon Blanc), Spookfontein, Ataraxia and Hermanuspietersfontein (HPF).
If you keep driving past Hermanus you’ll get to even more wine routes like Springfontein, Stanford and eventually Elim.
All images above are provided by of Creation Wines.
Area: Walker Bay
Wine tasting: Wine Tasting: R10–30 per wine including the Creation Reserve Wines @ R15 per wine; Creation Art of Chardonnay and Art of Pinot Noir @ R30 per wine and the Creation Estate Wines @ R10 per wine.
Food & Restaurants: Experience The Heritage Of Creation: R695 – 6-course meal paired with wines.
Creation Small Plate Pairing (between 11am-4pm): SQ – weekly menu that is focused on creativity, fresh local ingredients and unexpected combinations with wines.
Wine & Chocolate Pairing: R130
Brunch Pairing (10-12am): R510 – 5 dishes with wines.
Kids Surprise Pairing: R114 – for kids between 5 and 12.
Non-Alcoholic Pairing: R615 for 8 teas paired with food. It’s basically the Story of Creation pairing with TWG teas instead of wines.
Services: There are various events running throughout the year, so check their events page for more details.
Accommodation: No, but there are some truly beautiful and luxurious stays in the Overstrand area, specifically in Hermanus, which you can book online here.
Who should visit: Foodies and Pinot Noir/Chardonnay enthusiasts
Tours: If the whales are in town, why not see the beautiful mammals with a stop at the Hemel en Aarde wine valley with this tour. Or create your own private tour on Getyourguide with a visit to Creation and any other winery of your choice here.
Vergelegen – A historical and modern Cape Town winery
Vergelegen is for true history buffs that want to learn more about the Cape of Good Hope’s checkered past.
Originally established in 1700 by Willem Adriaan van der Stel, son of governor Simon van der Stel. The money he put into the farm was quite controversial as it as more than what he put into governing the Cape Colony.
This in fact led to his dismissal and exile back to the Netherlands, after which he never returned. The farm passed hands several times after van der Stel and finally ended up being purchased by multinational mining company Anglo American in 1987.
Vergelegen lawns. Flickr Werner Bayer (CC BY 2.0) & Flickr Chris Eason (CC BY 2.0)
The Vergelegen cellar opened its doors in 1992 and mixes old with new where modern technology like the gravity flow cellar blends seamlessly with the old Cape Dutch aesthetic. The views from the tasting room of the pristinely manicured gardens, octagonal fountain, herb garden and glorious mountains are refined and invigorating.
After being purchased by Anglo American in 1987, they commissioned a restoration team to manicure each of the gardens to perfection. This brought back some of the magic that was hidden under the overgrown foliage.
Camphor trees. Flickr Werner Bayer (CC BY 2.0) & Wikipedia LRMitchell (CC BY-SA 3.0)
There are also several important trees that hold significance starting with the five historic camphor trees, which are said to have been planted by Willem Adriaan van der Stel himself in 1700 and were declared National Monuments in 1942.
The Old English Oak, is said to be the oldest living oak tree in Africa, and the The “Royal” Oak, which was planted in 1928 from an acorn originating from the last of King Alfred’s oak trees at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.
Vergelegen manicured lawns. Wikipedia ~ souTH AFRica ~ (CC BY 3.0)
Other significant historic sites include the Homestead, Library (originally a winery), Mill Ruins and the Slave Lodge site. The plaque with the names of the slaves that were bought and the names of the owners is humbling. The rose garden with its statue of Aphrodite and the Yellowwoods along the Lourens River are particularly beautiful.
Vergelegen translates to “situated far away” referring to its location as the furthest outpost for the then Dutch East India Company to grow vegetables for the crew on their ships.
Due to the farm being so close to the Atlantic Ocean (a mere 6kms) it enjoys a mild climate that creates some spectacular wines.
There are three wine ranges with a total of 16 wines to choose from in your tasting, so it’s probably best to go with a few people and swap if you want to get the full range in.
