Region Visit: Touring the Western Cape Winelands in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, South Africa
The Western Cape Winelands is one of the worlds’ greatest wine regions producing world class Pinotage, Chenin Blanc and other varietals. It’s marked with fabulous scenery and shows like a beauty queen much like many other parts of South Africa.
This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, a Safari in the Maasai Mara in Kenya and Mauritius. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) and Hyatt Gold Passport. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: South Africa, Kenya & Mauritius via South African Airways, Swiss and Air Canada Business Class
- Vancouver Airport Transborder Maple Leaf Lounge
- United Business Vancouver – Chicago O’Hare
- United Club Chicago O’Hare – Concourse B
- United Club Chicago O’Hare – Concourse C
- United Business First Chicago O’Hare – Sao Paolo International
- Intercontinental Chicago O’Hare
- United Business Chicago O’Hare – Washington Dulles International
- Lufthansa Senator Lounge – Washington Dulles
- South African Airways Business Class Washington Dulles – Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport Dakar
- Dakar Technical Stopover
- South African Airways Business Class Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport Dakar – O.R. Tambo Johannesburg International Airport
- South African Airways Baobab Lounge – O.R Tambo Johannesburg Terminal A Domestic
- South African Airways Economy Class O.R. Tambo Johannesburg – Cape Town international
- Westin Cape Town
- A Visit to Robben Island: South Africa’s Most Famous Jail
- Exploring Table Mountain by Cable Car, Cape Town
- Where the Two Oceans Meet: Visiting Cape Point at Cape of Good Hope
- The Test Kitchen
- Le Quartier Français – Franschhoek
- Touring Western Cape Winelands in Stellenbosch and Franschoek
- The Tasting Room
- South African Airways – Cape Town Cyobab Domestic Lounge
- South African Airways Economy Class – Cape Town – O.R. Tambo Johannesburg
- Hyatt Regency Rosebank Johannesburg
- Soweto & Informal Settlement Tour
- SAA Baobab Premium Lounge – OR Tambo Johannesburg
- South African Airways Business Class O.R. Tambo Johannesburg – Mauritius
- St Regis Mauritius – A Beachfront Suite
- St Regis Mauritius – Le Morne Penninsula, Iridium Spa and The House Reef
- Air Maurituis Amédée Maingard Lounge
- South African Airways Business Class Mauritius – O.R. Tambo Johannesburg
- South African Airways Business Class O.R. Tambo Johannesburg – Jomo Kennyata Nairobi, Kenya
- Fairmont Norfolk, Nairobi
- Travelling the Gritty Streets of Nairobi, Kenya
- Air Kenya – Wilson Airport – Ngrende Airstrip
- Fairmont Mara Safari Club
- Locating Elephants, Rhino’s and Giraffes in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
- Being Surrounded by Lions in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
- Dancing with the Elders at a Maasai Mara Village in the Rift Valley, Kenya
- Air Kenya Ngrende Airstrip – Nairobi Wilson
- Swiss Air Business Nairobi – Zurich
- Swiss Air Arrivals Lounge – Zurich
- Swiss Air Concourse D Lounge (non Shengen) Zurich
- Swiss Air Business Zurich – London Heathrow Terminal 1
- Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge – London Heathrow Terminal 3
- Air Canada / SAS Lounge – Heathrow Terminal 3
- Air Canada London Heathrow – Vancouver International
Region Visit: Touring the Western Cape Winelands of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, South Africa
We spent two days touring around the area enjoying some wine tastings at various wineries.
Wine tourism in South African has developed into a model that’s somewhere in between the commercial Napa Valley and the traditional French vineyards. Most of the tastings in South Africa involved being seated at a table and enjoying a seated tasting of 5-7 wines. The formal nature was a nice change of standing at the bar next to a motor coach or van full of people on tour. The disadvantage is that you can’t fit in many wineries in the day as it takes 30-50 minutes to get through a tasting.
I’ve provided a brief highlight of some of the locations we visited on this particular tour, instead of a more in depth look at each stop.
Cellar Doors with Cape Dutch Architecture:
Most of the South African wineries have beautiful Cape Dutch Architecture, which make for an interesting setting than the usual barrel rooms to taste wine.
Meerlust home of the “first growth” Rubicon:
Stopping in at Haute Caribière:
We found this to be one of our favourite with a particularly good Chardonnay / Pinot Noir. They also have a restaurant on site, which we did not try. This was very close to our hotel at Le Quarter Français in Franschhoek.
It has gorgeous views over the Franschhoek valley.
Calling in at Spier:
We stopped in at Spier, which is a large scale operation. Unfortunately, this meant a large tasting room without much history or personality.
A Visit to the Smaller Thelema:
Some wineries are of course, large scale operations, whereas some others, such as Thelema are more family run operations. Access to the Cellar Door is at the end of their farm access road, well off the main trail. We were treated quite well by Thelema with surprisingly nice wines.
Stopping at a Giant – Nedeberg Wines:
Surprisingly, for a large scale operation, we had wonderful private treatment from Nederburg when we turned up 1 hour before closing. We were treated to a quiet tasting on the outside deck with their premium wines:
The Nedeberg Visit was among our highlights given how nice the wines were and how well we were taken care of.
Goat-tastic: Calling in at Fairview
We also visited the bizarre, but entertaining goat tower at Fairview– home of the mass produced “Goat’s do Roam” wine. Everyone has to have a signature item, and this one is a circular climbing goat tower.
Picnic’s at the Long Table at Boschendal:
One of our other highlights was a picnic at Boschendal. We also arranged (reservation made in person a day prior) for a very filling picnic at Boscehndal. Not all picnics are served at the long table, but if you happen to be with 20 friends, it’s a pleasant way to go.
Passing by Victor Verster Prison:
Lastly, by chance, we happened by the Victor Verster Prison where Nelson Mandela was released in 1992. The prison is still a functioning prison but we stopped for this photograph of the statue at the front gates. We were able to relive this bit of history recently through the footage of Nelson Mandela’s life after his passing.
My Thoughts on Our Time in the Western Cape Winelands:
Our two days went by way too quickly. In the warmth of late November, we were often the only ones in the tasting room. It was a bit surprising at the level of attention we were able to get. I’d highly recommend a visit if your travels bring you to the Western Cape.