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.

Thursday, 30 June 2011


A friend of mine from New Zealand was here on Sunday so we went on a wine tour. I had wanted to take him to some wineries in Helderberg as the views from some of those wineries are fantastic. As they were shut on Sundays, I decided to take him to some wineries in Stellenbosch, Helshoogte Pass.

We started at Delaire, which was a great choice. The wine tasting room is under renovation, so they are holding the wine tasting down stairs in a very nicely set up room. The table was long, nicely set up for many guests, the lights were at the right setting, there was wine displayed in a cabinet at one end of the room and a fireplace at the other end. Plenty of staff were waiting for the first lot of guests to arrive at 10am, and we ended up with great service from Elsje. She really knew her wine and gave great information on each one.

The style of this place is very modern, flash and it feels welcoming. The scenery outside is amazing, the doors at the front are very interesting, I love the water feature running through the building, the restaurant looks lovely also.

As for the wines, this is my second time coming here for a tasting, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much more I liked the wines this time round. Last time I went to Delaire was in August 2010, so whether the wine has changed that much in one year, or I am more open to SA wines I am not sure. Either way, the wines are lovely and I totally recommend you come here for a tasting!!

I really liked the Sauvignon Blanc coastal Cuvee at R85 a bottle. It was smooth, rounded and had a light fruity taste, very nice! The Delaire SB 2010 was also nice at R79 a bottle. The Chardonnay was buttery and was the favourite amongst us all. For the record, majority of the people in my group at the tasting, do not like Chardonnay's normally, so this was a pleasant find for all. This was R105 a bottle. The Rose 2010 had a nice colour, nice taste and has a slightly dry aftertaste. It sells for R65 a bottle. The Shiraz 2009 was a little spicy, had a smokey taste to it, was a little dry and had a lot of flavour!! This sells for R130 a bottle. The Botmanskop 2008 was the favourite for most of us out of the reds. It was smooth and very tasty, this sold for R130 a bottle.

I highly recommend you visit this winery. It will be great once they have the upstairs tasting room finished, as the views you get while tasting the wine are amazing. It was actually for this reason I wanted to bring my friend here. Having the tasting downstairs we unfortunately missed out on the views however, my friend was highly impressed with the room we did do the tasting in, so it was still a great experience.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Shiraz Blind Wine Tasting Event - 21st of July

Last month's Sauvignon Blanc blind wine tasting event was very successful. I got great feedback from the guests, saying they had a lot of fun trying to guess which wine region each wine was from, some loved the quiz, the prizes, the interactive and informal tasting and many are looking  forward to the next one.

The next wine tasting event is on the 21st of July at the Grand Daddy Hotel. This month we will be tasting ten Shiraz's from ten different wineries.

Rooiburg is kindly sponsoring Woollies Organic Brut for you to drink on arrival.There will also be a light meal on arrival so if you come straight from work, you wont go hungry. Laborie is kindly sponsoring Pineau (Port style wine) for us to try at the end of the evening, which will be a nice way to finish off the evening!!

The event starts at 6.30pm and finishes at 9pm, so don't worry, you wont be too tired to go to work the next day :-)As this is a tasting, you will also not have to worry about having a hangover the next day.

This is a fun, interactive, and informal way to try wines. You will not know where the wine comes from until you have tried all ten. At the end of the evening I will inform you as to where the wine is from, how much it is and I will show you photos of the winery and share my experience of a wine tasting at the winery. This event is not just about the wines, but also the wine tasting experience at the winery.

Be sure to come along and check this fun event out.

Please make payments in to the following bank account with your name as the reference by the 15th of July:
Capitec Bank
Christine Andrews
Branch: 470010
Account: 1256395720

The person who pays first and the person who pays tenth will be given a prize on the evening. Note only 50 people can attend this evening, so be sure to get in quick.After making payment please send me an email with proof of payment and I shall reply to confirm your seat on the night.

Look forward to seeing you there.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Constantia Uitsig

I went to Constantia Uitsig for a tasting a few weeks back and the experience was great!! I felt very welcome from the moment we walked in. We were seated at a nice long wooden table. There was a very big group at the other table, which made the room very exciting and fun.

The service was fantastic. I asked for a price list so I could make comments beside each wine, and as they didn't have any printed, they immediately went and photocopied one of the laminated ones. I was very impressed to see how quickly it was done.

So we started the tasting with the Methode Cap Classique (R245). I had tried this at the top 100 SA wine public tasting night and it was by far the best one on the night. Trying it again at the winery, I was convinced that this is by far the best MCC I have tasted yet!!! The next time I am celebrating something special, I will most definitely be celebrating with Constantia Uitsig's MCC!!!

