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.

Saturday, 31 March 2012


Today my boyfriend and I went to Joostenberg for a picnic lunch with friends. After that, we decided to visit Hazendal for a wine tasting.

The service at this winery was very good. The male serving us was very informative, polite and friendly.

The De Haas Range is their lifestyle range. They have the De Haas White, Red and Rose. All three were very nice, easy drinking wines. The red was light and had a lovely fruity flavour and the Rose I felt was perfect for a braai wine. Then again, I am always a fan of roses at a braai :-)

I would have to say my favourite white wine we tried was the Hazendal Chenin Blanc wood matured 2007 at R45 a bottle. I thought it was rounded and very nice to drink. The Hazendal SB 2010 (R47) was nicely balanced and had a subtle tropical fruity flavour. We also tried three red wines: the Merlot 2007 (R60), Reserve Red 2008 (R50) and the Shiraz 2008 (R64). All three of these red wines were lovely!

I would put this winery on your list if you are out this way. The wine was nice, the service was good and the experience was a complete thumbs up.

Wine tastings cost R10 for a tasting of 5 wines here.

Oh, and they were setting up for a wedding at the time we were there, they charge around R7500 for hiring the venue for a wedding reception and R1500 if you have your ceremony outside on the premises.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Grande Provence

We visited this winery to meet friends for lunch. While waiting for our friends to arrive, we did a wine tasting. The wine tasting room was quite full when we got there, and only one person was serving, but she did a good job. There was a great vibe in this tasting room.

It costs R30 to taste 4 wines and R50 to taste 6 wines. You are served bread and olive tapenade when you sit down for a tasting. I thought this was a nice touch.

We tried the Sauvignon Blanc 2011 at R99 a bottle. This was delicious, it has lovely tropical fruity flavours, with very fresh lime flavours coming through on the palate, which lingered nicely afterwards. The Chardonnay 2010 at R170 a bottle had a nice buttery texture, was balanced, had a nice smell and had pear tones. I also thought this wine was nice. The Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 was R140 a bottle. It had slight spicy tones, good body (medium body) and nice flavour. I also liked this wine. The Shiraz 2008 at R140 a bottle had cherry, dark chocolate and berry tastes. The Pinot Noir 2010 at R190 a bottle had a very berry taste to it, was medium bodied, which I found a lot heavier compared to most Pinot Noirs. Last of all we tried the Grande Provence 2007 at R350 a bottle. It was full bodied, had great flavour, with hints of licorice, deep plum/berry flavours. I loved it!!!

I would definitely recommend doing a wine tasting here. It was a great experience.

We had lunch at this winery after the tasting. It was a beautiful day, so we sat outside and enjoyed a three course meal. This restaurant only does a three course menu. They do not have a A La Carte menu.

It is quite pricy to eat here. Its R320 for the three course, which includes extras in between meals. You can view their menu on http://www.grandeprovence.co.za/fine-dining-franschhoek/menu.html.

This is what you get to eat to start with, it is one of the extras you get with your three course meal (it was very yummy):

This was my entree. It was a pork salad if I remember correctly:

We were given a sorbet before having our main meal. This was my main, it was delicious:

After our main we were given a small dessert, which was a lovely yet small piece of chocolate brownie. Then for dessert I had the Banana Parfait: banana, roasted macadamia nut salsa, rocky road ice cream … patron anglaise (this was very nice):

I just had a look on the website for the description for my entree and main. But I cannot recognise them on the current menu online. I am guessing they change their menu frequently? As you can see from the photos above and on their website, the chef makes fine dining cuisine.

On a nice sunny day, with good company, a nice bottle of wine and this great food, it makes for a pretty memorable occassion.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Vrede en Lust

We visited this winery after going to Allée Bleue and Plasir de Merle. We enjoyed a nice lunch at the restaurant. We started with entreés, followed by a main. We drank the Vrede en Lust Sauvignon Blanc with our meal, which was very nice.

