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Complete Guide to the Cape Winelands

Havana Dauncey
Complete Guide to the Cape Winelands

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Looking for the ultimate day (or days) trip in and around Cape Town? Why not explore the world-famous Cape Winelands? This region of rolling hills and vineyards galore is a special gem that you just can’t miss.

So if you need a few days to sit under the African sun and un-wine (pun intended), there’s no better place than the Cape Winelands. Here’s our complete guide to the Cape Winelands and the must-see wine farms!

Cape Winelands Overview

The Cape Winelands is a region in the Western Cape celebrated by both locals and tourists for its award-winning wine farms, awe-inspiring views, rich histories, traditional architecture and so much more!

Thanks to the region’s distinct conditions, it offers the perfect terroir to produce some iconic wines and even some new inventions.

If you’re looking for reds, you must try the local Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot, as well as some great blends. On the white side, you can expect Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. JC Le Roux, South Africa's best known sparkling wine, is also grown in the region (found just outside of Stellenbosch).

While it’s easy to get lost in the wine, the Cape Winelands also offers a wide range of other exciting activities you can squeeze in here and there when you’ve got some spare time.

Whether you’re going for some delicious wine tasting, the breathtaking views or simply the vibes, the Cape Winelands is an absolute must on your Cape Town bucket list!

Where are the Cape Winelands?

The Cape Winelands District is an area found just outside Cape Town, extending further inland. From Cape Town, it’s about a 30-minute drive to reach the borders of the Cape Winelands District, and it will take another 4 hours to reach the other side.

It’s safe to say that the Cape Winelands District is quite massive. In fact, the total area of the Cape Winelands District is almost 21 500 km2. But fortunately for you, when we talk about the Cape Winelands, we’re usually only talking about a handful of very special towns.

How to Get to the Cape Winelands from Cape Town?

The best way to get to the Cape Winelands from Cape Town is by hiring a car and driving yourself. This gives much freedom and flexibility in planning your trip through the Winelands. Unfortunately, there isn’t much public transport, but if necessary you can catch an Uber or bus.

Getting there is pretty simple, as you mostly just have to follow the major highway starting in Cape Town, the N1, and depending on where you’re going, exit off the N1 to another main highway.

Which areas are in the Cape Winelands?

While there are a number of big and small towns poured across the Cape Winelands, the main towns and special gems include Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Wellington, Worcester, Robertson and Tulbagh. These are towns known especially for their stunning views and outstanding wine farms, producing some of the best wine in the world.

Some even consider some areas just outside of the Cape Winelands District such as Constantia and Durbanville, as while they aren’t technically within its borders, they are areas found in and around Cape Town that are famous for their wine farms and simply can’t be ignored.

How many wine farms are in the Cape Winelands?

There are currently around 550 wine farms in the Cape Winelands, spread across the 4 main regions, namely The Breede River Valley, The Little Karoo, Coastal and Olifants Rivier. While you certainly can’t visit all of them, you can find the top must-see wine farms, plus much more, in our complete guide to the Cape Winelands below.

8 Top Wine Routes in the Cape Winelands

1. Stellenbosch Wine Route

50km from Cape Town, Stellenbosch is the first stop in the Cape Winelands. As South Africa’s 2nd oldest town, the Stellenbosch Wine Route was the first official wine route in South Africa and has now grown to hold over 140 wine farms. Nestled at the foot of the Stellenbosch Moutain Range, Stellenbosch is a charming small, universitytown that brings in tourists from around the world. Stellenbosch wine farms are world-famous, known especially for their Cabernet, Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Wine farms in Stellenbosch

  • Tokara: Come for the wine, stay for the breathtaking views of Stellenbosch and False Bay.

  • Zorgvliet Wine Estate: Found in the Banhoek Valley, picnic under the oak trees or taste the finest wines in their premium tasting room.

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  • Blaauwklippen: Soak in the traditional Cape Dutch architectureand don’t miss their famous weekend market.

  • Spier: Sip wine next to a peaceful dam, take a segway tour through the vineyards, marvel at one of the largest collections of contemporary art in South Africa and have a close encounter at their birds of prey sanctuary.

  • Vergenoegd Löw: Explore one of the oldest wine farms in the country, dating back to 1696, savour the celebration of South African cuisine at Clara’s Barn and maybe spot the famous runner ducks moving through the grounds.