The wines are brilliant and usually compete with the top in the country. The V red, a predominantly Cabernet Flagship wine is particularly delicious.
UK wine critic Tim Atkins often rates a majority of their wines at 90 points or above. The winery also made the list of the best vineyards in the world, beating out both Delaire Graff and Creation, which were the only three South African wineries to make the list.
You’ll also find the protea and sugarbird label on their wines, meaning that they are BWI Conservation Champions (in fact they were the first to be awarded with this status).
Vergelegen Cellar Flickr Chris Eason (CC BY 2.0)
To learn more about the intricacies of Vergelegen’s cellar or the farm, you can take either a Cellar or a Heritage & Garden tour of the property. Learning about the design of the gravity flow cellar is truly edifying for any wine lover.
The sunken cellar is gorgeously designed, taking inspiration from the original octagonal vineyard that lines the labels, blending in naturally with the contours of the land.
If you are going on a cellar tour, note that there are around 70 stairs, so it is not wheelchair accessible and children are not allowed.
The Heritage & Garden tour is a highly informative reflection on the property’s most prominent sites, as well as its history. Walking through the 18 gardens is like hopping on a time machine as you reflect on the 300-year history of the property.
All this walking around the property will surely work up an appetite for you. But never fear, there are some fantastic eateries to make a pit stop.
Stables, named after the horse abode which it was in its former life, is a no-frills, relaxed eatery in the style of a Paris bistro. It’s family friendly and has a large contemporary menu. From November to April you can also opt for a “white tablecloth” picnic in the Camphor Forest.
Camphors, overlooking the expansive lawn is a fancier, adults-only affair with a fine-dining ambiance if you want to splurge.
The restaurant has won various awards from being in the top 10 of the Eat Out Mercedes Benz Restaurant Awards (2017-2018) and has recently won the Eat Out/Woolworths Sustainability Award for the second time, true achievement. After ordering from the seasonal menu, a sommelier will guide you through some inspired pairing options.
Vergelegen Estate. Flickr SA-Venues.com (CC BY 2.0) & Wikipedia ~ souTH AFRica ~ (CC BY 3.0)
There really is so much to do and learn about at Vergelegen that you are sure to enjoy your time here. You can also take a gander at the 150+ free range Nguni cattle and the bouncy bontebok (a local antelope).
It’s also nice to know that they have an Environmental Project that focuses on sustainable farming and land rehabilitation. In fact, they have restored 2240 of the 3000 hectares on the Estate.
Note: There is an entrance fee to the property which is R10 for adults and R5 for pensioners/scholars. Pensioners are free on Mondays.
Area: Somerset West
Wine tasting: Daily between 9am-4,30pm with tastings from R30 and up.
Food & Restaurants: Picnic (Nov-April) with basket collection at between 12,15-1,30pm and closing at 4,30pm. Bistro-style Stables restaurant daily between 9am-5pm, kitchen closes at 3,30pm. Fine-dining Camphors from Wed-Sun 12-2,30pm (lunch only); Fri & Sat 6,30-8,30pm (dinner only between Oct-May); Closed Mon & Tues. Adults only. Bookings are essential for all dining options.
Services: Cellar tour: Daily 11am & 3pm for 1h at R50
The Heritage & Garden tour: Daily at 9,30am for 1h at R50 pp
Constant events, one of the most popular is the Carols by Candlelight during Xmas time.
Accommodation: No, but there are some truly beautiful and luxurious stays in the Somerset West/Strand area which you can book online here.
Who should visit: History buffs, Chardonnay lovers and foodies.
Tours: Create your own private tour on Getyourguide with a visit to Vergelegen and any other winery of your choice here.