We then had the Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (R90). This was also VERY nice. It had a really strong passionfruit smell to it, very similar to New Zealand's SB's. It not only smelt nice but it tasted fantastic!! It was smooth yet crisp, and had a very nice clean, crisp, tropical fruit flavour. It is very similar to a NZ SB, I just loved it!!!

Next we tried the Chardonnay Unwooded 2010 (R85), I also liked this wine. I have noticed I am starting to like Chardonnay's more and more these days. This Chardonnay was rounded, smooth, creamy, just gorgeous.

The last one I really liked was the Muscat d' Alexandrie (R285). This is a dessert wine, made from red honepoot grapes. It was soft, sweet, and yet refreshing. It had a light pink colour to it, it was really nice.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my wine tasting experience here and would highly recommend that you visit this winery. I see they have a restaurant there also, so hope to go back and try their food some time.

I am going back to NZ this year to see my family and I will definitely be taking a bottle of the MCC and SB for them to try. I can prove to them that SA does have fantastic wines!!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Wacky Wine Weekend 2011

Well, I have now been to my first Robertson Wacky Wine Weekend and it was pretty good and I am glad that I went!!!

We started at Rooiburg where there were quite a lot of people trying the wines, but with people taking a tasting and moving to the back of the queue before getting their next tasting, it worked out very nicely. The wine was great here. I liked the SB, the dry Rose, semi sweet rose, and the red muscadel. All were very reasonably priced!!!
After this winery we went to Graham Beck. This was one of my favourites of the day. ALL their wine was available to taste on the day, it was great!! The marque/tent they had set up was nicely fitted with bar tables, normal dining tables, and couches. There was food for sale, wine at very reasonable prices and the live music changed every hour, it was fab!!!

Next we went to Springfield. The view of the dam/lake is stunning!!! The winery itself is also very nice!! I really look forward to going again on a day when its sunny and we can enjoy sitting outside drinking wine with views like this:
In general, the wine here was ok. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the Life from Stone Sauvignon Blanc. The views from the tasting room are gorgeous, and the winery itself, is very nice.
After Springfield, we went to De Wetshof. This was a good choice because there were not many people there, yet the atmosphere was nice, the wine was good and the food selection was very nice!!

We then made our way to Van Loveran. This was also a favourite for the day!! The wines in general are ok, but three caught my attention. I liked the SB, the red muscadel and the African Java Pinotage.

I loved the tropical feeling you get when walking through the trees, and I loved the band they had playing at the time we got there. I loved the fact you could see the vineyards from the marque/tent. It was a great vibe there!!

Next we went to Viljoensdrift. We got there after 5pm so missed the chance for a tasting.
However, with the time of day, the sun was setting very nicely which left us with this amazing view of the river beside Viljeonsdrift!!
We then headed to Arabella for the evening event. The rugby was on, the place was crowded. Wine was nice!! Had a bottle of the SB and the Shiraz, both were great!!! The music was good and there was a place to dance also. Shame that the weather was not so great on the day, as it made the place a lot more crowded under the tent and also made for muddy ground. But, it was all worth it :-)
On the Sunday of the Wacky Wines Weekend we went and visited several more wineries. It was definitely a lot quieter on the Sunday. We first went to Rietvallei:

This is a beautiful winery and was set up so nicely for the weekend. I did not find the wine so great here, and I tried them all, in case one would stand out. But unfortunately none of them did.

We went on to Excelsior next. The wines were very nice, it was cool that they allowed guests to blend their own wines, and the setting here is also very nice.

There were stalls here, selling cheese, samosa, sushi etc. We all enjoyed the samosas here, and LOVED the cheese that was sold at one of the stalls. I bought 1 gouda and 1 italian mix herb cheese, it was SOOO good!! I can't wait to have the chance to buy that cheese again.

Next we went to Zandvliet. The views on the way there were nice and rustic.
This winery was interestingly set up for the wine tasting. The wine was split amongst the stables. I am not sure if it is always like this or only for wacky wines, but I thought it was a good idea. The wine here was quite nice, but again, nothing jumped out at me that made me want to buy any.

Last but not least, we finished at Rusticus. We went there because we were looking for something to eat and have our last tasting. 
It turned out that the guy who was pouring the wine at Rusticus was the same guy (Douglas) who served me at Steenberg, so I was pleasantly surprised, as its always great to have someone who knows their wine!! The food was ok, but the wines were very nice. I especially liked the Odyssey.
Oh, we also went back to Rooiburg on our way back home to pick up some more wine and try more of the wines which we didn't get to try the day before :-) I am a fan of the Rooiburg wines, great value for money!!!

