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, 9 November 2011


I went to Asara on my way to a meeting Wednesday morning. As I drove up to the tasting room there were some lovely views to take in.

The estate is stunning, the accommodation looks very nice, the restaurant looks flash and the design of the place is really cool. Below is a photo of the deli/cafe they have also on the premises. Its quite cute this courtyard area, and kind of feels like you have stepped into Disneyland. It feels magical. They have the sign posts showing where the Asara bar is, the accommodation, the deli, the restaurant etc.

As I needed something to eat, I went downstairs to the tasting room where I could enjoy some tapas while doing a tasting. The view from the tasting room is very scenic, and on a nice day will be a great place to do a tasting!!

I was given the list of wines, and was told I could choose 3 wines for R20 or 5 wines for R30. I ticked the ones I wanted to try, the lady then came back with the five wines I chose and she left me to it. I have never done a tasting this way, and found it so strange to not get any information on the wine.

When my mum tells people in NZ about the wine tasting experience she had in SA she says that you get a list of the wines, tick the ones you want and then you are left to try them. I thought how strange it was that her experience was like that, as I had not done a tasting like that up until the point when I went to Asara. Do I think its a bad way of doing a tasting, definitely not. If you are with a group of friends and just want to soak up the view with some wine, then this is a great way to do it. If you don't care too much about how a wine is made, the characteristics of it etc, then it also is a fabulous way to do a tasting.

After I had almost finished, I asked a guy working there for information about a few of the wines. He was very informative and allowed me to try two other wines he felt were also worth trying.

As it was 10am in the morning, I stuck to the white wines. I tried the Ivory Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (R45), this was a nice light wine, though I thought this had an unusual yet interesting flavour to it. I tried the Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (R55) which had a nice smell, lovely flavour and was also light. The Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (R60) was very nice!! It was elegant, light, and had amazing body and structure. It had a nice fruity flavour and strong lingering aftertaste. The unwooded Chardonnay had a very interesting flavour to it, and a strong sharp lingering aftertaste. The Chardonnay Reserve - limited release - 2010 (R125) was very nice, it had a slight toasty and buttery taste and great body!! The Rose (Shiraz/Gamay Noir/Pinotage) had a beautiful, sweet smell, however I felt it lacked flavour. Last of all I tried the Spirit of Chenin 2008 dessert wine (R80), this was a little spicy, had huge flavour, was not syrupy like some dessert wines, it was very nice.

The food I had was really good. I highly recommend ordering the baby calamari salad!!! It was seasoned and cooked just beautifully!! The lamb bobotie spring rolls were also very nice.

When I went to pay for the tasting, I found out that they usually don't waive the tasting fee unless you spend more than R300. They also give you the bill where you can add a tip. I am not sure if that was only because I ate there, or if they do that for wine tastings also. But because the wine was not poured one by one with information on each wine, I didn't feel like there was any service to pay for. I had forgotten at the time, that I had eaten and that I should have given a tip for that.

Even though it may come across as though I have some complaints on the service and the way a tasting is done here, I felt it was a really nice place and definitely worth the visit!! If you come to this place for a tasting knowing that this is how a tasting is done, you shouldn't be disappointed about anything :-) They have great wine and a lovely setting, be sure to put this winery on your list.

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