Wineries near Cape Town table
Here is a table we made to give you an overview of all the wineries in this list, so that you can decide more easily where you wish to go.
|Winery||District||Description||Family-friendly (1-5)||Cost of basic tasting||Restaurant on site||Hotel on site||Opening times|
|Delaire Graff||Stellenbosch||Jewel of the Cape winelands with epic views and high-end restaurants.||2||R75||Yes||Yes||DELAIRE GRAFF RESTAURANT|
Lunch: Daily 12:30 to 14:15
Dinner: Wed to Sat 18:30 to 21:00
Lunch: Daily 12:30 - 14:15
Dinner: Daily 18:30 - 21:00
DELAIRE GRAFF WINE LOUNGE
Open daily from 10:00 - 17:30
Sun 10:00 - 17:00
|Peter Falke||Stellenbosch||Boutique winery open on Sunday afternoon when everything else is closed.||4||R80||No||No||Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00-19:00|
Closed Good Friday, Christmas, Boxing and New Year’s Day
|Uva Mira||Stellenbosch||A winery with stunning views, actually the highest winery in the region and great Chardonnay.||2||R70||No||No||Mon-Sun 10:00-18:00|
|Rust en Vrede||Stellenbosch||Mandela’s favorite wine and a personal favorite with limited selection of high quality.||2||R60||Yes||No||Tasting Room|
Mon to Sat 09:00 – 17:00
Sunday 10:00 – 16:00
Mon - Sun 12:00 – 15:00 No Reservations
Tues - Sat 18:30 – Close Reservation Required
|Spier||Stellenbosch||Family friendly with activities and a large premises and very near Cape Town.||5||R40||Yes||Yes||WINE TASTING|
Mon – Sun 09:00 – 17:00
Wine sales until 17:00
Lunch: Tues - Sun, 12:00 - 15:15
Dinner: Fri - Sun, 18:30 - 21:15
Closed on Monday.
VADAS SMOKEHOUSE & BAKERY
Mon - Sat Lunch 12:00 - 15:00
Mon - Sat Dinner 18:00 - 23:00 (kitchen closes @ 21:00)
Sunday Lunch only 12:00 - 15:00
SPIER FARM KITCHEN
Open daily. Sun - Thurs: 9:00 - 16:30. Fri and Sat: 9:00 - 21:00 (until the end of January)
Breakfast served from 09:00 - 11:00.
Breakfast: Weekdays - 06:30 to 10:30
Weekends and Public Holidays - 06:30 to 11:00
Lunch and light meals from 12:00 - 17:30 in the winebar
Dinner: 18:30 to 22:00
|Kanonkop||Stellenbosch||Most awarded wines, for the serious wine lover and a great place to taste Pinotage.||1||R70||No||No||Mon – Fri 09:00 – 17:00|
Sat – 09:00 – 14:00
CLOSED: Sundays, New Years Day, Good Friday & Christmas Day
Public Holidays – 10:00 – 16:00
|Tokara||Stellenbosch||Picture perfect winery with free olive oil tasting and a play area for the kids.||5||R100 including brandy||Yes||No||Monday - Friday: 09h00 - 17h30 |
Saturday - Sunday: 10h00 - 15h00
Closes on Good Friday and Christmas Day
|Hidden Valley||Stellenbosch||A luxury winery getaway at Bush Lodge with hiking trails, a deck over a lake, platters and a high-end restaurant.||3||R65||Yes||Yes||Opening Hours:|
Wine Tasting: 7 days a week, 9:00 - 18:00 in Summer & 9:00 - 17:00 in Winter
Overture Restaurant: Various, email to check email@example.com
|Boschendal||Franschhoek||Wine tourism at its best with a focus on organic wines and farm to table philosophy, large grounds and a play area for kids, also tours.||5||R65||Yes||Yes||Wine tasting: 10:00 - 17:00 daily|
Vineyard Tours: 10h30 & 11h30 (November to March)
Cellar Tour: Daily 10:30, 11:30 and 15:00
Festive Season Opening Times:
Wine Tasting & Tours: 10:00 - 18:00
Farm Shop & Deli: Mon - Sat 08:00 - 20:00, Sun 08:00 - 18:00
The Werf Restaurant: Lunch - Mon to Sun, Dinner - Wed to Sat
|La Motte||Franschhoek||A Cape Dutch classic with high-end restaurant and a focus on art and female empowerment. Great Shiraz.||2||R60||Yes||No||Mon - Sat 09:00 – 17:00.|
Closed on Sundays and Christian religious holidays.
