Time Only to Try One Wine Estate – Which One Should It Be?

“We asked our team to recommend to our customers just one wine estate to visit whilst they were here. Which one would it be and why? ”

“We asked our team to recommend to our customers just one wine estate to visit whilst they were here. Which one would it be and why? ”

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We know that our many visitors to Cape Town want to taste some of our great wines during their visit, but with so many other attractions to fit in and so many different wine estates to try there is often little time to really get to grips with the regions finest. I asked our team internally if they could recommend to our customers just one wine estate to visit whilst they were here, which one would it be and why. Constantly changing, if you ask us next month you might get a new list but for now here is what they said.


Every time friends suggest we go wine tasting the first place that springs to mind is Warwick Wine Estate near Stellenbosch. Other than the amazing wine – I really love the history behind the estate and its diversity. As well as the excellent wine, the estate offers gourmet picnics created by renowned Chef Bruce Robertson and has introduced their “Big Five” wine safaris. I am a big fan of the fruity Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc in summer as well as The First Lady a smooth red – aptly honoring Norma Ratcliff the matriarch of this legendary wine making family. In winter I really look forward to the full bodied Cabernet Franc and of course the Warwick Trilogy their famous red blend.


Haute Cabriere in Franschhoek is my favourite, it is historic, has beautiful views over the Franschhoek valley and being a lover of sparkling wine, they make a great bubbly. The wine cellar is dug deep into the mountain side and hosts a fine dining restaurant amongst the wine barrels, which makes a great location in which to combine a tasting with a romantic candlelit dinner.


For convenience and accessibility it just has to be the Constantia Valley which is just 20 minutes from Cape Town. From seven really great wine estates in this area, my favourite at the moment is Groot Constantia. The affluent valley itself just oozes examples of the Cape’s historic and colonial past and is a beautiful location in its own right Groot Constantia is at the heart of the valleys wine making history. The impressive Manor House and museum are well worth checking out and lunch at Jonkershuis Restaurant in summer on the terrace is a must do. You can also walk for hours through the vineyards and it’s also a good place for kids. Of the wines the Gouverneurs Reserve red blend is excellent and the Sauvignon Blanc is not far behind. Overall Groot Constantia is not just about the wine, but a look into Cape Town’s history and a sense of the good life.


I also think the Constantia valley is really easy for visitors who want to taste some of our wine but have limited time and my suggestion is Steenberg Estate at the end of the valley. For those who like doing things in style, Steenberg not only has excellent wines, like the Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc/Semilion blend, but the winery is surrounded by a five star golf course, hotel and spa plus the award winning Caterina’s restaurant. The tasting room has recently been revamped and is now housed in a stunning modernistic building alongside the new bistro 1682 which is great for breakfast or early evening tapas. Very exclusive and stylish!


My favourite winery for an all round great tasting is Waterford Wine Estate, just outside Stellenbosch. Tucked away up a dirt road, it is in a beautiful tranquil location and as you enter the estate through an orchard of citrus trees, the architecture and layout has a real Tuscan feel. Kevin Arnold the winemaker makes some of South Africa’s very best wines; try the Cabernet Sauvignon and his signature Shiraz along with the chardonnay and the Heatherleigh desert wine

The best part about the tasting though is the opportunity pair it with a chocolate tasting and the combination of chocolate with rock salt and the Shiraz is delicious. If you have time book a wine tasting safari where the wine maker takes you personally on a two hour tour of the vineyards. On board an open topped Landrover, it’s a real exploration into the art of winemaking and takes in some beautiful scenery.


It has to be Cape Point Vineyards close to the beach in Noordhoek only 30 minutes drive south of Cape Town. Not only do they make great white wine (try their Isliedh and Sauvignon Blanc), but it is easy to include a tasting here whilst exploring the beautiful Chapman’s Peak drive and you can pass it on the popular route to the Cape of Good Hope.


I love the Raka Winery outside Stanford – whilst it is two hours from Cape Town it is worth the drive just to try their 2007 Biography Shiraz. I also love combining a visit to the winery with a chance to have lunch at Mariana’s kitchen in the village and a spot of whale watching in nearby Hermanus. If I have enough of the Shiraz next time, I might also have enough courage to go shark cage diving at Gans Baai just down the road.


My favourite changes every month as I explore more and more of our fabulous wine region but right now it is the Camberley wine farm situated on the Helgshoogte pass between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. No restaurants or other attractions here, this is a small family farm that lovingingly makes serious and quality red wine. Try their Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage and Shiraz. But if you are looking for a real surprise try the innovative Shiraz bubbly it is simply fantastic.  A great stop off point for anyone exploring Stellenbosch or Franchhoek, the scenery in the valley is breathtaking and why not combine a visit with lunch at exclusive the Delaire Graff estate just up the road.

Do you have a favourite wine farm that hasn’t been mentioned above? Let us know and why!