Wine Tasting in Cape Town

If you are lucky enough to be visiting Cape Town, I cannot recommend highly enough taking a trip to the wine making regions.

If your time in Cape Town is limited to a few days, my suggestion would be that you see the major tourist attractions of Table Mountain, Cape Point, Robin Island and some of the stunning beaches and bays such as Camps Bay and Clifton. Then, spend an evening in the Constantia district, which is where Cape Town’s vineyards are located. It is within a 30 minute drive of the centre of Cape Town and easily accessible for a day tour or an evening meal.

© Debbie Pearce

© Debbie Pearce

Many of the wineries in Constantia have restaurants, so I would suggest that you select one of these to visit. My recommendation would be La Colombe. It is a really special place with a beautiful vineyard, amazing wines and delicious gourmet food. They offer a 7 course tasting menu which was exquisite! If you are celebrating a special occasion, do let them know in advance and they will make sure that you are looked after with petals on the table and a surprise for desert!

If you will be sampling the wine, take a taxi. Most of the drivers are happy to wait for you outside the winery and take you back to Cape Town.

I would then recommended that you a hire a car, and take the short drive to the wine growing area of either Stellenbosch or Franschoek.  The drive is beautiful and there are plenty of wineries en route that you can stop at. For me, Franschoek, which is located about two hours from Cape Town, after Stellenbosch, is the more beautiful of the two areas, but, it is difficult to choose as both are deserving of a visit.

Franschoek was settled in the late 1600 by French refuges that were given the land by the Dutch; hence the Dutch name Franschoek which means French quarter.

You can stay in many of the wineries; again I can highly recommend the La Rochelle, which is picturesque with a thatched roof and dormer windows. It has a great bar and restaurant, with a roaring fire in the winter and beautiful gardens with a pool that can be enjoyed in the summer months.

© Debbie Pearce

© Debbie Pearce

There are numerous wine tours to choose from, a tour is sensible so that you can sample the wine and not worry about alcohol limits and driving. Our tour was guided by a young man who wanted to eventually become a vineyard owner; he had studied viticulture and was extremely knowledgeable. He equated each of the grape varieties we tasted to a native South African animal. So a Shiraz was a Springbok, a Merlot a Lion and so on. He also took us to a winery where we experienced fudge tasting. This was a revelation, fudge goes just as well with red wine as cheese – I suggest you try it.

There are numerous restaurants in the town, but if I was to suggest one to visit it would be the Grand Provence. Amazing food, stunning scenery and beautiful décor.

If you have enough of wine tasting and have some time left in Franschoek, it has great horse riding stables and sporting facilities such as golf and tennis. It is a beautiful town to simply wander around and there are many boutiques and coffee shops to occupy a few hours.

South Africa is a beautiful country, and the rand exchange rate against the pound makes it a very reasonable holiday even if you do treat yourself to a few bottles to stow in your luggage and bring home!

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