Escape to these unique Western Cape winter winelands + wine events not be missed

2018-06-22 22:00 - Kavitha Pillay
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If winter is all about sharing hearty meals and fine wine with loved ones, then these wineries and wine events should be at the top of your social calendar this chilly season.

Western Cape is paradise for wine connoisseurs, priding itself on numerous wine routes in every region of the province. To narrow it down for you, we’ve selected a few of the unique wineries worth visiting in each part.

SEE: Your West Coast winter weekend escape - sorted

From a winery in Cape Town’s oldest wine route offering a modern look and tasting experience, to a boutique vineyard in the mountains of Robertson Valley, here’s where you can experience a winter winelands escape.

West Coast – Fryer's Cove

Situated in the place previously known as Thornbay, Fryer’s Cover winery is a new addition to the area that’s popular known for abalone-farming and crayfish exporting.

What makes it unique? This West Coast winery offers a one-of-a-kind tasting experience with it being set on a pier in the small fishing town, and even has a lighthouse marking its location.

ALSO SEE: Fryers Cove, a unique West Coast wine experience

The terroir of this part of the West Coast creates a climate that allows grapes to ripen in a way that influences the unique flavours of wines that are produced. In fact, the rare terroir of Fryer’s Cove earned its Sauvignon Blanc a 5-star rating from Wine Magazine in 2005, making it only the second Sauvignon Blanc to do so in 12 years. 

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SEE: #FindYourEscape: Take a wine detour to the Olifants River

Cape Town – Beau Constantia

Cape Town is home to a prestigious wine region, Constantia Valley, which is celebrating 333 years of winemaking in 2018.

It consists of 9 wine farms which represent centuries-old heritage as well as modern boutique wineries, which all contribute to the region’s unique charm. One of these wineries is Beau Constantia, located at the top of Constantia Nek.

MUST-SEE: #FindYourEscape: Celebrate 333 years of winemaking with Constantia Wine Route

What makes it unique? Unlike most wine tastings that take place in old Dutch- or French-influenced buildings, visitors can sip on wines in the ultra-modern glass wall building which allows spectacular views of False Bay. Click here to go on a virtual tour of the farm.

Paarl – Fairview

Set on a goat farm in Paarl, Fairview winery is the producer of a number of award-winning wines. Enjoy a range of experiences for the whole family while savouring Fairview wines – from visiting the goat tower, to sampling a range of cheeses and breads, dining at the restaurant or treating yourself to a master tatsing.

What makes it unique? Visitors may indulge in a number of cheese and wine pairings boasting a variety of delicious cheeses made at the farm – from pear and berry infused cheeses to the smoothest goats cheese. There’s even a cheese and juice pairing option for kids and those who wish not to consume alcohol, with delicious juices made at the farm.

ALSO SEE: #WinterEscape: Experience the flavours of Paarl

If that’s not enough, the popular Spice Route is right next door offering a one-stop venue for foodies, families and those who appreciate the varying flavours of SA. Visitors are spoilt for choice with a number of restaurants and tasting activities including chocolate, gin, wine, beer and ice cream on offer.

Stellenbosch – Lanzerac Wine Estate

Get pampered at Lanzerac Wine Estate, which from 1 July 2018, is adding health and wellness to the Stellenbosch Wine Route. The Lanzerac Spa has undergone refurbishments to become a relaxation hideaway offering facial therapies, massages and ancient Rasul rituals among other wellness experiences.

What makes it unique? What makes this experience extra special is that products used in most of the treatments are made from grape cultivars, and with estate being home to the world’s very first bottled Pinotage, the AromaVine Pinotage Massage is a must-have spa treatment.

ALSO SEE: Breathe in deep and find your centre in these 15 wellness travel destinations

Sip on a complementary glass of the Lanzerac Heritage Méthod Cap Classique when visiting the spa and feast at the Spa’s Vitality Corner. Guests can also stay at the on-site Lanzerac Hotel. Click here for more information.

