It is no secret that South Africa is home to some of the best wineries in the world, and a top destination for wine-loving travellers from every corner of our planet, but the prospect of planning a wine tour in the Cape might be daunting since there’s just so much to choose from. The good news is, there are plenty of wine tours available that are already mapped out for you, but if being part of a tour group isn’t really what you’re after, then we’ve got you covered! In just a quick 6-minute read, learn more about the absolute essential wine-stops and winelands activities to upgrade your car hire Cape Town experience on your next visit to the Mother City.
Choosing the Right Wine Tour for You
There are a few things to keep in mind when planning a tour of the Cape Winelands, it can seem overwhelming since there are so many farms and cellars to choose from. There’s no need to worry, the good thing about the Cape Winelands is that no matter what farm or tour you choose, you’re bound to taste excellent wine and leave having learned something new or, if you’re an amateur wine-enthusiast, having gained a new appreciation for the art of wine making! We’ve compiled a concise list of factors to Factors to keep in mind when taking part in a wine tour – whether you’re touring in your car hire Cape Town rental or with a group -, as well as a few well-rounded trips for those wanting to join an already-planned tour:
− The One Hour Rule: If you already know which farm of cellar you would like to visit, we’d recommend sticking to the ‘one-hour-rule’ (as a minimum). At each farm or cellar you visit, allow for at least one hour in your planning to account for a guided tasting or perhaps a cellar tour, any less than an hour and you might not be able to have a meaningful experience or you might feel too rushed. Also, be sure to show up no later than one hour before a cellar’s closing time to be sure that you get the most out of your tasting experience.
− Make Time for Lunch: One of the most important, yet often most forgotten things when enjoying a boozy wine tour is the importance of lunch. Be sure to arrive for a lunch reservation or walk in between 12h30 and 13h30 as most wine-farm restaurants stop serving lunch after 15h00. Making time for lunch is important when on a wine tour in order to sustain yourself and keep you feeling relatively-sober, wine on an empty stomach is never a good idea.
− Full Day Tour of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek: This 8.5-hour tour is the perfect option for those who don’t have the time to plan a tour of their own but still want to experience the best of what the Cape Winelands has to offer. Leave your car hire Cape Town rental at your hotel and be whisked away on a full day of wine and cheese tasting! This tour is offered in English, French and German, making it the ideal selection for foreigners. Find out more about this specific tour at: https://www.getyourguide.com/activity/cape-town-l103/full-day-private-wine-route-tour-t12456?utm_force=0
− Half a Day in Stellenbosch: Many would argue that the charming town of Stellenbosch is the heart and soul of the South African wine industry, and for good reason! On this 4-hour half-day tour, experience wine and biltong pairings, cheese tastings as well as an opportunity to learn more about the fascinating history of one of South Africa’s oldest towns! Learn more about this tour at: https://www.getyourguide.com/activity/cape-town-l103/south-african-winelands-half-day-tour-and-tasting-t12508?utm_force=0
− The Constantia Half Day Tour: This is the ideal half-day tour if you want to stay close to the city whilst experiencing the wines of the Western Cape. This is marketed at the perfect tour for ‘first-timers’ or visitors just wanting a taste of some of the best wine in the western hemisphere. In just 5-hours, with transportation and lunch included, explore two stunning wine estates with breath-taking views of the peninsula! Read more about this specific tour at: https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g312659-d12074326-Premium_Half_Day_Constantia_Wine_Tour_from_Cape_Town-Cape_Town_Central_Western_Cap.html
Cape Town: Durbanville and Constantia
If you are staying in the city and are looking for a few of the best wine farms, estates and cellars to visit during your time in the Cape, then look no further because we’ve compiled a list of the best wineries in the immediate vicinity – Just a short drive in your car hire Cape Town rental – that are worth checking out. These are estates that would make for the ideal stops on your very own car hire Cape Town wine-tour, where you can come and go as you please. Below you’ll find recommendations for the best wineries and their accompanying restaurants to check out on your self-planned wine tour:
− Groot Constantia: Known as the oldest wine producing estate in the whole of South Africa, there is no question as to why it’s on the top of our list. Groot Constantia is just over 200 years old, and every owner of the farm and their subsequent wine makers have made waves in the wine-making industry. Offering delightful walking tours of the estate, and peaceful picnics on their lawn, this is a great option if you want to spend the afternoon lazing about and sipping on a glass of Groot Constantia’s famous Chardonnay. Groot Constantia is also home to the famous Simons Restaurant, a gorgeous casual and home-style lunch-stop to accompany your tour of the cellar. Learn more about this farm at: https://grootconstantia.co.za/
− Durbanville Hills: Being one of the younger wineries in the Cape, Durbanville Hills often gets overlooked but this farm is well worth a visit. It was established in the 1990’s by a group of nine grape farmers, they have since become eleven, and their wines have quickly gained the attention and adoration of several international wine associations. They produce some of South Africa’s most-exported wines, and run an environmentally-conscious business model! The Durbanville Hills farm also boasts the beautiful The Tangram restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, its your go-to eatery in the Durbanville wine-route. Book your tour of Durbanville Hills at: https://www.durbanvillehills.co.za/
