WHAT’S BLOOMING ALONG THE LINES?
While the vines start blooming at the different wine estates, and the slopes around the different wine valleys are getting back their bright green lush, numerous wine estates along the Franschhoek Wine Tram routes are also enjoying a burst of colour provided by the estate gardens.
Either classic, central European designs or rolling English lawns and spaces, they all provide a fresh look and gentle, cooling shade to enjoy picnics, some must try wines and the glorious hospitality South Africans are known for.
Purple & Orange lines:
At ALLEÉ BLEUE, you’re literally eating the garden. While it is most widely known for its wine and fruit, the 200ha estate is also ranked among the top three herb growers in the province.
The herb production set-up consists of 33 hydroponic tunnels as well as a net house. From these structures more than 1.2 tons of herbs are harvested each week, suppling major South African retailers.
But the most important market is the various dining outlets at the estate itself and where possible, their chef tries to incorporate these healthy and fragrant ingredients in the menus.
Off the main visitor’s track, VREDE EN LUST holds a beautifully designed sectional classic garden with a fountain at the middle and a shaded pergola along one of the edges. On days that this area doesn’t hold a function, a nice request might get you to enjoy your wine at this part of the estate. Their one of a kind Prosecco would be our celebratory choice.
Over the last few years, whenever a visitor is looking for a stroll to wind down their winelands visit, every local mouth will speak the name of BABYLONSTOREN, and not in vein.
The big garden at Babylonstoren is at the heart of the farm. It was inspired by the historic Company’s Garden in Cape Town, which supplied sailing ships of the Dutch East India Company with fresh vegetables and fruit during the days when the Cape was a halfway station between Europe and Asia. It also links back to the mythological hanging gardens of Babylon. Those were thought to have been created by Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century BC, for his wife, who longed for the mountains and valleys of her youth.
Visitors of all ages will find themselves enchanted by this garden.
Blue & Green lines:
GRANDE PROVENCE Heritage Wine Estate offers a plethora of fine experiences. Restaurant & picnics, gallery & tasting room, a shop & a bistro wine bar, all surrounded by a set of equally attended outdoor spaces which include the sculpture garden, the dedicated picnic lawns and the dedicated veranda that is part of the estates’ fine dining restaurant, which also enjoys the view and shade of one very specific Oak tree.
Grande Provence is also part of the Yellow & Red lines.
LA COURONNE offers a Secret Garden picnic, nestled under shady trees and adjacent to a cobbling stream.
Pink & Grey lines:
LEOPARD’S LEAP hospitality building is a diverse complex that hosts the tasting room, the open kitchen and the buffet restaurant which also include the South African table section. They all look over and spill into the lush lawn, welcoming a co-existence of in and outdoor settings.
FRANSCHHOEK CELLAR is a heaven for families with children of all ages. While teen and teenagers will enjoy the Platform Bar & Bistro quirkiness, younger children will enjoy the covered kiddie’s play area supervised by capable childminders (for children under 1.2m tall) while parents lay back at the adjacent garden.
Yellow & Red lines:
MAISON is the home of Chris Weylandt, a South African design persona. With that said, the garden is a modernist interpretation to open spaces and houses some fine sculptures that corresponds with the overall design.
It is a refined and purified contemporary approach to traditional winelands hospitality.
On the other end of the scale you will find DIEU DONNÉ. The estate’s location, high on the steep south-west facing slopes of the Franschhoek Mountains, the estate offers a panoramic view over the entire valley.
Choose between their wooded red wines or acclaimed Méthode Cap Classique (bubbly) to soak in both taste and view. Nothing matches.
If you wish to avoid driving and fully embrace your wine experience, City Sightseeing Cape Town offers the Franschhoek Wine Tram Explorer Tour. Leaving stop 1 at the V&A Waterfront on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings.
Enjoy free Wifi on the bus whilst you listen to some wine commentary as you depart from Cape Town in the morning and head to Franschhoek. On arrival you will be afforded the opportunity to join the Orange or Purple tram routes.
Each circular route covers 8 wine estates. The tram or tram buses pass each wine estate hourly, for you to hop on and hop off. Enjoy a complimentary wine tasting on the double decker tram!
You are welcome to purchase wine at any of the estates and leave your purchase with one of the tram drivers, who will ensure you are re-united with your purchase at the time of boarding the motor-coach back. At 4 PM, meet back at the motor coach for your transfer back to Cape Town.
Oh, and hello Spring!
May 06, 2021
May 02, 2021
April 01, 2021