Wine Tasting in Paarl, Western Cape Winelands, South Africa


Today’s visit to the Western Cape Wine Region was a trip to an often overlooked region of Paarl. Paarl is home to several major wineries and is a neighbour to the more popular Stellenbosch and Franschoek regions. Our visit to Paarl had us casually visiting several wineries as we enjoyed the region’s attractions and scenery.

This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines AAdvantage & Alaska Mileage Plan. 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.

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Activity: Wine Tasting in Paarl, Western Cape Winelands, South Africa

“Our visit to low key Paarl Wine Region took us away from the mega heavyweights of Stellenbosch and Franschoek, but allowed us to discover a few hidden gems”

On our first day, we had a bit of a sleep in at The Westin Cape Town. We hit the morning breakfast for last call and drove to wine area of Paarl. It was Sunday so many of the tasting rooms were closed or had reduced hours. MrsWT73 had us booked in for a shark dive in Gansbaai the next day that started at 7 AM with an easy 2 1/2 hour drive away so if there was ever time for an easy day after our international arrival, it was this one.

About Paarl Wine Region:

Paarl is one of South Africa’s most famous wine-producing areas. It’s conveniently located about 60 kilometers inland from Cape Town and just north of Stellenbosch. Paarl is home to some of the Western Cape’s best-known wineries.

The Paarl Wine Region is known for producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinotage, Chenin Blanc and occasionally Chardonnay are all important grape varieties in the region. Paarl’s huge variation of terroir gives wine farms opportunities to experiment with many different grape varieties and blends. The red wines are rich and robust, with a great intensity of fruit. The white wines are fruit driven and tropical.

Visiting Simonsig Winery:

After driving ourselves to the area, we headed up to Simonsig. The tasting room was a small area with a nice tasting room. There was a small 35 ZAR ($2.40 USD) charge for 5 wines. We ended up outside on the patio once space opened up and enjoyed the fine weather and setting.

The Cellar Door at Simonsig
A Great Wine Tasting Patio
Simonsig Cellar Door
The Wine Tasting Patio at Simonsig
The Rose Garden at Simonsig

The ambience was nice and for a medium scale winery.

Simonsig Grounds

Visiting Glen Carlou:

After that flight, we headed up towards Glen Carlou, which is owned and managed by the Hess Collection group of wineries. The setting here was particularly beautiful with a tasting room and restaurant on the hill overlooking the valley.

Arriving to the Cellar Door at Glen Carlou
The Cellar Door at Glen Carlou

The tasting room was medium sized scale and occupied a third of the space. We had a nice leisurely chat with the wine host about apartheid and its effects on modern business.

The Cellar Door Tasting Room at Glen Carlou
The Tasting Restaurant
Glen Carlou Tasting
Views from the Glen Carlou Tasting Room
Views from the Tasting Room

Returning to Nederberg:

We left Glen Carlou and headed on to nearby Nederberg. It was our second visit here and we’ve always been treated well given that it’s a large scale winery. Despite this, we were again the only ones here. We enjoyed an executive tasting on the patio. It’s another beautiful setting right on the vineyard with no traffic or highway noise.

The Nederberg Cellar Door
A Nederberg Premium Tasting
Beautiful Views from the Tasting Patio
Great Vines and Great Views at Nedeberg

After Nederberg, we headed back towards Cape Town. We tried to get in for a tasting at Fairview but they had stopped serving by the time that we arrived.

We headed back for a freshen up, a cocktail reception in the lounge, then onto dinner at Quay 4 at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. MrsWT73 was still really upset about her bag, which hadn’t arrived at of end of day 1. The phrase: “Thank you Qatar for ruining my happiness” became quite familiar to me over the next few days. Despite this, she was keen to get onto the shark dive the next day which was a bright spot on the trip.

Our visit to Paarl Wine Region:

Our visit to the Paarl Wine Region was a new experience for us and a first time that we were able to focus on visiting this particular location of the Western Cape Wine Regions. Our casual day visiting Paarl had us visit Simonsig, Glen Carlou and our old favourite Nederberg. The Western Cape Wine Region is always a treat to visit and we enjoyed our experience on this visit just as much as our last ones.

If you’ve visited the Paarl Wine Region, did you enjoy the experience?

2 Comments on “Wine Tasting in Paarl, Western Cape Winelands, South Africa

  1. found your webpage by accident. Wow so many trip reports! I am also in YVR and look forward to use your adventure blueprints to plan my own.


    • Thanks for following Brian. Vancouver can be a little tricky to get that great international premium cabin reward availability but it’s such a great worldwide gateway to almost anywhere so it’s a great place to be for this hobby.


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