− Diemersdal: In the heart of the Durbanville wine-streak lies Diemersdal, one of the most famous South-African produced wines. The Louw family has owned and managed the farm for the last six generations and made Diemersdal the exceptional winery it is today. Along with its wines, Diemersdal is also famous for its legendary The Farm Eatery Restaurant situated on the farm, following the ethos of using home-grown and organic ingredients to produce high quality, gorgeous meals. A wine tasting followed by a fabulous meal at The Farm Eatery would make for the perfect, well-rounded wine-tour experience. Find out more by visiting: https://diemersdal.co.za/
Stellenbosch and Paarl
There’s a reason why Stellenbosch is known as the heart of the South African wine-industry, and it’s because of the stunning award-winning and internationally acclaimed wines that come from the region. What most don’t know is Stellenbosch’s neighbouring town, Paarl, is the hidden gem of the Cape Winelands. Stellenbosch, home to the signature cultivar of Pinotage, has a rich history of European settlers introducing the art of wine-making to South Africa, making the Stellenbosch-Paarl region an essential stop on any wine-lover’s agenda:
− Babylonstoren: Babylonstoren is situated on the fringe of Paarl and the Franschhoek Valley, it is one of the oldest Cape-Dutch farms – dating back to 1692 – and along with wine tastings they offer cellar and olive press tours! Babylonstoren is equally if not more known for its restaurants than its wines, the farm offers interactive cooking and gardening workshops and is home to a gorgeous orchard (which we urge you to have a wander through) in which they grow all their fruits and veggies. To book a tour or learn more about Babylonstoren visit: https://babylonstoren.com/
− Spier Wine Estate: The Spier winery is the main attraction, but the estate is the kind of place you could spend the whole day exploring. Spier offers Segway tours of their vineyard, chocolate and wine pairings, and artisan craft market and of course a stunning café! After a tasting, Spier’s grounds is the perfect place to have a lazy afternoon picnic or lunch at the café while admiring the historic Dutch0style architecture of the buildings which have been restored since the establishment of the winery in 1692. To book a tour or read more about Spier, visit: https://www.spier.co.za/
− Delaire Graff: Situated on the stunning Helshoogte (Hell’s-Heights) Pass, Delaire Graff makes for the perfect destination to really test out the ability of your car hire Cape Town rental. You are enveloped by the gorgeous atmosphere of the farm before even getting out of your car Hire Cape town rental, the long drive weaving through the vines speaks for itself. Not to mention that the farm is home to one of the best restaurants in the country, the Indochine restaurant is the full-package when it comes to fine-dining with a view! Their wine tasting is affordable for all budgets and their dining is the epitome of luxury. To make a booking or learn more about Delaire Graff, visit: https://www.delaire.co.za/
Franschhoek is known as the more grandeur and heritage-filled wine region in the Cape. The Franschhoek Valley if one of grace and beauty, it is a must-see for any visitor regardless of being a wine-lover or not! It is almost impossible to narrow our selection of the best farms in the French-settled town down to just three, but below you’ll find some of the best that the Valley has to offer along with their accompanying award-winning restaurants:
− Boschendal: Situated only about an hour’s drive in your car hire Cape Town rental out of the city, Boschendal is specifically known for being the second oldest winery in South Africa, being founded in 1685, as well as its impeccable white wines such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Boschendal is also home to The Werf Restaurant, recently voted as one of the Top 30 restaurants in the country, The Werf is known to epitomise plaas (farm) chic. If you love delectable wine and food pairings and “innovative country-style dishes” then Boschendal is the farm for you. To make a booking or read more about Boschendal go to: https://www.boschendal.com/
− La Motte: International visitors, especially if they’re wine lovers, might’ve heard the name La Motte before. La Motte has always been associated with fantastic wines as well as a stunning selection of Vinoteque wines. Pierneef à La Motte is also rated as one of the best restaurants in the Western Cape, from its eye-catching Delft-style porcelain chandeliers to its open-kitchen, La Motte is the essence of a fine dining and luxury experience. To book a tour or make a reservation, visit: https://www.la-motte.com/
− Mullineux and Leeu Family Wine Estates: This wine-making partnership between husband and wife wine-maker duo and a businessman has produced some of the most luxurious and rich-palette wines in South Africa. Their tastings and tours are on the pricier side but they come highly recommended – you’re guaranteed to get a bang for your buck! The drive to this farm in your car hire Cape Town rental is already enough reason to visit but their restaurant, The Dining Room, will give you no excuse to not give this place a visit! In the farm’s immaculately restored Manor house, The Dining Room is known for their delightful daily Afternoon Tea. To make a booking (Which is essential), visit: https://mlfwines.com/
AroundAboutCars: Your Go-To Car Hire Cape Town Agency for Wine-Touring
AroundAboutCars offers an extensive range of cars suited to all your wine-touring needs, with a broad selection of luxury, practical, budget-friendly and adventure-ready cars, you’ll find the perfect fit for your next wine-tour endeavour. With any wine tour, it is important to prioritise and keep in mind the importance of a designated sober driver. Wine-touring is one of the greatest attractions of South African tourism, making the South African traffic police extra cautious of drivers under the influence.
When partaking in wine tours or farm-hopping with a car hire Cape Town vehicle, it is advised that one party refrain from drinking or that you stay at one of the numerous beautiful guesthouses, hotels or Manor Houses situated on whichever wine farm you choose to visit! Your car hire Cape Town experience is guaranteed to be improved by following this handy guide, renting with AroundAboutCars.