Other activities in Stellenbosch

  • Explore Dylan Lews Sculpture Garden.

  • Hike through Jonkershoek Nature Reserve or up to 2nd Cross on Coetzenburg Mountain (a local tradition).

  • Meander through art galleries in Stellenbosch Central.

  • Take a peaceful stroll through Stellenbosch Botanical Gardens.

  • Try your hand at strawberry picking at one of the many farms.

Best accommodation in Stellenbosch

  • Delaire Graaf Estate

  • Coopmanhuijs Boutique Hotel & Spa

  • Lanzerac Hotel

2. Franschhoek Wine Route

Stellenbosch Wine Route

Franschhoek is the wine capital of South Africa. Found just over the mountain from Stellenbosch, Franschhoek is built around its countless wine farms and French Huguenot history (Franschhoek means ‘French corner’). You’ll definitely need more than a few days to explore the sea of Franschhoek wine farms, art galleries, restaurants, museums and scenic drives. Franschhoek Wine Route is particularly known for its champagne-inspired “Cap Classiques.”

Wine farms in Franschhoek

  • Boschendal: As one of the oldest wine farms, Boschendal has it all with wine tastings and pairings, Werf Restaurant and Bar, picnics in the gardens, playgrounds, an art gallery, horseriding, night markets, swimming, hikes and more.

  • Dieu Donné: The quality of the wine and views of the Franschhoek valley are in the name — ‘God Given.’

  • Mont Rochelle: With the estate owned by none other than Richard Branson, you can expect only the best wine, food and extraordinary grounds.

  • Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards: Enjoy a great wine-tasting session, culinary classes, great food offerings and serene beauty of the natural surroundings, plus don’t forget to try their wine slushie on a hot summer’s day.

  • Haute Cabrière: Go back in time in their stone cellar tasting room and relish in the exceptional views of the valley from up on the mountain.

Other things to do in Franschhoek

  • Spend the day hopping between wine farms on their famous Wine Trams.

  • Take a look around the South African Perfume Museum.

  • Visit the Huguenot Museum.

  • Dine at the world-renowned Maison, the counterpart to Chef’s Warehouse in Cape Town.

  • Have some beer tasters at the Tuk Tuk Brewery.

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Best accommodation in Franschhoek

  • La Residence

  • La Clé de Montagnes

  • La Petite Ferme

3. Paarl Wine Route

Only 45 minutes from Cape Town, Paarl is one of the most underrated gems in the Cape Winelands and is actually the second-largest wine region in the country. Secured away between the Drakenstein and Paarl mountains, Paarl wine farms represent the lovely town’s rich history as the 3rd oldest European settlement in the country. This is also the perfect spot if your drink of choice is Chenin Blancs or Reds.

Wine farms in Paarl

  • Fairview Wines: Take advantage of this delectable fine wine and cheese farm by enjoying its fresh produce deli for take-home goods, bakery, tasting room, tasting classes and the popular Goatshed Restaurant.

  • KWV: Marvel at the largest cooperative wine cellar in the world with award-winning wines.

  • Nederberg: Located just outside of Paarl, you simply can’t miss the unreal views of the Drakenstein mountains, spectacular gardens and award-winning wine.

  • Ridgeback Wines: Sitting on the northern slopes of the Paarl Mountains, you’re guaranteed some scenic sipping.

  • Spice Route: This Paarl Estate offers more than just artisanal wine tastings, but gourmet food, chocolate, ice cream, shopping, beer and much more.

Things to do in Paarl

  • Get lost in the gardens, hand pick your own fruit, savour the best food and wines and more at Babylonstoren.

  • Meet some new friends at the Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop and Weaving Studio.

  • Taste some local beers at Berg River Brewery.

  • Snap some pics at the Taal Monument.

  • Go for a ride in the Wine Valley horse trails.

Best accommodation in Paarl

  • Laborie Estate

  • Pearl Valley Hotel

  • Grande Roche Hotel

4. Wellington Wine Route

Not too far from Paarl, the quiet town of Wellington might be the youngest of the wine routes but has become the centre of wine innovation in the Cape Winelands as the birthplace of chocolate pinotage and white pinotage.

Wellington is known as the home of the vine, as 90% of South Africa’s vines are grown here in nurseries before being transported for planting across the country.

You can find the wine farms in Wellington resting at the base of Groenberg Mountain.