|Babylonstoren||Franschhoek||Wine inspired farm entertainment destination with multiple restaurants, tours and a large garden.||5||R60||Yes||Yes||WINE TASTING|
Mon – Sun
10:00–17:00 for winter from May
10:00–18:00 for summer from September
Mon – Sun
9:00–17:00 (last entry 16:00)
Guided garden tours 10:00
Special collections tours 11:30
Mon – Sun 8:00–9:30
Wed – Sun 12:00
Summer: Mon – Sun 19:00 (from September)
Winter: Tues, Thurs, Sat and Sun 19:00 (from May)
Mon – Sun, 10:00–16:00
Mon & Fri – Italian-inspired evenings from 19:00
Wed – Carnivore Evenings from 18:30
|Groot Constantia||Constantia||Oldest winery in Southern Hemisphere with tours and within Cape Town for those with limited time.||4||R100||Yes||No||7 days a week, including public holidays|
Closed only on Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Top Cellar, 10:00 - 16:15 Closing at 17:00
Bottom Cellar 9:00 - 17:15 Closing at 18:00 (sales until 18:00)
Cellar open from 9:00 - 17:15
|Creation||Hemel en Aarde/Hermanus||Excellent pairings in whale country high up on the Hemel en Aarde wine valley known for it's Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.||2||R10 per wine||Yes||No||Wine Tasting|
Daily 10:00 - 17:00
Story of Creation
Daily between 11:00 - 16:00
10AM Brunch Pairing
Booking is essential. Available 10h00 (latest 10:30). Deposit required.
|Vergelegen||Somerset West||A historical and modern Cape Town winery with expansive lawns, old Cape Town architecture, Nguni cattle, high-end restaurants and picnics in summer.||5||R30||Yes||No||Estate is open Mon - Sun, 09:00 - 17:00 (last entry at 16:00)|
The Estate is closed on Christmas Day (25 Dec), Good Friday and Workers Day
A few things to know about wine tasting in Cape Town
Each major wine producing country has their own rules and regulations when it comes to wine tasting and South Africa is no exception. Unlike the wineries in the US, cellar tours are usually only done by wine enthusiasts and foreign visitors, so you will not find them in many of the wineries. Only the larger estates will most likely offer this service and it will have to be pre booked. This is similar to what happens in Spain at wineries near Barcelona.
A visit to a winery near Cape Town will usually consist of sipping some amazing wines, eating locally sourced food and platters, taking in the postcard-perfect views and generally lazing about in beautifully designed tasting rooms.
But before you go, there are a few things to know that will make your visit that much more spectacular.
Tasting room etiquette
There are a few things to note before visiting the best wineries near Cape Town to make your, and everyone else’s, experience a pleasant one. The first thing to note if you are not a seasoned wine aficionado is that you shouldn’t wear excessive perfume or deodorant as this will disrupt the olfactory pleasure gained from tasting the wine.
There’s nothing worse than arriving at a quality cellar and someone is drenched in perfume. The tasting becomes a disaster because all you’ll get are notes of rose and sandalwood.
The second tip is to not skip breakfast and lunch and to always fill up with water. The food will absorb the alcohol, leaving you less inebriated at the end of the day. And if you plan on visiting many wineries, I would recommend swallowing the first taste and spitting out the rest. Ask for a spitoon, no one will judge you.
Another point is to only buy the wines you like. The wineries mentioned in list are professional and shouldn’t pressure you into purchasing anything, so make wise decisions, especially when you’re feeling a bit tipsy. I always have a wine budget in mind before I visit to make deciding a bit easier.
