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, 13 December 2012

2012 Christmas MCC Blind Tasting

This year's Christmas MCC tasting was held at the Cape Town Club on the 13th of December 2012.

We started the night off with Haskell Vineyard's Methode Cap Classique for the arrival drink. This MCC was produced for the owner of the winery (Preston Haskell) and only a limited number of bottles were produced. Everyone appreciated the opportunity to try this Blanc de Blanc MCC and enjoyed it very much. If you are interested in tasting Haskell Vineyard's wines you can visit their winery in Helderberg, Stellenbosch http://haskellvineyards.com/documents/directionstohaskellvineyards.pdf. They are open Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm.

We were priviledged to have the winemaker from Wonderfontein join us for this year's MCC tasting. He was able to tell us about Wonderfontein Estate and how MCC is made.

After trying 12 MCCs throughout the night, we voted to see which MCC's were liked the most. The votes were quite high this year and the majority were enjoyed by most who attended.

The results were:
  1. Pongracz Rose at 26 votes
  2. Neil Joubert Chirstine-Marie at 24 votes
  3. Chabivin Mademoiselle Megane at 23 votes
  4. Viljoensdrift Blanc de Blanc at 22 votes
  5. Plaisir de Merle Grand Brut at 22 votes
  6. Wonderfontein Paul Rene at 21 votes
  7. De Wetshof Brut at 20 votes
  8. Muratie MCC at 20 votes
  9. Pongracz Brut at 19 votes
  10. JC LE Roux Pinot Noir Rose at 16 votes
  11. Cederberg Blanc de Blanc at 12 votes
  12. Graham Beck at 7 votes 

Throughout the night we played a 'steal the present' game. This game is a lot of fun and it is always interesting to see which present is stolen the most. This year 'The Stig' soap from Clicks was the most stolen present. All presents were R30-R40 each making the game slightly more interesting.

I have loaded all the photos from this event on Facebook. My facebook page is called Western Cape Wineries. Be sure to check it out, like the page and keep up to date with all the wine tasting events in 2013.

Crystal Direct was so kind as to sponsor a wine decanter and 6 wine glasses for this event. The person who won the prize was Gerhard Claassens.

If you would like to attend my wine tastings or be added to the mailing list, please email me on westerncapewineries@gmail.com.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Christmas Blind Wine Tasting - Methode Cap Classique

This year I am holding another blind MCC tasting for the Christmas wine tasting event.

This year it is going to be at The Cape Town Club (behind the Mount Nelson Hotel) on Thursday the 13th of December. It starts at 6.30pm and will finish no later than 10pm. There is a prize (a bottle of Methode Cap Classique) for the best dressed on the night.

There will be canapes on arrival and again at half time. These will be made by the chef at The Cape Town Club.

We will be trying ten MCCs in two flights. After we have tried all ten wines we will do a vote to see which MCCs are liked the most and then I will reveal where each wine is from and the price.
During the night we will play the "steal the Christmas present" game. This is a lot of fun and everyone will walk away at the end of the night with a Christmas present.

If you would like to join my wine club and attend this Christmas blind MCC tasting please contact me on westerncapewineries@gmail.com. 

Saturday, 10 November 2012


We went to Ataraxia after Spookfontein. You do not need to make a booking for a wine tasting here. The wine tasting is free.

Ataraxia is a nice winery. The wine tasting room is inside a church. The tasting room is nicely decorated and the service here was very good.

They have three wines here. The Sauvignon Blanc 2012 at R88 a bottle. The Chardonnay 2011 at R190 a bottle and Serenity 2008 at R130 a bottle. As you can see, the wines are a bit pricy.

I really liked the Sauvignon Blanc 2012 as it was lush, smooth, had a nice tropical fruity flavour. It really was nice!! The Chardonnay 2011 had 10 months on oak, had a roasted nut flavour and was smooth. Unfortunately the Serenity did not appeal to our group at all.

This is a nice winery to visit.


Today we visited Spookfontein for a wine tasting. You need to make an appointment to do a wine tasting. It is so worth the visit, so be sure to call ahead and make a date!!

Craig the winemaker did the wine tasting with us in the cellar and it was just great!!

He showed us the egg shaped concrete barrels he uses. He also showed us the crystals he uses in his wine to bring calmness to his wine. It was great to listen to him talk about his beliefs, way of doing things and behind the scene information on how he makes his wine. We learnt a lot from this tasting with Craig.

Not only was the wine tasting interesting but the wine is really good also!! Be sure to try not only the Spookfontein wine but also Craigs wine under the label Elemental Bob. This is really good wine, and we can't wait to stock up on his wine once it is bottled!!

