The Cape winelands of South Africa is one of most pretty vineyard concentrated areas in the world. Nestled between high mountains, surrounded by green hills, olive and lemon trees, dams, birds and unpaved roads, it truly feels like paradise. Farm living in South Africa is a lifestyle. And I know it as I lived in Franschhoek for 5,5 years and I’m still amazed about the beauty of this part of the world. In this first part of my new series ’25 wineries not to miss in the Cape Winelands’ I will share some inside information with you, plus what to do, taste or order at a certain winery. Some places are really for the wine, some for their restaurant, some for the views and some for a special thing to do, for example a picnic, the garden walk, or because of the special art collection.
Winery 25: Delaire Graff, Helshoogte, Stellenbosch
Art, views, architecture and venue
Delaire Graff is the prestige project of Mr. Graff. Yes, the one from the diamand and jewellery imperium on Bond Street, London (UK). The one with millions and millions on his bank account. How nice of him that he wants to share his wealth a bit with us ‘normal people’. I also have to make an extra note in addition to that, about the fact that this wealthy Mr. Graff supports many charity projects and donates lots and lots of money every year for charity. He even has hist own FACET Foundation; For African Children Every Time. It’s designed to help people (especially children) in South Africa, Lesotho and Botswana with health, education and well-being for their community. Now back to the estate ‘Delaire Graf, located on the pretty Helshoogte pass, the road between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. It truly is a special place and a must-see wine estate. The art, the interior, the exterior and architecture of the buildings, the vineyards and manicured botanical gardens, the views; all magnificent. The wines are just good, but nothing special, and I have the same thoughts about the Delaire ‘main restaurant’. The last time I was there it was okay but I wasn’t impressed. The second restaurant on the premises, Indochine, I do like a lot more. Authentic Asian flavours in a modern setting. A bit pricey yes, but during autumn and winter they sometimes have nice specials! Keep an eye on their website from the end of April onwards. Conclusion: Make sure you visit Delaire when you are around – it’s extreme luxury and maybe a bit ‘over the top’, but only the art collection and the views are already a reason to drive up there.
Winery 24: Ataraxia, Hemel-en-Aarde, Hermanus
Excellent wine tasting in a white church
Ataraxia winery is located in the stunning Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, not far from Hermanus. Because of the sea breeze, the excellent soil, the sunny days in summer, enough rain in winter, and the location of the vineyards on the on the rolling hills, the wines from this whole valley are excellent. Ataraxia wines do very well and especially the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and the red ‘Serenity’ are well worth tasting, or buy a few bottles on the estate. I wrote this article about a day in the Hemel en Aarde Valley earlier on the blog.
Winery 23: Le Lude, Franschhoek
Food and bubbly
To Le Lude boutique winery you go for two reasons: the fantastic MCC (Méthode Cap Classique – the therm for Champagne in South Africa) they make, and their excellent cuisine of L’Orangerie restaurant at Le Lude. Earlier I wrote this blog post about a fantastic lunch here. I love their fresh mussels and double baked fries, their gruyère (cheese) soufflé with green asparagus starter and their Beef Tagliata. Situated on the foot of the Franschhoek Pass, they have great views too – so there is your third reason to stop here.
Winery 22: Hidden Valley, Stellenbosch
Olive tasting or lunch at Overture
Hidden Valley is a winery in – if you’d ask me – the most pretty valley in the Stellenbosch; situated on the northern slopes of the Helderberg Mountain. Besides nice wines (our favourite here is the ‘Hidden Gems’; a blend between Syrah and Petit Verdot) and an excellent restaurant (Overture), they also planted over 3000 olive trees. The fertile soils on the farm made a perfect home for these trees and they grew vigorously. One can taste and buy several olive oils and table olives at Hidden Valley winery. The views are – again – magnificent too.
Winery 21: La Petite Ferme, Franschhoek
Views and sundowners on the lawn
La Petite Ferme is an institute. A place in the Cape Winelands of South Africa that exists already for many years, and is full for lunch from let’s say November until March every day. It’s listed in every travel guide and people just love it, although it’s a bit old fashioned in a way. Over the last 5 years, while living in Franschhoek, the Mr. & I came here often for sundowner drinks on the grass, mostly on a Friday afternoon. The views over the Franschhoek wine valley are beautiful and the La Petite Ferme Sauvignon blanc, the Baboon Rock Chardonnay and the La Petite Ferme Cabernet Sauvignon are simple, but good table wines. Value for money. Oh, and for the not wine lovers; they also serve cold beers and gin and tonics on the lawn. A perfect place to start the weekend with locals, or your special getaway in Franschhoek!
Did you like this article? Then stay tuned for 20 more wineries – soon on the blog – not to miss when you are in the Cape Winelands of South Africa