South Africa wines

South Africa Wine Tasting

The Wineland adventure

When visiting the western province of South Africa, known as the Cape, among some of the most enjoyable and exciting experiences of memories to take back home with you are tours of the Winelands. These can be done by car on your own or you can take an organised tour, either as a day tour or incorporating a tour of the wine farms and many other places of historical or scenic interest, which are there to indulge in whilst you are in South Africa.

Cape Town Wine Tasting & Winery Tours

flickr image by darrellglenn669

Less than an hour’s drive from the centre of Cape Town, you begin your Wineland tour. The main areas of wine growing activity are in the districts of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek, where you revel the visual delight of vineyards stretching for miles, as you travel along the scenic driving routes. The best of the South African wines come from several of the small, privately-owned wine estates.

Whether or not you are a wine lover, a visit to the Cape Winelands is an absolute must, as the region is one of exciting, breathtaking vistas and majestic, mountainous backdrops, while steeped in a rich culture that has an interesting history.

Wine tasting South Africa

Wine tasting

Most of the farms have special wine tasting cellars, where you are able to sample wines that are the variety grown at that particular farm. Most farms also have wine tours available at set times to show you the intricate production process of the distinctive wines that they create. An added touch for the visitor, when feeling peckish, are delicacies like the ‘Ploughman’s Platters’ that are for sale, or you can purchase a food basket that includes a bottle of wine, then go and sit under shady oak trees to enjoy your picnic and just relax and take in nature.

Wine sales

Wine is for sale in the farm cellars, either by the single bottle, or in six or 12 bottle cases. Presentation gift packs usually come in threes and are also available for sale. Visitors to the country do not want to have to carry cases of wine around with them on their holiday, so expert, export services are encouraged for their ease of purchase, and for the client’s enjoyment when back on home territory.

History of South African wine

In Cape Town, some 300+ years ago, Simon van der Stel started the vineyards by planting grapes at his farm, the famous historical site of Groot Constantia. Located in beautiful surroundings with stunning mountain backdrops, the Constantia Valley boasts some of the oldest estates and homesteads, together with award-winning wines.

Simon van der Stel was also the founder of the picturesque little town of Stellenbosch, known for grape farms that are part of the Winelands route. This town is also renowned for its university, which offers a selection of subjects catering for many students, as well as the antiquities found in old Dorp Street.

Stellenbosch is home to the first, official wine route that was founded in 1971. Entrances to wine farms are clearly sign-posted and wines may be purchased at all of the cellars.

As you drive along, you encounter a selection of farm stalls selling, amongst other produce, an excellent variety of cheese to whet the palate, or as an accompaniment to enjoy with your glass of wine.

At a later period in history, the Huguenots arrived and so began Franschhoek, overseen by the Franschhoek and Drakenstein mountain ranges and boasting a memorial to those gallant settlers, wine producers and vintners from a former time. The main street is dotted with antique stores and art galleries.

Franschhoek is also home to a Bastille Day festival, when the stalls sell cheese, wine, olives and home-baked breads. Now, many tourists fond of good cuisine and excellent wine, and who want the ambience of a beautiful country setting, know Franschhoek as a lovely de stressing upmarket holiday destination.

Wine Tours

The ‘Wine Desk’, at the V and A waterfront in Cape Town, is ideal for information and booking, for those tourists who wish to take part in a day tour of the Winelands area. This is a registered tour service with focus and expertise on wine. It has the ability to assist clients with all bookings for their visit to South Africa and the Winelands.

Small group tours have no more than seven or eight people, and impart information and background knowledge of the farms that are being visited. Also conducted are tours that are especially designed for fitting in with your holiday plans, budget and interests. If there are particular wineries that you wish to visit, then it is possible to arrange a private tour to suit your itinerary

The Wine Express offers a visit to three wineries, with the itineraries on offer differing daily.

Departing from the V and A Waterfront at 10.00am, you spend about an hour at each of the three wineries and then have an hour’s free time in either of the historic towns of Stellenbosch or Franschhoek, with your return to the Waterfront by 4.00pm. The wine tastings are optional and are not included in the price of the tour.

Most of the estates in the Winelands are open for wine tasting and purchasing from Monday through to Saturday. However, a few do close over the weekends.

Paarl and Wellington

There are a number of further excellent wine farms to be found on the Wineland route as well, in both the Paarl and the Wellington areas. These also have an historical background and are set against the beauty of mountain and vineyard backdrops.

Should you intend to visit many of the farms in the Winelands for cellar tasting, a suggestion is to spend a night or two at the many hotels, guesthouses or bed and breakfasts in the Winelands. In this beautiful area are restaurants of renown for dining and enjoying wines of the region to further your wine tasting tours of South Africa.

Date posted: 6th November, 2012

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