We tried the Spookfontein Phantom which is a Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. This was my favourite of the Spookfontein wine. It has a very nice smell, lovely flavours, not so dry, its smooth, velvety, I like it!! We opened a bottle of this wine on the weekend at a friends place and enjoyed it with dinner and it was very nice!!

The Spookfontein Merlot 2006 was more fruity than the Phantom and it was a little dry. Both these red wines are only R70 a bottle and I think this is a steal!! I am certainly going to stock up before they sell out!!

From the Elemental Bob range we tried the Sauvignon Blanc 2012 which I found had an interesting taste for a Sauvignon Blanc. It was smooth, a little dry, had nice flavours which were very subtle. The Elemental Bob Pinot Blanc 2012 was a new varietal he was experimenting with. It was very smooth, had a very nice fruity flavour and mineral aftertaste. I liked this. The Elemental Bob Pinot Noir 2012 was fresh and nice. The Elemental Bob Shiraz 2012 with 8% Pinot Noir had an interesting smell, lovely flavour, spices on the palate and I just loved it.

We then tried the Spookfontein Merlot 2012 from the barrels, this was very smooth and fresh with a dry aftertaste. It was not so fruity or full of flavour but still very nice.

The last wine we tried was the Spookfontein Port from the tank, this was a NV as he used 2008,2009, 2010 grapes. It is made from Merlot grapes and is very nice.

It was a really awesome experience doing the tasting with Craig. It was great trying both the Spookfontein wine and his own wine under the label Elemental Bob, and it was cool trying wine from the barrel and steel tanks.

The Elemental Bob wine was not bottled yet. We are super keen to stock up on his wine once it is bottled.

Craig was kind enough to let us buy some of his wine from the barrels. What was cool about this is that he let us put the cork in our own bottled wine. So he got out the manual cork presser and we each had a go at putting a cork in the wine we bought. It also added to our wine tasting experience here.

The Spookfontein wines are finished with a wax top. He does each bottle by hand. With this winery being relatively small a lot of things are done manually and with a lot of time and love.

They are still building the tasting room. I like the shape of the building and the views are really nice up there too!!!

At the moment there is roadworks being done on the road and it is very hard to find Spookfontein. I therefore decided to take some photos to help you find this place. As you drive along the road towards Creation you will go through road works. Before you get to the end of these roadworks you will see a building on your right with a red roof. Look for this on your right and then you will see the gate to Spookfontein just after it. The gate has an A4 sign saying Cellar on it. If you get as far as Ataraxia, then you have gone too far.

Do yourself a favour and book a tasting with Craig, I am sure you will appreciate the tasting just as much as we did. This truly is an up and coming winery with great wines!!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

November wine tasting event

This month on Thursday the 15th of November my wine club members will be gathering at the Five Flies in Cape Town for a "Chrissy's favourite wines" tasting event.

Last month a friend asked me to put together a list of wine I recommend he should buy for Christmas. It then gave me the idea that perhaps others in my wine club would also appreciate this list. I therefore decided to hold a wine tasting evening where we could all enjoy trying ten different wine varietals and perhaps stock up on wine before Christmas also. There are some great specials for those who buy wine on the night.

I am not going to tell everyone the wine I have selected yet (that will be revealed on the night), but I can tell you the wine I have picked are my favourites and the ten varietals I have chosen are:

Chenin Blanc
Dessert wine

If you would like to attend this event, please contact me on westerncapewineries@gmail.com.

Tickets are R130 this includes canapes and the wine tasting. The event starts at 6.30pm with canapes and then the wine tasting begins at 7pm. The event usually finishes around 9.30pm.

This month Nick Davies from The Franschhoek Pass Winery (Morena) will be the guest winemaker. He will explain how MCC is made and answer any questions you may have throughout the night.


Be sure not to miss this event. It is a lot of fun, informative, professionally done, yet relaxed.

This event is best suited for those who are beginner/intermediate wine drinkers. I.e. Don't know much about wine but they enjoy drinking it :-)

Saturday, 27 October 2012


We had lunch at Harvest Restaurant at Laborie. We booked a table outside and thoroughly enjoyed our lunch. My friend had been saying really good things about Harvest, so we finally ate there.

The food, service and ambiance was all very good here. It helped that the weather was just perfect also :-)

I had duck, my boyfriend and a friend had chicken with risotto and another friend had a sandwich. We were all so happy with our food. This restaurant has been consistently good each time our friends eat here, so you can safely choose this restaurant when you are in need of a lunch in Paarl!!

My boyfriend and I finished with a nice apple tart dessert.

