South Africa’s winelands

One of our favorite areas of ​​South Africa (yes, there are many of them!) is the winelands in the Western Cape, they have so much to offer. Picturesque vineyards, restored farms in Cape Dutch style, excellent wine routes, fynbos and majestic mountain ranges as a backdrop, the list goes on… Many of the towns and villages in the winelands have historical buildings and monuments that tell of the area’s rich history, and during a visit you will experience so much more than just wine.

Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia

South Africa also has its very own grape variety, Pinotage, which was created in 1924 when Professor Abraham Izak Perold crossed the two varieties Pinot Noir and Cinsault. The latter was called at the time the Hermitage in South Africa, which explains the name Pinotage. However, it took many years before Pinotage received the attention it deserves, the international breakthrough came in 1989.

Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek

Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek

How much time you spend in the area, depends a lot on how interested you are – or how much you like – wine 🙂 You can choose to visit the winelands during the day with your base in Cape Town – within a radius of 100 km there is so much to see and do.

Beautiful house in Cape Dutch style

Beautiful house in Cape Dutch style

If you want to concentrate on a smaller area, make your way to charming Stellenbosch, which is considered to produce the best range of wines with hundreds of vineyards, or Franschhoek, located in one of the world’s most beautiful wine valleys. Both are within a short driving distance from each other through the beautiful Helshoogte Pass.

Harvest time at Ormonde in Darling

Harvest time at Ormonde in Darling

You can also stay at one of the many beautiful guesthouses available here and also enjoy really good food. Franschhoek is such as South Africa’s “food and wine capital” – many of the country’s hundred best restaurants are here!

winelands 5

Beautiful mountains as backdrop

You can also choose to have any of the winefarms as a base. Then you’ll stay at a winery where wine is produced and work is ongoing every day. They come in size large, as for example Spier, to size small as our favorite Temple Wines. Prices vary quite a bit…

Môreson outside of Franschhoek

Môreson outside of Franschhoek

For those of you who don’t want to be self-driving, there are excellent guided tours, both as full-day and half-day options, which provides transportation (even to and from Cape Town) in air-conditioned minibuses, wine tastings, cellar tours and time to discover areas on their own and much more.

Neethlingshof

Neethlingshof

Usually, when people talk about the winelands in South Africa, it is the areas around Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek that brought to mind. But there are so many other wine routes that all offer high-quality South African wines and beautiful scenery.

Boschendal

Boschendal

Please read more about all the wine regions in South Africa on our website Destination South Africa.

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Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2013

Groot_Constantia_ChardonnayJust a few weeks after the devastating fire around Cape Town, Groot Constantia won the prestigious Chardonnay du Monde 2015. Their Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2013 beat no less than 825 other wines and took first prize.

This wine has won 16 gold medals during the past 10 years, so it was maybe a little expected.

Congratulation!

Tempel Wines

Between Paarl and Wellington in the South African winelands, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town, lies the small vineyard Temple Wines. The farm is run by Swedish Alf & Marie Ljungqvist, a couple that is impossible not to like. A visit here was a ‘must during our time in Cape Town, we hadn’t been there for several years and it’s always so nice.

Temple Wines specialises in the grape Pinotage, which is a South African specialty created in 1924, when Professor Abraham Izak Perold crossed the two varieties Pinot Noir and Cinsault. The latter was at the time called Hermitage in South Africa, which explains the name Pinotage.

We had the pleasure to try five lovely wines when we were there. Difference and Evidence, of which Evidence was our favorite as it’s a wonderful full bodied Pinotage, 3D, which is a South African version of a Bordeaux wine and Opus 5, Temple Wine’s fifth Pinotage which will certainly be really really good within a few years old (we have a bottle in our wine rack, waiting for the year 2020!).

The coolest wine Temple Wines produces though must be Innocence, which is something as rare as a white Pinotage. Temple Wines is one of only four producers in South Africa that do this. And it’s a very good wine that messes up the communication between eyes and taste buds…

Temple Wines is not only a winery but they also have five lovely rooms where you can stay while exploring the winelands. Affordable and personal, here you will definitely have a lovely time! You have the opportunity to have a braai (bbq) and they also offer a delightful delicacy platter with wine if you don’t want to go into town for the restaurants.

Last, but not least, a stay here also includes wine tasting and a cellar tour with Alf, which is a real experience.

Temple Wines is a wonderful place run by wonderful people!

 

Wine tip: Diemersfontein Coffee Pinotage

diemersfonteinThe weekend is finally here! Hope you all have some lovely plans. I think I will be both quiet and still throughout the weekend, I’ve completely lost my voice and feel generally very tired (not fun at all when it’s 32 degrees outside). But Lina is going out for dinner with nice company at beautiful Melrose Arch.

We thought we’d give you a wine tip that could be a good match for any of the meals of the weekend. We think Diemersfontein Coffee Pinotage is a really nice wine. It has been one of the favorites for quite some time actually. I know it’s sold in Sweden, but the rest of you out there – you will have to go and search for it. Let us know if you find it!

This is a wine that smells strongly of coffee and chocolate, but it also has a fruity flavor (and toasted oak character with hints of coffee, blackberry, chocolate and vanilla – at least that’s what the ones who know say). It’s great with lamb and beef, but also to drink just the way it is.

Have a nice weekend everyone!