Cape Town is famous for many reasons, but over and above popular landmarks such as Table Mountain, Robben Island, the V&A Waterfront and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, the Mother City is also a premier wine-and-dine destination. This, thanks to the region’s centuries-old winemaking history.
The Cape Winelands is an unmissable attraction on a Cape Town holiday. Situated only one hour from the city centre, you can explore sprawling estates that showcase classic Cape-Dutch homesteads, picturesque valleys, quaint towns, and magnificent views.
With more than 20 wine-growing regions surrounding Cape Town, the Winelands are extensive. The most popular area is the Boland basin, which includes Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl, all within easy reach of each other. The Constantia Valley, only 10 minutes from Cape Town, is South Africa’s oldest wine route and offers intimate tasting experiences.
However, with so many options for a day (or two) spent wine tasting, where do you start? To set you off on your journey to celebrate the grape, we have rounded up Cape Town’s favourite wine farms:
Family favourite: Fairview
Founded in 1693, Fairview is a working farm which houses a collection of micro-businesses, each creating artisanal and sustainable produce. If you’ve had a taste of the estate’s award-winning collection, you will know that the label depicts a goat tower with its resident goats – an image that comes to life when you enter the estate. This 300-hectare farm, with its roaming goats and undulated vineyards, is a delight for families. Settle in for a feast of cheese and bread (all made on the farm) at the Goatshed restaurant – and don’t forget to taste the famous wines!
Fun with friends: Cape Point Vineyards
Set in Noordhoek, en-route to Cape Point, Cape Point Vineyards is nurtured by the cool breezes of the Atlantic Ocean to produce award-winning white wines. With panoramic mountain views and magnificent sunsets over the ocean, the farm is a perfect destination for casual social gatherings at its Thursday night artisanal food market or Sunday afternoon picnics. Purchase a picnic basket (filled with delicious wine and treats), hire some comfy lawn recliners, and pick your spot for a lazy afternoon in the South Peninsula sunshine.
Guaranteed good times: Spier
With something for everyone, Spier promises a good time for the whole family. Sample the estate’s acclaimed wines in the art-filled Tasting Room. Book a picnic basket and enjoy a lazy afternoon on the shady lawns. Follow one of the many walking trails to discover the estate’s history, art, tree-lined avenues, indigenous gardens and peaceful dam. If you don’t feel like walking, a Segway tour will take you on a glide-ride through the vineyards. The kids will love getting up close with birds of prey at Eagle Encounters, a conservation initiative which has been rehabilitating and releasing eagles, hawks, falcons, owls and buzzards since 2001. And then there’s the craft market, which will give you a chance to meet local artists and designers and find a piece of Africa to take home with you.
The classic: Groot Constantia
Groot Constantia, the ‘granddaddy’ of Cape Town’s wine farms, has been a wine producer for over 327 years. It is the oldest wine producing estate in South Africa, with wines favoured by the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte. Today, Groot Constantia produces an array of award-winning whites and reds that are shipped around the world. The farm also includes two world-class restaurants. Besides the towering trees, endless vineyards and breathtaking views from the estate, wine tasting is a real treat here. The region’s unique terroir and climate are evidenced in the spread of cultivars. These beautifully crafted wines capture the complexity and elegance characteristic of the valley.
Couples getaway: Babylonstoren
Dating back to 1692, Babylonstoren is famous for its magnificent garden that is laid out over 3,5 hectares and boasts a plethora of trees of historical and botanical import. Every aspect of Babylonstoren, including the contemporary Farm Hotel & Spa and the Farm Shop and Bakery, are inspired by the ever-changing tapestry and botanical diversity of the garden. Promising a romantic weekend getaway for couples, the hotel is characterised by thick white washed walls, elegant gables and hearty fireplaces that emulate an authentic farm stay experience. A highlight here is Babel, the farm’s acclaimed restaurant which gives you an opportunity to try tasty and unconventional combinations inspired by a farm-to-fork philosophy. And then there’s the wine, which reflects the area in its elegant simplicity.
If you’re in need of some wine-time, our Full Day Winelands tour will take you through the region to learn about the process of winemaking, from grape to glass, and give you a chance to experience the gastronomical delights of Franschhoek – a historical town with a world-renowned reputation for gourmet fare.
Our Wine and History Exploration takes in wine tastings at some of the most outstanding wineries in the Cape, with Rustenberg Estate as your first port of call. Alternatively, if you want to do the Winelands in a unique way, we suggest our Winelands Cycle tour.