by Anja du Plessis
The Cape region of South Africa is famous for its wine farms and estates.
Few people know that a wine estate and a wine farm are not the same. The term wine estate refers to the fact that the winery has 100% control over the farming process. This means that wine labeled as estate wine is made entirely from grapes owned by the winery, and the wine is made entirely on the winery’s property – it doesn’t ever leave the property during fermentation, aging, or bottling. Wine farms on the other hand, buy in grapes from land owned by others from which they make their wine.
This means that wine from a wine estate is considered to be of a higher quality, since the owner/winemaker has complete control of the process from planting to bottling and aging. Whether you choose to visit an estate or a farm, South Africa offers a wide array of wineries to enjoy- stretching from the south, to both east and west coast, where the cool sea breeze provides the wine with unique character and flavor.
A visit to a wine estate, or farm, is a sensory experience to enjoy. Wineries have crafted an array of pairings and tastings- from the traditional cheese and charcuterie to chocolate pairings, and boast delightful culinary options, from picnics to fine dining. A day or afternoon spent on a wine estate or farm drinking in the views and learning about and enjoying wine is a must add to any visit.
Here is our hand-picked list of the recommended wine estates and farm to enjoy in South Africa.
This winery is famous for being the first wine-producing farm in South Africa, dating back to 1685. It’s also well known for producing Grand Constance, rumored to have been Napoleon’s favorite wine. This particular wine became so renowned it appears in Jane Austen’s novel ‘Sense and Sensibility’ as a cure for a broken heart and is drunk to lift a character’s spirit in ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’ by Charles Dicken. Today the winery produces a range of award-winning wines and is a firm favorite with locals and visitors alike with its Cape Dutch architecture, magnificent valley views and walking trails that snake through the vineyards. The Visitors Route Experience offers a self-guided tour that takes in the Manor House museums and historic Cloete Cellar with its beautiful pediment, a cellar tour, wine tasting and guests can take home a crystal glass memento.
Beau Constantia is a boutique wine farm, nestled at the top of Constantia Nek with sweeping views over False Bay. It is located around 20-minutes drive from Cape Town city. The tasting room is made primarily of glass providing a captivating view of the vineyards below – and their transition through the seasons. The wines here are detailed and rich as the farm follows a minimal intervention approach. With only 12 hectares under vine, this might be one of the smaller farms in the area, but with its spectacular views, incredible wine and wonderful restaurant, Chef’s Warehouse, it’s not to be missed. It should be on everyone’s list when visiting this area as it produces premium wines that are hand-crafted. The wine doesn’t have a long history as the first vines were planted in 2003.
From the moment you arrive, you know you are about to encounter a beautifully curated experience at Babylonstoren, one of the premium wine estates. The land lies at the foot of the strikingly beautiful Simonsberg and Drakenstein mountain ranges that serve as a jaw-dropping background and focal point. The farm offers luxury accommodation, culinary excellence all set within one of these most impressive , expansive fruit and vegetable gardens. The Cellar Tour here is wonderfully unique and starts in the vineyards above ground, where vines from various styles are cultivated. From there, venture into the working cellar with its array of wine-producing vessels, from amphorae clay pots to open cement fermenters and concrete eggs. The tour concludes with a master tasting of our finest wines, paired with farm-grown and handmade delicacies.
Well known for its superior lodges, fine dining restaurants and impressive art collection – Vladimir Tretchikoff’s iconic ‘Chinese Girl’ hangs in the lobby of this wonderful estate – the wine tasting here is like everything else Delaire does supreme luxury. Enjoy spellbinding views due to the estate’s elevated position at the top of the mountain pass along locally produced cheeses and charcuterie, alongside non-alcoholic options and seasonal snacks. The wine tutors awaken your senses to the unique qualities of the wines with a tutored wine experience of the Estate’s award winning vintages.
Stretched across the Bottelary Hills in the Stellenbosch Winelands, just 30 minutes from Cape Town, Hazendal wine estate offers culture, cuisine, golf and entertainment for the entire family.
The wine Visitors can discover the easy-drinking Christoffel Hazenwinkel range as well as the premium Hazendal range in the upscale yet welcoming Wine Tasting Lounge. For the ultimate novel adventure we recommend booking the Sensory Pairing Experience in the subterranean Wine Library with glass ceiling. The estate also houses an impressive classic car museum, and with the kids edutainment center Wonderdal on site, this estate offers the complete package from young to old.
This scenic estate boasts a state-of the-art winemaking facility with two tasting rooms and wonderful heritage architecture. The Cape-Dutch Manor House is a warm and regal domain featuring wood-beam ceilings, yellowwood floors, 19th-century furnishings and period artworks. There are six wine brands, including L’Ormarins Cap Classique, one dedicated to Italian grape varietals and some including old-vine wines. Tastings can be enjoyed in either the Manor House and at the Terra del Capo Tasting Room which also does an Italian cheese-and wine experience with imported and local cheese. Terra del Capo serves superb antipasti lunches under the olives trees (with a view of the cellar through glass walls), or book an elegant high tea in the Manor House, overlooking the manicured lawns.
The highlight of a trip to Jordan Wine Estate is the wine safari. It’s a tour of the vineyards in an open safari-style Land Rover that stops to give you spectacular views of False and Table Bays while tasting a selection of wines amidst the sustainably grown vineyards. This special tour is also available at sunset.
During Harvest time, this wine farm also offers guests a chance to get behind the scenes experience by tasting wines straight from the tanks. The restaurant on the estate is famed for its fine dining offering so be sure to save time for a visit.
Ancient clay-loam soils and cool maritime conditions contribute to the creation of this winery’s award-winning Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Cellarmaster Jean-Claude Martin’s winemaking philosophy of ‘enhancing the beauty of nature’ embraces sustainability, both in the virus-free vineyards and contemporary cellar. This estate is almost as famous for its wine and views as it is for its incredible sustainability initiatives- reflected in the restaurant as well where the dishes are sourced from local farmers and fisherfolk, resulting in a sensory delight. Luxury accommodation is also now available so guests can linger longer on this incredible winery in the Hemel and Aarde, or “ Heaven and Earth” valley.
Our LuxVenture® Designers are ready to curate an unforgettable itinerary with wine estates as part of your travel experience.
Are you ready?