The Western Cape is blessed with some of the most idyllic and picturesque wine lands in the world. With its magnificent beauty, rich heritage and delectable wines, there is no shortage of activities to experience in the Cape. One of the best ways to make sure you fit in everything is through a relaxed road trip through the wine lands. The joy of a road trip is not only in the open road ahead, but also the majestic scenery on all sides of you, quality time spent with your loved ones and the excitement of exploring new spaces along the drive. Below are six stops which make for the perfect road trip through the Cape Winelands. It’s possible to see all of these in a day, but you’ll definitely find yourself wanting to spend a few days in this region to truly soak up its beauty and wonderful wines.
#1 Stop: Constantia
Constantia is the perfect place to begin your road trip. Located in Cape Town’s southern suburbs, Constantia is home to gorgeous vineyards just 15 minutes away from the city centre. The Constantia Wine Route dates back to 1685 (the oldest in South Africa) and boasts eight award-winning wine estates for a fully immersive wine experience. Groot Constantia is especially lovely, with a walking trail that takes you over the sprawling lawns and into a shady garden with an ages-old bath. Constantia also offers plenty of great restaurants. Locals love Beau Constantia’s Chef’s Warehouse for their fine dining and scenic views over the valley.
#2 Stop: Durbanville
Take a turn through the northern suburb of Durbanville for your second stop. The Durbanville Wine Valley is home to hectares of flourishing vineyards with prize-winning wines and superb hospitality. Each winery has its own unique charm which means that there are a range of wines on offer, some more intense than others. There are also a mix of homely, intimate dining spots and upmarket restaurants a short distance from the Wine Valley. For those who want to explore further, experience the Durbanville Hills Table Mountain Wine Safari, where you can enjoy a premium wine selection atop Cape Town’s most iconic landmark, Table Mountain.
#3 Stop: Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch is a wine-lover’s paradise. Only 45 minutes out of Cape Town, you’ll find the most breathtaking views of miles of vineyards against the backdrop of grand mountains. The town itself was built in 1679 and still retains its quant, old-fashioned appeal. There are countless wineries in this town, most of which offer more than your run-of-the-mill wine tasting ventures. Visit the Waterford Estate where Chief winemaker, Kevin Arnold, teams up with chocolatier, Richard von Geusau, to create this unique wine-tasting experience. If chocolate isn’t your thing, you might also enjoy a visit to the Middelvlei Wine Estate. Here you can blend your own bespoke wine and get a personalised label on the bottle to take home. While you’re there, enjoy the locally loved ‘boere tapas’ (farmers tapas) or grilled specialties by Middelvlei’s braaimaster.
#4 Stop: Franschhoek
The small town of Franschhoek is packed with an array of wine farms, ranging from boutique wineries who produce highly specialised and unique flavours, to large cellars who offer organised tours and tastings for their guests.The fertile Franschhoek Wine Valley is home to some of South Africa’s most classic styles. These include elegant whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc, as well as full-bodied reds of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Merlot. The area also produces some of the country’s well-loved Méthode Cap Classiques, all of which can be savoured on a trip along the Franschhoek MCC Route. For a more adventurous kind of wine tasting experience, Paradise Stables offers a horse riding trail where you can soak up the extraordinary surroundings while stopping at different wine estates along the way. This is suited to both beginner and experienced riders.
#5 Stop: Paarl
Another fabulous destination in the Cape Winelands, Paarl has a varied selection of wine farms to visit. One that stands out in particular is Spice Route. Recently awarded the 2019 Innovation Wine and Tourism Award, Spice Route Destination is home to 13 artisans, including a craft brewery, a chocolate house and of course, the main attraction of Spice Route Wines. Visitors are encourage to purchase the Spice Route passport – a pocket-sized booklet that gives you access to enjoy all the tastings around the farm. The Paarl-based location also boasts some of the best views in the area, and is a must for a sundowner or pizza.
6th Stop: Robertson
As a final stop on your wine tour, drive through the Huguenot Tunnel to get to the Robertson Wine Valley. This is the world’s longest wine route stretching along the famed Route62. A must-see winery on this trip is the De Wetshof Estate. The name De Wetshof has been synonymous with the production of fine wines in South Africa since the 1970’s. As the first registered wine estate in the Robertson Wine Valley, De Wetshof has become known internationally as South Africa’s eminent Chardonnay House due to the pioneering role it played in introducing this noble Burgundian grape to the country. If you’re in a celebratory mood, then a must-stop is Graham Beck Estate. Located just outside the valley, Graham Beck is one of South Africa`s leading family owned estates, in the ongoing pursuit of perfecting South Africa’s finest Méthode Cap Classique. Their tasting room has a wonderful deck, where guests can sit, relax and enjoy a glass of bubbly to end off an incredible roadtrip around the Cape.
Remember, at Explore Sideways, our speciality is putting together curated tours catering to your ideal wish list. If you love the idea of a local roadtrip, get in touch with us and allow our team of experts to make sure you ticket all your ideal locations off that bucket list!