Wine farms in Wellington

  • Diemersfontein Wine and Country Estate: You have to try the famous Coffee Chocolate Pinotage in the place it was created.

  • Doolhof Wine Estate: Set along the tranquil Kromme Rivier, you can take a day to taste award-winning wines and enjoy river walks, child-friendly mountain-biking trails, secluded picnics, a labyrinth and Africamps glamping.

  • Andreas Wine Estate: This 18th-century home only serves the best shiraz, so if you love your reds, then this one’s for you.

  • Bosman Family Vineyards: Stick to the basics of cabernet and chardonnay or try something new with varietals, such as the Nero d’Avola, the Optenhorst Chenin Blanc and Fides.

  • Dunstone Country Estate: Found at the toes of the Bainskloof Pass, this family-run boutique winery offers you a taste of everything the Cape Winelands has to offer.

Other activities in Wellington

      • Take a scenic drive through Bainskloof Pass, keeping a lookout for some baboons.

      • Visit Bartholomeus Klip Farmhouse.

      • Take a look at the Wellington Museum.

      • Go horseriding with Fynbos Horse Trails.

      • View some game at the Bontebok Ridge Reserve.

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Best accommodation in Wellington

  • Wellington Country House

  • Grande Dédale Country Estate

  • Oude Wellington

5. Robertson Wine Route

Hidden between the impressive mountains of the Breede River Valley, Robertson is home to the longest wine route in the country, meandering through small towns like Roberston, Ashton, Bonnievale and McGregor.

Known as the valley of vines and roses, the Robertson region is beloved for its dessert wines and more recently Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blancs, Cap Classiques and even Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wine farms in Robertson

  • Bon Courage Wine Estate: Found at the meeting point of three rivers, including the Breede River, sufficient irrigation results in healthy grapes and some of the tastiest wines.

  • Graham Beck: Sip on award-winning MCC (Méthode Cap Classique) wines at one of the most world-famous wineries in the country.

  • Excelsior Wine Estate: Taste the rich history of winemaking passed down through generations from one of the first winemakers in the Western Cape.

  • Rietvallei Wine Estate: This very picturesque wine estate is one of the oldest wine farms in the region of Robertson and is home to a range of wines including Muscadel, the oldest vine of its kind in all South Africa.

  • Van Loveren Family Cellar: As one of the newer wineries, the stunning grounds are paired with beloved sweet wines, dry wines and brandy.

Things to do in Robertson

  • View Robertson art gallery.

  • Buy some local produce at the Robertson farmers market.

  • Sip some wine while floating down the river with Viljoensdrift’s wine cruise.

  • Explore new tastes and aromas at Owl’s Rest Olive and Lavender Farm.

  • Check out Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary.

Best accommodation in Robertson

  • Cellar1947

  • Robertson Small Hotel

  • Mo & Rose at Soekershof

6. Tulbagh Wine Route

Hidden in the Tulbagh Valley and only an hour and a half’s drive from Cape Town, the Tulbugh Wine Route is one of the Cape Winelands’ hidden gems. Tulbagh is not only historic in its 32 provincial monuments on one street, but it’s also made history in the wine industry with the first night-harvesting wine estate in South Africa, Twee Jongen Gezellen, and its long list of international awards. Shiraz is the most-planted red variety in Tulbagh, with Chenin Blanc being the most-planted white. Additionally, you can expect to find Pinotage, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Wine farms in Talbugh

  • Saronsberg Wine Estate: Choose between tasting delicious wine while watching the majestic Saronsberg Mountains or visiting the cellar with a striking tasting room and art collection.

  • Twee Jongen Gezellen (Krone) Wine Estate: The 300-year-old wine farm offers a range of Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) and still wines.

  • Theuniskraal: Named after the son of the 3 original families in Tulbagh and one of South Africa’s first white variety wineries, this wine estate offers classic tastings and captivating views.

  • Lemberg Wine Estate: Once famous for their Sauvignon Blanc, Harslevelu and for being one of the smallest cellars in South Africa in the 1980s, now Lemberg Wine Estate is the perfect wine-filled getaway spot in Tulbagh.

  • Tulbagh Winery: Growing cultivars of Chenin Blanc and Pinotage, you can also expect other red cultivars including the noble grape varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

Things to do in Tulbagh

    • Explore Church Street.