So all in all, it was a very nice weekend and I look forward to next years Wacky Wine Weekend :-)

Monday, 13 June 2011

Blind Wine Tasting Event - 21st of June - Bringing the wineries to you!!

I am excited to annouce that I am going to be holding a blind wine tasting event on the 21st of June at the Grand Daddy Hotel in Cape Town 6.30 - 8.30pm.

You will be given a total of 10 different Sauvignon Blancs from ten different wineries to try.

Canapes, Constantia Uitsig Methode Cap Classique and Domaine Des Diuex Methode Cap Classique will be provided on arrival.

This is an informal wine event for you and your friends to find out which wines are out there, be exposed to wines you haven't tried before and experience wines without having to visit each winery. It is not an educational wine event. Instead it is designed to be a fun, easy going, relaxed and informal way to find out which wines you like. You don't need to know what aromas you should smell, what flavours you should taste,  or how long the wine has been barelled in french or american barrells etc. All you need to know is if you like the wine or if you don't. It's that simple :-)

You will not know what wine you are trying, as this will allow you to try the wines without bias and prejudice.

At the end of the evening I will let you know where the wines are from and how much they sell for. You will also be given the chance to order the wines that you like on the night so you can enjoy it for many more evenings.

This event is all about bringing the wineries to you. I want to share with you some of the amazing wineries out there and expose you to some amazing wines within the comfort of the Grandy Daddy Hotel.

Tickets are R120 per person. This includes tasting 10 different Sauvignon Blancs, Methode Cap Classique and canapes to hit the spot.

If you have any questions please email me on westerncapewineries@gmail.com. To secure tickets, please make payment in to the following bank account by the 16th of June:

Christine Andrews
Capitec Bank
Branch #: 470010
Account #: 1256395720

If you could put your name in the reference section that would be best. Then send proof of payment to westerncapewineries@gmail.com. I will then reply with confirmation that payment has been received and that you have secured a seat for this event :-) Tickets are limited, there are only 50 seats available. There are still some left, so be sure to get your payment in by the 16th of June.

Look forward to seeing you there!!!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

La Motte - Franschhoek

I love this winery.

The drive from Cape Town to this winery set the mood so well with all the beautiful vineyards and tree leaves changing colour, was absolutely stunning. This is definitely my most favourite time of year (so far) to visit the wineries here in the western cape. 
La Motte has a feeling of superiority as you drive up to the security gate, drive up towards the statue with the mountains in the background, then left towards the buildings which hold the museum, restaurant and tasting room. This place is "wow"!!
The doors you walk through are nice, the courtyard with the museum to your left, the restaurant in front of you with its many glass windows and beautiful sails outside, and to the right is a gorgeous stream which you walk over to enter the tasting room. This is a beautiful place!!!

The tasting room I thought was quite tasteful. I saw on spitorswallow website that some thought it was clinical. I understand where they are coming from, but I personally didn't think it felt that way. The service was great as soon as we walked in. The ciabatta they serve on your tray with your first two wines is just great, I liked this.
The wine barrels you can see through the glass doors and the tanks of wine through several other glass windows make you feel part of the whole wine process. 
We sat near the fireplace (not that it was on, as it was not cold enough) with the nice tapestry hanging above it, and the books with Pierneef's art work (which you can see some of in the museum) were sitting on the table to look over.

The service we received was great, the guy was young, very friendly, knew what to say, though it did sound like it was a recorded speech (must get like that I suppose).

The wines were fabulous!!! You get to try seven wines for the R30 tasting charge. We liked the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cab Sauv, Millenium,  and loved the Pierneef Shiraz Viognier (R189). If I had the money, I would have no problem spending the money on the latter, it was very much worth it.If you buy a bottle of wine the tasting fee is waivered, so we bought a bottle of the SB at only R60, made sense :-)

After the tasting, we walked through the room with all the wooden barrels and then had a peek in the tank room.

We then made our way to the museum and read up about the previous owners of the winery, the history of the winery, Anton Rupert's family plus more. It's all quite interesting. Then as you walk through you get to see some art work and in the final room is the artwork of Pierneef. Be sure to read up on this in the books in the tasting room and you will appreciate some of his work a bit more in the museum. For example his lino artwork.

We had hoped to have lunch at the restaurant, but it was booked out. If you plan to come here, be sure to book in advance for the restaurant. The menu looks fab, the restaurant looks professional and modern, and who could beat the views from the windows of this restaurant, I am definitely going back!!!

I would almost say that if you could only visit one winery while in Cape Town/Western Cape, be sure to make this it!! Enjoy :-)