CAPE WINELANDS ON THE TOP 10 BEST VALUE DESTINATIONS FOR 2020
Lonely Planet, a world leader in travel advice, recently published their recommendations for 2020 and placed South Africa’s Cape Winelands on the 8th place for the ‘Best in Travel 2020’ Best Value- The best destinations, journeys & sustainable travel experiences for the year ahead.
The explanation for including the Cape Winelands is as follows:
‘South Africa is a regular fixture in lists of places that offer a friendly exchange rate for those looking for world-class safaris and other wildlife spotting, but there’s much more to the country than Kruger and other reserves. A short journey from the fabulous food city of Cape Town is the country’s wine region, centred on the historic towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. The real action here is at the wineries and fabulous restaurants dotting the beautiful upland scenery. You won’t find elephants snuffling round the vineyards, but you will find inexpensive tasting tours followed by lazy lunches serving world-class food alongside delicious local wines. If you care to stretch your wallet a little further when staying the night you can sleep it all off in high-end guesthouses and B&Bs that would cost a lot more elsewhere.’
Locally broadcasting to the world our Mother City and the Cape Winelands, we are glad to share some highlights picked out from the vast possibilities laid out for you.
The Constantia Wine Valley is a small wine region consisting of 11 wine estates. It is also the first and oldest of our wine regions. Some of the farms are included on the City Sightseeing Mini Peninsula Tour.
Eagles’ Nest Winery, halfway between Constantia Village and Hout Bay is an award winning boutique winery with its wines being available either at the estate or at some of the best restaurants in SA. Your stop en-route is an opportunity to sample their exquisite range and indulge in their all year platters and winter soup offerings.
On the other side, just north-east of the city there is the Durbanville Wine Valley cluster. This collection of wine estates houses many of the city’s favourite outdoor events including music, beer & wine festivals, vineyard runs, walks & mountain biking.
It is also the home of De Grendel Wine Estate. The estate’s fine dining restaurant is constantly positioned among the best establishments this city has to offer. It also enjoys the one of a kind panoramic view of the entire bay and Table Mountain from both the tasting room and the restaurant. With currently being in 3rd place on TripAdvisor, you’d better make a booking once you decided on your trip to Cape Town. And with that kind of reputation, we can assure you that they have a range of award-winning wines to match.
De Grendel is an Uber drive away from town so no other special arrangements are needed other than to get there in time to enjoy the scenery.
Further north, the Paarl Wine Valley, houses larger wine producers that each offer a unique twist for their visitors.
The Perdeberg Winery is known for its Dry Land collection of wines. In the last two years they’ve added non-alcoholic wine options and their own craft beer, all products tightening the connection to the land that surrounds them and to the fruit it bears.
Perdeberg is a very family friendly winery. They include the young in the pairing options with juice and sweets pairings and the winery’s restaurant, Eat @ Perderberg serves authentic South African cuisine with suitable options for all ages.
Paarl is also home to the largest wine cellar in the southern hemisphere. It houses the KWV co-op.
KWV is routed in the history of South African wine making from its early days. They hold a versatile network of grape farmers in the best locations all over the Cape Winelands, allowing them to produce several award-winning brands of wine and spirits, including their world renowned brandy that knocked out some of the best known cognacs.
Their visitors are welcome to explore the magnificent Wine Cathedral and enjoy the KWV Sensorium while sipping wine. The Sensorium houses some exquisite works by South African master artists. Inspired by the art of winemaking, this contemporary space celebrates art with works by Irma Stern, Gregoire Boonzaaier, Pierneef, Maggie Laubser and David Botha, amongst others.
The KWV Wine Emporium offers sparkling wines, natural wines, fortified wines, liqueurs and brandies, a variety of tasting experiences and frequent cellar tours conducted in English and German. Tastings do include sophisticated, non-alcoholic options.
An al-fresco, tranquil option is offered at Laborie Wine Estate, just off the main road. A set of Cape Dutch buildings, overlooking the rolling vineyards, houses an Italian restaurant and a bistro to choose between. Tasting is made in the old Manor House or outside, on its balcony with a panoramic view of the valley in front.
The Franschhoek Wine Valley is just picture perfect from any angle or location. You can get there using the Cape Town City Sightseeing Wine Tram explorer. Three times a week, a City Sightseeing double decker, luxury, Wi-Fi included bus heads to the Franschhoek Wine Tram central station. From there you can choose a Wine Tram route to explore and be driven back to the city in the afternoon. Alternatively, the Wine Tram itself offers pick-up and drop-off services from town.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram is a classic, double decker cart that uses the old railroads of the valley in coordination with specifically designed buses to get you to the most beautiful wine estates in a series of 8 different, hop-on, hop-off routes. A very difficult choice with so many magnificent estates!
Just to point out a few options: you may want to consider Dieu Donne Vineyards for the view and the wines which you actually cannot purchase anywhere else in South Africa, Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards for their South African Table experience – a designed fair of plates and wines conducted by the estate chef and the sommelier to orchestrate a once in a lifetime memory.
And since we’ve already begun with music analogies, La Motte Wine Estate is an exquisite classical symphony. It holds a historical, well preserved cellar that houses the tasting facility, a fine dining restaurant, Pierneef à La Motte which also serves a more casual, small plates menu in a less formal sitting. An open wine and craft beer bar for a more casual experience, a museum of South African art and a picnic option in the center of the complex. All the buildings are dotted in a sculpture garden that makes your visit feel part of all the happenings that surrounds you.
Vrede en Lust Wine Estate, another favourite stop among the routes, is all about the unstoppable connection between the vines that surround and your tasting glass. It is shown in the grand window of the tasting room, overlooking the source in any season you visit, the accommodation rooms that make sure to give each one a view of beyond, the conference and wedding venue that dominates the scenery, again, placing you as the lord of it all. A stunning choice for your winelands event.
Lastly, Stellenbosch, our largest wine route with a vast selection of experiences from family to romantic, from popular to secluded.
Our pick off the beaten track is Delheim Wine Estate. It is located off the R44 at the end of a picturesque road, high on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain, 50 km from Cape Town.
This family owned historical estate thrives on the symbiosis between agriculture and nature for many decades. They enjoy a fruitful soil that produces great wines and offers tastings that involve flavours from their surroundings.
The tasting room is in the authentic ancient cellar, the restaurant is positioned to enjoy a gap in the mountain pick, providing a view over Table Mountain on clear days and picnics are served under old oaks on the lawns that graze the thick forest up the slop. The restaurant serves South African cuisine that is based on local, seasonal ingredients.
In addition to great wines and a chance to stock up on some really old vintages, Delheim is known for their winter series of Wine and Fondue Sundays.
On the other end of the scale one should pay attention to the ultra-modern Quoin Rock.
While the old Cape Dutch Manor House and attached buildings are a tranquil escape with complete privacy, manicured gardens, a sauna and a swimming pool, the day visitors’ areas are still and glass.
They include a wine lounge a double storey, high ceiling venue hall and Gåte Restaurant, all surrounded by a crisp landscape to match.
Gåte Restaurant is a full theatrical affair. They serve a 6-course set menu for the daytime experience and a 7 or 14-course set menu for dinner. Each plate in both menus is a construction of flavours and elements that somewhat disguise their true nature, leading to an experience full of surprises.
Whichever choice you make, on or off our list, we strongly recommend pre-booking even out of season since South Africans also enjoy some local picks over national holidays and long weekends.
April 14, 2022
April 14, 2022