After lunch, we went for a wine tasting at the Laborie tasting room. We were able to sit outside. The service was very good, which surprised us considering a big group had just walked in when we did. Even with the amount of people tasting wine at the same time, they worked professionally and the service was good.

I did a chocolate and wine pairing (R35), and then did a wine tasting on top of that (R20 for 5 wines). The chocolate and wine pairing is really well done, but the chocolate really changes the flavour of the wine. The first wine (Rose MCC 2009 R92) and chocolate left me with a turkish delight taste. It was so powerful the flavour. The second one (Chardonnay 2011 R50) with the matching chocolate was lemon/zesty flavoured and the third one was perfect in my opinion. It was the Pineau de Laborie which is a potstill fortified Pinotage at R66 a bottle. I really liked this wine, and with the chocolate it was just delicious. I bought two of the Pineau and matching chocolate as Christmas gifts.

My boyfriend did a wine and olive pairing:

Two wines I liked from the tasting were the Jean Taillefert 2010 at R174 a bottle. It has nice body, flavour and it was smooth. The other one I liked was the Shiraz 2011 (R62 a bottle), it was very nice, had good flavour and was rounded.

One thing I want to mention is that the staff here did not provide any information on the wine we tried. We simply chose what we wanted to try, sat down, they then brought our wine out on a tray and we then tried it at our own pace. I did quite like this, but in hindsight, it was a little disappointing that we didnt get an informative tasting. When you are with a group of friends and there for a fun time or a catch up, rather than there to learn about the wine, then it is perfect because you don't get interrupted. I imagine if you want an explaination on the wine, you could simply ask the staff and they would gladly provide you with the information.

I recommend visiting Laborie when in Paarl and be sure to have lunch or dinner at the restaurant Harvest!!


Wow, what an awesome experience we had here! I highly recommend visiting this winery!

I have been in SA for almost two years now, and only now have I visited the winery. I have to say, because it is so well known and commercialised, I thought I was not missing much by not visiting this winery. However, I was so wrong. They truly have earned the reputation they have.

We had the best experience! It really made our day! On arrival we were given a glass of their Methode Cap Classique (MCC) Brut. It was very nice, not too dry, and had good flavour.

The lady who greeted us went through the different options for the tasting, and said it was no problem for us to do the tasting outside.

We found it very difficult to choose because they have so much wine and so many different wine tasting options.

My boyfriend went for the "Mystery" wine and food tasting. He was not told which wine he was trying as he had to guess. That was a lot of fun, the box it comes in makes it a special experience and having to write down what he thinks he is drinking makes it very interactive and fun.

I went for the cheese tasting. It includes four wines matched with four cheeses. Each cheese is broken in to about 4 pieces, which worked out very nicely as I was then able to share the cheese with my friends who were trying the same wine.

On top of the cheese and wine pairing, my friends and I went through a selection of wine to try:
We all LOVED the Riesling 2012 at only R47 a bottle!! It was a real crowd pleaser at our table. I felt it was very flavoursome, fresh, moist, delicious, a little sweet and had hints of apple, pear and pineapple.

I also liked the 5600 Chenin Blanc 2012 (R40 a bottle), it had tropical fruity smell and flavour, it was light and fresh.

The Shiraz 2010 (R66) was also nice, had good body, was smooth and had great flavour.

The Special Late Harvest 2012 (R42 a bottle) was very nice! It was light, sweet and had lovely flavour. The Noble Late Harvest 2011 (R72 a bottle) was very nice and had good body. Out of the two, I preferred the Special Late Harvest (SLH). For those who don't like dessert wines being too sweet and sticky, you should also like the SLH.

The Brew Master Bordeaux Blend 2009 (R105 a bottle) was a little dry and had nice complex flavours. I liked this wine.

The Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (R110 a bottle) was very nice! It had an amazing smell and taste!

Last of all, the Ingenuity White Blend 2011 (R160 a bottle) was really nice. It had an amazing smell, was balanced and had light-medium body.

Other notes on the wine:
The Manor House Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (R100) was not your typical SB, it was creamy, had medium body, was smooth and had interesting flavours. Ancherman Chenin Blanc 2011 was not to my liking.

I HIGHLY recommend you visit this winery if in Paarl. It was a really good wine tasting experience we had here. I can't wait to go back and do the Mystery tasting or hamburger and wine pairing next time. I would have no hesitation taking someone to this winery when visiting the western cape.

If you are looking for a place to have lunch be sure to check out Harvest Restaurant at Laborie!


We visited this winery today because I remembered from Omniberg festival that they had a very nice white Pinotage. I wanted to go back so that my boyfriend could try it and so that I could try it again and buy some if I still liked it.

