If you love exploring New World Wines, dining in gourmet restaurants, and surrounding yourself in natural beauty, and day or two in Western Cape Winelands is a must for your South Africa travel itinerary.
Split over six main regions, namely Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek, Constantia, Wellington and Robertson, the western cape is the largest wine-producing region in South Africa, and with hundreds of different wine farms to choose from, there really is something to suit every palate in the vine-covered valleys that make this one of the most scenic wine routes in the world.
There are numerous guided Wine Tasting Tours available for those who want to explore South Africa’s winelands on a small group tour, but if you’d rather go it alone, it is easy and relatively inexpensive to do so. Of course, you cannot drive yourself if you intend on tasting some of the world’s most popular wines, but most local taxi drivers will escort you for the day for a fixed rate, or you could even use Uber. As a university town, Stellenbosch is literally bursting with Uber drivers, and so it really is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to get around.
Once you have your transported sorted, you can start working on a list of places to visit. If you want to stick to wine tastings, Thelema, Tokara and the Delaire Graff Estate are great places to start, but if you’d really like to spoil yourself with a day of gourmet, here would be our recommendation:
Image courtesy: JC Le Roux
First Stop: The House of JC Le Roux
Every day in the Western Cape Winelands should start with a spot of bubbly, and at the House of JC Le Roux, you’ll have the opportunity to sample 5 of their deliciously refreshing Méthode Cap Classique Wines. Established in 1704, this exquisite wine farm is steeped in history, and it was established as South Africa’s first dedicated sparkling wine cellar in 1982.
What to try: Those with a sweet tooth should go with the Nougat Experience, which includes 5 tastings of bubbly each perfectly paired with a piece of hand-crafted nougat. If you’d rather save the sweet stuff for later, try the Olive Experience and indulge in 5 Méthode Cap Classique wines each paired with a gourmet olive.
Image courtesy: Clos Malverne Estate
Second Stop: Clos Malverne Restaurant for the Food & Wine Experience
If there is one restaurant that should feature on every Stellenbosch itinerary, it would have to be the Restaurant at Clos Malverne in the Devon Valley. The most exquisite destination for an afternoon of indulgence, the dining venue here is light, airy, and elegantly relaxed, but the Food & Wine Experience will blow you away.
Executive Chef Nadia Louw Smith describes her cuisine as “world food with an earthy sophistication, cooked from the heart and presented with perfection” and we’d be inclined to agree! Each dish is paired with a glass of wine from the estate’s collection and presented as a piece of art. 4 courses, 4 wines, and a glass of bubbly on arrival are included in the Food & Wine Experience, and advance booking is essential.
Image courtesy: Asara Wine Estate
Third Stop: Sansibar Gin Lounge at Asara
After all that bubbly and wine, you might be ready for something a little bit different. A Gin & Tonic perhaps? At the Sansibar Gin Lounge at the Asara Estate you’ll find over 475 different gins to choose from, along with a huge selection of premium whiskies, cognacs, and expertly crafted cocktails. The lounge enjoys magnificent views, and there is both indoor and outdoor seating available.
So, there you have it. The perfect day in Stellenbosch… hic!