South Africa does not only have great wines, but a great wine culture to go with it. During my recent trip to the Western Cape, I experienced the love they have for wine, and how much tourism had been built around the wine industry of South Africa. From food pairings in chic restaurants to hotels on wine estates, and wine festivals, there is certainly more to South African wines that go beyond the bottles!
The Cape winelands are some of the most breathtaking in the world. The numerous wine routes, including Durbanville, Robertson, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek, and Wellington, have well-developed infrastructure that includes top-class hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, wellness spas, game lodges and golf courses.
The various wine routes offer a wide variety of activities and I was fortunate to part take in some.
Pure sparkles and food at The House of J.C. Le Roux
The House of J.C. Le Roux is known for creating exceptional Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) alongside the ever-popular range of sparkling wines, to suit every palate and occasion. Apart from learning the craftsmanship of a fine vintage Cap Classique, we also experienced The House of J.C. Le Roux’s paired tastings. This included tasting of 5 MCC paired with Roses Handmade Nougat.
I further a taste of the stylish setting of Le Venue restaurant at the House of J.C. Le Roux. The menu boasted of tapas, fresh greens, burgers, mains and desserts, and of course a selection of wines!!!!
Farm breakfast at Le Roux & Fourie Vignerons
Our entry into the Robertson Wine Valleys started off with a cheerful farm breakfast at Le Roux & Fourie Vignerons, located at the foot of the majestic Langeberg Mountains. Le Roux & Fourie is the first cellar in the Robertson Wine Valley, situated on Route 62, and due to the high limestone deposits in the soil, wines of distinction are produced.
We didn’t get the chance to sample any of the wine while we were there but the fantastic scenery of its location just off the road made the breakfast go down well with a hint of fresh countryside breeze, while looking over the colourful maze of flags.
Great South African wines…it all starts with a great harvest!!!
The Flag’nWine World is a scenic walk through with organic flag labyrinth, paints a picture of the world that is fun for the whole family. It has more than 220 flags, manufactured from recycled pallets and painted – a project that took 8 months to complete!
Wining and dinning at Holden Manz
Known as ‘Franschhoek’s hidden gem’, Holden Manz Wine Estate presents many thrilling experiences from its wines to its 5-star country guesthouse and spa, food and wedding hostings.
Its Franschhoek Kitchen is rated one of the leading restaurants in the Franschhoek Valley, and I experienced why! Franschhoek Kitchen’s standards reflect an ethos based on the finest international cuisine, yet drawn to the simplicity and pureness of the ingredients selected from its own farm.
We paired our 4-course dinner with a fabulous selection of wines from the region including Holden Manz Wine Estate with Babylonstoren Wine and Rickety Bridge Winery.
Wine Safari and fine dining at Jan Harmsgat Country House
Jan Harmsgat Country House is a historic charm of a 5-Star guest house, with accommodation comprising 10-exclusive rooms as well a romantic honeymoon suite – no wonder it is famed for hosting weddings!
We experienced Jan Harmsgat Farm (JHG), which is situated on the most southern tip of the Robertson Wine valley along the foothills of the Langerberg Mountains, in the most unique of ways. Yes, I call it a wine safari.
We hopped into the SUV and climbed up hill to see the vineyards and the beautiful landscape, which came with encounters with wild animals such as the wildebeest.
And upon our return from the small adventure, we were more than ready for our dinner and wine pairing. Jan Harmsgat provides an award winning dining experience.
Our 3-course dinner utilized fresh produce grown in Jan Harmsgat’s own garden, and it came with the choices such of rack of lamb, duck confit and aged beef fillet.
The prestigious Stellenbosch Wine Festival
What better way to end a touristy experience than with a festival? The 2017 Stellenbosch Wine Festival took place at Coetzenburg Sports Grounds, where guests got the opportunity to sample some of the best wines in the country. With more than 148 wineries making up the Stellenbosch Wine Route, the Festival brings one of the largest wine varietal tasting offerings in the world to one venue.
We indulged in gourmet food offerings by top restaurants, as well as live music fun outdoor activities in picturesque surroundings.
South African wines, a taste of quality and elegance from region to region
So there you have it, if you are looking a fun new experience, wine tourism in South Africa could just be what you need. I experienced just a fraction of what the country had to offer and I enjoyed every bit of it. Cheers!!!