The drive up to the winery is very nice, you go past the fields with plenty of horses. There were many fouls, so that was very cool to see. At this time of year there are a lot of beautiful purple flowers in the fields, so it is very pretty.

The tasting room is nicely designed with several tables around so that you can sit to do your tasting.

It was everyones first time at this winery (except for mine), there were no other customers there, so we were able to sit down and enjoy our tasting at a relaxed pace. The lady serving us was pleasant and friendly.

We went through the entire list of 8 wines, which costs R20 per person unless you buy wine. We tried the Dekkers Valley Chenin Blanc R40, Mellasat White Pinotage 2011 (R120), Mellasat Chardonnay 2010 (R90), Dekkers Valley Shiraz Rose 2012 (R40), Dekkers Valley Shiraz 2010 (R50), Dekkers Valley Revelation R45, Mellasat M 2005 (R80) and Mellasat "tuin Wyn" R60.

Sadly we were not keen on any of the wine. We found they lacked flavour and several did not have such nice aftertastes. However, the nice thing about the wine is that the majority of them were balanced and smooth.The White Pinotage I tried at the Omniberg festival was a 2010 vintage, so perhaps there is quite a difference between the 2010 and 2011?

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Western Cape Wineries Charity Wine Event

Western Cape Wineries Charity Wine Event at the Two Oceans Aquarium

[Cape Town, South Africa] - On October the 9th, 2012, Christine Andrews from Western Cape Wineries wine club, held a charity wine event at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town to help raise money to buy educational resources for under-privileged children in Makapanstad.

Wine Club members, friends, family and the public were invited to this event where they received a branded wine glass sponsored by Sovereign with a heartfelt wine tag.

Guests could then try wine from thirteen participating wineries including Du Toitskloof, Middlevlei, Beyerskloof, Domaine Des Dieux, Waverley Hills, Groot Constantia, Creation, Overhex, Sumaridge, Muratie, Lord’s, Holden Manz and Bizoe. The wineries were scattered throughout the aquarium allowing the guests to try wine while walking through the aquarium.

To finish the evening off, canapés were served in the predators section where the auction took place to raise money to buy educational resources for the children in Makapanstad.

“There was a lot of support from B&B’s, wineries and other companies this year” said Christine. Vouchers were donated by Brooklands Guesthouse, Burkleigh Guesthouse, Elephant Hide Guest Lodge, Holden Manz Spa, and all the wineries who participated in this event, all donated wine or vouchers for the auction. Middlevlei donated a wine blending experience for 6 people, this went for around R1600.

 “Since I was a little kid I always wanted to help the children in Africa. I would see the sad stories on TV and say to my mum, I want to help these children” said Christine. When Christine moved to South Africa less than two years ago, she quickly became aware of the poverty within the country.  After four successful Western Cape Winery blind wine tasting events held in Cape Town, she decided to hold a charity wine event to help improve the lives of some of the less fortunate people in SA. She said it was difficult to choose who to support. A friend told her about her sister-in-law Julie Hadley, who had started up a company to help her nanny she had as a child support her family in Makapanstad. The company is called the heartfelt project. www.theheartfeltproject.com.

“I decided to support these children when I heard that Julie had helped twelve ladies gain employment through the heartfelt project while sacrificing an income for her own family” said Christine.

She found out that the children in Makapanstad don’t have their own textbooks and not even the teachers have the latest curriculum to teach the children. One day Julie told the story of how she asked a boy in Makapanstad, if you could have one thing, what would it be? The boy said he would want a dictionary.

All the money raised last year at the 2011 charity wine event at the Two Oceans Aquarium was spent on educational resources. Christine searched on gumtree weekly to find second hand textbooks, encyclopedias and dictionaries. After eight months of collecting all the books in and around Cape Town, she had finally bought over 300 textbooks, three dictionaries and three sets of encyclopedias. The school was so grateful for the contribution they had made. 
A computer was also donated. It was decided that Charlene at the Heartfelt Project would get the most value out of the computer, as she is now able to do the marketing for the company, taking some of the load off Julie. With the remaining money raised, Christine decided to set Charlene up with internet, a printer, ink and paper. “It is amazing the difference this computer has made to the people involved in the heartfelt project” said Christine.

This year Western Cape Wineries raised R26,000 from the attendance of 110 people. “We were so happy with the number of people who attended the event this year, the support the wineries gave and the outcome of the auction. We can make such a difference to these children’s education with this money” said Christine.

Christine plans on holding this event yearly to continue her support for the children in Makapanstad and to help the community which Julie is so selflessly helping. If you would like to join Christine’s wine club you can send her a request on westerncapewineries@gmail.com or follow her on Facebook on Western Cape Wineries.