If you’ve been reading Free Two Roam for a while then you’ll know that we both love wine! In fact, we may like it a little too much (especially me, well we all have our flaws!). At home, we visit many wineries, as we’re lucky to live so close to some of the best wineries in Australia.
Unfortunately, when we left Australia to go travelling, it meant giving up on wine as well, at least for a while. We all know that the wine in Asia is terrible (Thailand’s wine wins the award for the worst! What’s with that Mont Claire?) and when wine is available, it’s way overpriced. Who pays $50 for a bottle of Jacobs Creek? Not Australians!
For that reason, I was really looking forward to reaching Cape Town. The wine wasn’t the only reason, but it certainly was a good enough one. Australians believe our wines are the best in the world but as a French-Aussie I think that good wines can be found in many places.
So wine tasting was always going to be high on our list of things to do in Cape Town. We visited Stellenbloch as our first wine tasting destination and we absolutely loved it and planned a return visit. But then we found out about Franschhoek and Constantia. We just had to check them all out! Our time touring the wineries around Cape Town gave us a great reminder of how fantastic wine tasting can be and just how much we missed drinking wine!
Here are our favourite wineries near Cape Town so far (we still have many more to visit, I guess we’ll just have to come back!):
Wineries in Stellenboch
Spier Wine Farm
This was the first winery we visited and other than being impressed with its size and its beautiful grounds, what really shocked us (in a good way) was the size of the pours.
When our waitress first started pouring, I thought she had forgotten that we were only doing the tasting. Our glass of sparkling wine was pretty much a standard pour. Apparently, it was the palate cleanser!
Hang on there a minute, we come from a country where when wine tasting you barely get enough wine to have a second sip! We were amazed and Simon, the designated driver (yes someone has to do it and if you saw my driving skills you’d understand why it’s him!) looked slightly worried. However, I promised him that he needn’t worry; I had been deprived of wine for so long that I was happy to help him finish his!
Spiers has three options for tasting. 5 wines for 40 Rand, (which I chose), 4 wines paired with chocolate (which Simon chose) for 70 Rand, and 5 of their reserve wines for 90 Rand.
Jordan Wine Estate
Driving to Jordan was as enjoyable as the vineyard itself. The scenery along the way was just amazing. We drove, stopped for photos, drove further and then stopped again. It was spectacular. It was a miracle that we actually got there before closing time! Plus the winery has some pretty incredible views as well, of the nearby mountains, the dam and the vineyard. The wine tasting was quite similar to Spier, with the same generous pours. However, we’d learned our lesson and shared the tasting this time!. We chose to taste 5 wines for 80 Rand. We also paired our wine with one of their cheese and charcuterie platters for 210 Rand. I indulged on the cheeses while Simon devoured the meat. Everyone was happy!
I have never regretted where we were married (in a winery back home) but, oh my, this place was so incredible that for a second, I considered getting married again!
But sadly Oldenberg doesn’t do weddings (I asked!). It was simply the most beautiful winery we’ve ever been to, not just in South Africa but anywhere else. That backdrop is amazing and I could have stayed there forever.
Of course, the wine was amazing too so, all in all, why would you ever leave? They also offer different experiences with their tasting. I tasted 7 wines for 110 Rand, Simon tasted one of their vintage wines for about the same price (I can’t remember the exact cost as I’d had a few drinks by then!). The wines came with a small cheese and olive platter free of charge; how nice. Quite frankly, they had me at the view but I did love the tasting experience and their wines are definitely top notch.
Tokara Wine Estate
Tokara is only a short drive from Oldenburg and offers some pretty amazing views as well. Although to be fair, I don’t think we visited a single winery around Cape Town that didn’t have great views. The tastings in Tokara were similar, with a few options to chose from. I chose the four wine tasting with two whites and two reds for 75 Rand. Simon stuck with the olive oil and balsamic tasting plate for 50 Rand. It was also delicious.
Accommodation in Stellenboch
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Wineries in Constantia
After visiting Houts Bay, where we gorged on fish and chips (just as well we had a full stomach!), we headed to Beau Constantia and ended up spending most of our afternoon there. The views were stunning, even from the toilets, (check out the pics!). The wines were actually the best we’d tried in Cape Town and our waitress was so lovely! We both did the four wine tasting for 65 Rand. A big mistake for the designated driver again; do we ever learn? NOPE! Well like I said before, the pours were extremely generous, even bigger than Spier. We both looked at each other when she poured the first glass and we knew trouble was coming! Simon told the waitress he was driving and that he needed a smaller pour. She laughed, kept pouring, then came back to my glass and poured even more! No complaint on my part!
Accommodation in Cape Town
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Wineries in Franschhoek
La Motte was a little fancier than the other wineries we visited. Tasting happened inside their stunning, newly refurbished tasting facility. There is no view to the vines outside but you have a view of their working and maturation cellars through large glass panels. Wine tasting costs 60 Rand to taste seven wines, plus an extra 30 Rand to taste the sparkling wine. There was also the option to taste the premium wines for an additional cost. Near the parking lot, you can see different vines showcasing the various types of grapes that they grow. There were so many different types, including some that we’d never heard of.
Glenwood Vineyards is a smaller family-owned boutique winery. The tasting in Glenwood happened outside on the terrace, with a beautiful view of the nearby mountains. Their Chardonnay was our favourite, and I used to hate Chardonnays! Tasting cost 100 Rand for 6 wines. If you feel like lunch, they offer a great lunch deal of eight wine tastings, a tasting palette, a main course and glass of wine to accompany it for 450 Rand. Be sure to book ahead though.
Rickety Bridge Winery
Although we didn’t do the tasting at Rickety Bridge, we had lunch at their Paulina restaurant instead, paired with (you guessed it) wines! The restaurant has an incredible view overlooking the majestic Wemmershoek Mountain range. It’s a great place to stop and eat lunch. The food was lovely, as was the wine. If you want to do the tasting, it costs 45 Rand per person for five wines, refundable if you purchase a bottle.
Accommodation in Franschhoek
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Which region to visit if short on time?
If you only have a few days in Cape Town, you may not be able to visit more than one wine region. Many people struggle to decide between Stellenboch and Franschhoek. Having done the two, we personally found Stellenboch more relaxed and less touristy. Franschhoek seems a little more upmarket and we prefer lower key vineyards. We did enjoy both regions but Stellenboch was our favourite of the two.
Constantia is super close to town (only a 20-minute drive). If you have just half a day then Constantia is your best bet. You can fit in a couple of wineries and still get the most incredible views and some really good wine.
Does no-one want to drive?
I can’t blame them! Let’s face it, drinking and driving isn’t smart at all. If you do not have a designated driver, there are many tours you can take from the centre of Cape Town that will bring you to the wineries. In Franschhoek, there is even a wine tram that can take you from vineyard to vineyard. This was very cool actually and had we known about it earlier, we would have organised a one night stay in the area to try it out. It’s noted for next time!
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