Last but not least, South Africa does have a tipping culture. Waiters at restaurants usually get a 10-20% tip depending on the quality of service as their hourly rate is usually abysmal. It’s not always essential to tip your wine ambassador, so don’t feel pressured. Yet they will definitely appreciate it as most of them are oenology or viticulture students learning about wine with hands-on experience. A little tip can go a long way, so if you found their service helpful and insightful, tip them as you please.
Waiving of tasting fees
Many of the wineries in Cape Town will waiver your tasting fee if you purchase a bottle of wine. This isn’t always the case though and you will most likely have to ask before to make sure. There is usually a side note on the tasting list that states the fee waiver, but sometimes it is not written down anywhere.
If you build a rapport with the wine ambassador, you never know what extra goodies you may get. This can include a waived tasting fee, an additional tasting, a tasting of an exclusive wine or some really good advice. You can only ask. And give a tip if you had a great experience, they will always appreciate it.
The wine ambassadors are mostly extremely friendly and knowledgeable, but they do stick to a script to make life easier for themselves and to be more professional.
I often try to break through this artificial barrier to get some really insightful information on the winery, the region or some personal preferences of lesser known wineries that are producing some quality wine.
But be mindful of how busy they are with other guests and try not to monopolise their time unless you are in for a big purchase or it’s a quiet day, weekends can be really packed.
Booking vs walk-ins
Most wineries in the Western Cape allow walk-ins within opening hours, but some are stricter than others. It’s therefore always best to check ahead if bookings are essential or not.
Some wine estates in Cape Town also have really nice historic tastings and delicious platters that need to be reserved ahead of time. So while you can walk in and do a tasting, you may be missing out on something really unique, like those in Kanonkop and Boschendal mentioned above.
Large groups are usually the exception to the rule and mostly need to book well in advance, particularly for the smaller boutique wineries near Cape Town.
Either way, it’s always best to phone ahead to avoid disappointment.
Most wineries near Cape Town are open from 9am-5pm on weekdays and Saturdays. Sundays, you’ll usually see the doors shut at around 12 or 3pm. This is why it’s always best to go wine tasting on weekdays or to start early if you only have time to visit on a Sunday.
Most tasting rooms will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. With that being said, some wineries do open their doors on these days, but will be absolutely packed and you will need to book in advance.
Restaurants at wineries in Cape Town will also usually serve a set menu on these days and other public holidays, so always check before going.
Another recommendation would be to call in a book before visiting each winery. While most will allow walk-ins, some are more stringent than others and will tell you to hit the road if you haven’t booked before. Always err on the side of prudence here.
International visitors will be happy to know that it is quite common and easy to send cases of your favorite wines home. Ask your wine ambassador about shipping details if you’re interested in purchasing a few bottles. They will usually have services available right there and then.
Some wineries have agents across the world, so you know your wine is in good hands throughout the journey and won’t be left lying in the sun. Just make sure you know the import tax on alcohol for your specific country, as prices and laws vary by country, or even by state in the US.
The amount you pay will also change drastically depending on the amount you ship which, again, changes depending on your region. But the best thing about shipping wine is, if you have the patience, most can be kept for up to 10 years so it’s a pretty good investment.
You can also pack a few bottles in your luggage if you want to take the risk and pay the necessary import tax at the airport on arrival. The most popular wine brands are also available at Cape Town International, but the prices are usually a bit more. From personal research, it’s around R50-R100 extra at the airport, which should be fine if you’re using foreign currency as South African wine is already pretty affordable when compared to international prices.
Drinking and driving
Drinking and driving is a serious offense in South Africa and the alcohol limit is next to 0% at a breath alcohol content of 0.24mg per 1,000ml, or a blood alcohol limit of 0.05g per 100ml. This is equal to 75ml of red or white wine per hour with an alcohol content of 12% to 14%.
In plain terms, this means that after one tasting you are out. Unless you spit of course.
If you plan on drinking, please call an Uber or taxi and pick up your car the following day. Alternatively you can arrange for you and your car to be picked up from a service such as Night Owls or book a tour or private driver which is what we always have done.