Franschhoek – Boschendal

Founded 1685, Boschendal is one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa, giving visitors the chance to explore the estate and sample its wines through a number of tours.

What makes it unique? The centuries-old Manor House has a room offering premium tastings and pairings, and three of its rooms - the Agter Kamer, Exclusive Lounge and Chaise Lounge - can be booked for premium tastings, private functions and meetings.

Wine-lovers can also immerse themselves in the winemaking process with a vineyard tour, visit the maturation cellar with a cellar tour or opt for chocolate parings and even brandy tastings.

ALSO SEE: #InnerCityWineRoute: Tuning the vine the right way this winter

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Robertson Wine Valley - Kleinhhoekkloof

It takes a bumpy, winding drive within the Langeberg Mountain range to get to Kleinhoekkloof - the ‘eye of the mountain’ situated in Robertson Wine Valley. But the journey is well worth it to see this one-of-a-kind wine farm situated alongside indigenous fynbos and mountain streams.

What makes it unique? This award-winning, family owned boutique wine and olive farm boasts delicious shiraz and merlot wines, coupled with a variety of cured meats and preserves made at the farm. Together with the friendly owners and epic views of landscape, this boutique wine farm is certainly one of SA’s best.

SEE: Wine worth travelling for: 6 Wineries setting the boutique benchmark in SA

Overberg – Creation wines

There are many boutique wineries situated in Overberg, particularly Hermanus which is home to the Hemel en Aarde Valley.

ALSO SEE: Your ultimate Overberg road trip guide

Translating  to “Heaven and Earth”, explore this wine route with Hermanus Wine Hoppers which offers a convenient hop-on hop-off  tour that will take you on a wine journey in Overberg, including a stop at Creation Wines where you can enjoy one of many wine and food pairings.

What makes it unique? The tasting and pairing experience is set-up to feel more like an art form rather than dining. A must-try is the Artisanal Story of Creation - a fine dining experience of 6 courses paid with 7 wines, presented by a host who will explain the story behind the food and wine.

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Wine events

There are also some delicious wine events to make the most of this winter. Check it out:

Franschhoek Mystery Weekends

Franschhoek Mystery Weekends are perfect for couples in need of a quality winter escape to enjoy Franschhoek’s finest wines, world-class cuisine and bespoke experiences.

The Franschhoek Mystery Weekend includes two nights’ accommodation, breakfast daily, a surprise event on the Friday night, dinner on the Saturday night, a light lunch on the Sunday, and a selection of bespoke Franschhoek experiences which will only be revealed when you check in.

When: 27-28 July and 24-25 August.

Where: Franschhoek.

Cost and info: Four packages are available, from R5 300 per couple. Click here for more info or contact Carmen Arendse on mysteryweekend@franschhoek.org.za. Book early to avoid disappointment.

SEE: #LoveSA: Escape winter with these events across Western Cape

Slow Food & Wine Festival

The 12th annual Slow Food & Wine Festival is ready to take over the Robertson Wine Valley from 3 – 5 August offering festival-goers an immersive and indulgent foodie experience.

Food and wine enthusiasts will get to savour the flavours of the countryside at their desired leisurely pace. There’s also a Family Market on the Sunday, free of charge for all to visit. Robertson

When: 3 - 5 August.

Where: Robertson Wine Valley.

Cost: Each experience must be booked directly with the host at robertsonslow.com.

SEE: Feast out at the Robertson Valley's Slow Fest + Winter festivals around SA

Pinotage on Tap

Diemersfontein will be bringing the taste of Cape Town wine to Gauteng where you'll be able to drink up endless pinotage on tap and get to rock out to Freshly Ground, who will be playing at all four events around the country.

When: 18 August

Where: Casalinga, Muldersdrift

Cost: R295.

ALSO SEE: #WinterEscape: Chill things to do in Jozi that'll keep the cold away