Welcome to the Western Cape Wineries - a kiwi's opinion blog

I originally set up this blog to help foreigners have an enjoyable experience when visiting the western cape wineries in South Africa.

I realised that it is very difficult for a tourist to choose where to go and which wineries to visit, when you have 600+ wine producers to choose from.

When I first moved to SA December 2010, my palate struggled to adjust to SA wine, b
ut after living here for a while and after visiting over 100+ wine estates, I have found many wines which I really like and can highly recommend.

Admittingly, when you come from another country it is hard not to compare the wine in SA to what you are used to back home. However, once you realise they are not the same (they have their own characteristics due to the different soil, climate etc) and appreciate their wines for being SA wines, it will improve your opinion and experience of the wines immediately.

If you are staying in SA for a while, don't dispair, your palate will change, and you will soon find yourself liking SA wine over your home countries wine!!

I hope my blog will help wine lovers have an enjoyable wine experience while in SA.

Please note: I am not a wine connoisseur. The comments I write about the wine is mostly for my own benefit of having them on record.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Hamilton Russell - Walker Bay wine region

Hamilton Russell is a sweet place with its nice setting and cute traditional style cottage house.

The attitude of the lady serving us was not great, she didn't make us feel welcome and didn't have the energy to tell us anything about the wine.

On arrival my friend asked what wines are available to try and the lady said "they are there on the table".

There are only two wines to try, one white and one red. Both were ok, but nothing special. Even if we did like the wines, the impact the lady's attitude had on our experience, was enough not to buy anything anyway.

The tasting is free, the setting nice, but I think you can skip this winery if time is limited. It is otherwise a nice place to sit, relax and drink two wines. There are a few tables and chairs outside which you can sit at and the lady will bring the wines to you. You can then soak up the nice views.


  1. Yip - this lady surely spoiled it for me..
    But the venue made up for the bad manners.

  2. I just recently sent an email to Hamilton Russell to inform them of the disappointing visit. I have since received a reply. Apparently the full time tasting room manager takes every 2nd weekend off. Therefore a casual staff member comes in on those weekends. The full time tasting room manager grew up on the farm and knows a lot about the wine and farm. Knowing this, I am going to make it my mission to get back to this winery, and call ahead to check the full time manager is on the next weekend I go. I am hoping my opinon on the winery will be better the 2nd time.

  3. I must inform you that maybe both of you had an unfortunate bad tasting experience. I visit the overberg area a lot as a visitor and this farm wine is divine. Fuerthermore usually the staff is very experienced and friendly. Their chardonnay is definitely in the top 10. Thus the high platter rating every year

  4. I am very excited, as I am finally getting the chance to go back to this winery this weekend for another tasting. I have checked with the winery, the full time manager will be working this weekend, so I am expecting a much better experience. I will post a comment next week to let you know how the wine tasting went.

  5. I am currently in South Africa. Just visited Hamilton Russell and experienced the same surly person. The wines are sub-par, but then I come from a great Pinot Noir producing region. We found better wines at Bouchard-Finlayson and had a better experience there.

  6. Hi Nubian, thanks for your comment. May I ask where you are from?

    1. I live in Oregon, but was born and raised in Somerset West. Have lived in the States for 22 years.

  7. For those that are considering visiting Hamilton Russell, please see my review from my second visit, as it was a completely different experience, 100 x better!! You can see my other review on http://westerncapewineries.blogspot.com/2011/09/hamilton-russell-take-2.html
    Sadly, it seems that the lady serving has her on and off days, but so long as you visit this place knowing that you may or may not get good service, and just go to appreciate the views and try expensive high class wine for free, then your experience will hopefully be better.
    It's interesting that Nubian had a better experience at Bouchard Finlayson because I had a very bad experience there and really didn't like the wine. I will however go back there also to give the service a second chance.
    Happy drinking everyone :-)