    • Go olive tasting at Oakhurst Olives.

    • Hike / bike the Oudekloof Pass.

    • Visit Tulbagh’s Earthquake Museum.

    • Have a tractor ride through the vineyards.

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Best accommodation in Tulbagh

  • Montpellier Manor House

  • Mont Rouge

  • Cape Dutch Quarter

7. Constantia Wine Route

While it stands just outside of the Cape Winelands, you can’t talk about wine in the Cape without mentioning Constantia. There are 10 world-renowned wine farms in Constantia spread across the slopes of the Table Mountain Mountain Reserve with some oldest wine farms in the country. The Constantia wine farms are largely cool climate offerings, so look out for world-class sauvignon blancs, delightful reds and the famous Constantia dessert wine.

Wine farms in Constantia

    • Groot Constantia: Established in 1685, Groot Constantia claims the title of the oldest wine farm in South Africa and offers 3 different tasting rooms and 2 local-favourite restaurants, Simon’s and Jonkershuis.

    • Beau Constantia: Perched on the top of Constantia Nek, this wine farm has the best view on the route and is home to one of the top-rated restaurants in the country, Chef’s Warehouse.

    • Constantia Glen: Positioned high on Constantia Nek, you can’t miss this picturesque boutique wine estate producing ultra-premium, cool-climate wines.

    • Constantia Uitsig: This 300-year-old wine estate offers not only some of the best wine but a heritage market with a range of shops and food stalls.

    • Eagle’s Nest: The beautiful tasting area with lush lawns and large trees is fantastic to enjoy wine tasting and something to snack on in a relaxed atmosphere.

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Things to do in Constantia

  • Walk to Alphen Trail.

  • Dine at Chef’s Warehouse or local’s favourite Chardonnay Deli.

  • Take a day to do some rose picking and horseriding at Chart Farm.

  • Go ziplining at SA Forest Adventures.

  • Hike up the glorious Cecilia’s Waterfall.

Best accommodation in Constantia

  • Alphen Boutique Hotel and Spa

  • Glen Avon Lodge Boutique Hotel

  • The Cellars-Hohenort

8. Durbanville Wine Route

Also lying on the outskirts of the Cape Winelands, this special route of wine farms found 30 minutes out of Cape Town and spread across the rolling Tygerberg Hills cannot be overlooked. The wine farms in Durbanville are the perfect getaway if you don’t want to venture too far out of the city, especially if your drink of choice is the Durbanville wine route signature, Sauvignon Blanc

Wine farms in Durbanville

  • De Grendel: The Tasting Lounge and Stoep is an elegant setting in which to enjoy the estate’s famous wines, complemented by views of the vineyards stretching out towards Table Bay.

  • Klein Roosboom Boutique Winery: This family-run farm presents an intimate atmosphere against the backdrop of vineyards and rolling hills, producing award-winning wines of exceptional quality.

  • Durbanville Hills: Durbanville Hills offers a modern chic experience that any wine lover will enjoy with its award-winning restaurant, The Tangram and the perfect view of Table Mountain.

  • Diemersdal: Enjoy tasty sauvignon blancs made by combining traditional and modern wine-making methods, aided by cool ocean winds and dryland farming.

  • Bloemendal Wine Estate: It might have originally been a supply station for the Dutch East Indian Company, but now you can expect a selection of wine tastings, hosted in their historic tasting room which also has a lush terrace.

Other activities in Durbanville

  • Check out the famous Rust-en-Vrede Gallery.

  • Relax in the Majik Forest.

  • Have dinner and a show at Die Boer Restaurant Theatre.

  • Take a walk through Durbanville Rose Garden.

  • Watch a show at the Barnyard.

Best accommodation in Durbanville

  • Ruslamere Hotel and Spa

  • Eversview Guesthouse

  • Meerendal Boutique Hotel

Why visit the Cape Winelands when you can live there?

It’s hard not to fall in love with the Cape Winelands and live on cloud wine. So, if you realise a day or two in the heavenly valleys is not enough, we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to make the move to the Cape Winelands. When moving to one of the best places in the countryyou’re going to need one of the best moving services.

So make the wise move and choose Wise Move — an affordable moving service trusted by thousands across South Africa to help them reach their new home, wherever it may be. Get your quote from Wise Move right now and get one step closer to the extraordinary Cape Winelands!

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