After lunch, I wanted our friends to try the Viognier at Vrede en Lust, so we went in to the tasting room to try some wine. The Viognier 2011 sells for R130. This is by far my most favourite Viognier I have tried in SA, and the 2011 is as good as the 2010. You must try the Viognier if you come to Vrede en Lust, and, if you pass Vrede en Lust, you must come and taste their wine.

This winery has done a really good job to create a great vibe and provide a great wine tasting experience. The ladies all wear red dresses, which looks stunning. The outdoor seating provides you with an awesome view. If you sit inside, you ideally want to get a seat near the window so that you still get a nice view. The service is very good here and you can see they pay a lot of attention on training their staff.

I highly recommend visiting this winery. If you want to do two wineries in this area I would suggest Vrede en Lust and La Motte. If I was to suggest three for this area, it is hard to choose between Glen Carlou, Noble Hill and Anura. This is a great area to do a wine tour if you only have one day for visiting wines!!! Especially as the wineries are so close in distance, you don't waste time travelling from one to the next.

Plasir de Merle

After visiting Allee Bleue we visited Plasir de Merle. From the moment you drive on to the property you feel the grandness of the place.

The tasting room is very nice and the service was good. There are several options for doing a wine tasting at this winery. You can choose a fudge and wine tasting, a food and wine tasting, a standard tasting and a premiere tasting.

Three of us chose the standard tasting and my boy friend chose to do a food and wine tasting. The food includes things like sundried tomato, biltong, almonds etc.

The wine was nice here but the prices are quite high. We started with the Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (R85). Next we had the Chardonnay 2010 (R90). We also tried the Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (R145), Malbec 2008 (R220) and the Grand plasir 2007 (R290). The latter is a Bordeaux Blend. It is rounded, has good body, was complex, had great flavour, and had a little dry aftertaste. I liked this wine, it was very enjoyable.

This is a nice winery; there is good service, the wine is of good quality and the grounds are very nice.

Allée Bleue

Today we decided to visit some wineries with friends from Paarl. We started at Allée Bleue, then went to Plasir de Merle and finished at Vrede en Lust for lunch and a tasting.

I have always driven past Allée Bleue, but never got the chance to pop in for a tasting. Finally we visited the winery today and I was very happy with the place.

The tasting room is nicely designed and I absolutely loved the outdoor courtyard. I would be very keen to have my 30th birthday here next year.

We sat down for the tasting and tried 5 wines. We started with the Starlette Blanc 2011 which is a Sauvignon Blanc/Chenin Blanc at R35 a bottle. This was nice, fruity and balanced. The Isabeau Semillon/Chardonnay 2010 sells for R88 a bottle. This I found was rounded, slightly heavy, and wooded. The Starlette Rosé 2011 at R36 a bottle has a cute pink colour, like that of candy floss. I loved this rosé, it was playful, a little sweet and had nice flavour. The Starlette Rouge 2010 sells for R38 a bottle, this had a smokey smell, and a slight dry lingering aftertaste. We finished off with the L'Amour Toujours 2008 at R150 a bottle, which is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, grenache, petit verdot and shiraz. This had a nice smell, was complex, and I tasted hints of cinnamon, blackcurrent, cherry and dark chocolate.

We enjoyed our wine tasting at Allée Bleue and I recommend you stop here if you drive past.

There is a restaurant on the premises also, which perhaps you would like to work in to your plans.

Saturday, 17 March 2012


After visiting Paul Cluver we went to Thandi at Blossom. It is just off the main road on the way through to Hermanus.

The service here was good and we were able to do our tasting sitting on the porch/stoep.

We tried the Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay 2011 (R45), Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (R55), Shiraz/Cabernet 2008 (R50), Cabernet/Merlot 2010 (R50) and Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (R66). In general, the wine was ok.

I am not sure if it's because we started off at Paul Cluver (prior to going to Thandi) and were thoroughly impressed with the quality of their wine, but I sadly wouldn't suggest bothering to stop at this place for the wine.

However, if you are in need of a meal while passing through Elgin, then this is a nice spot. The balcony/stoep out the front, with the lawn and childrens play area is ideal for a family. If I remember correctly, this restaurant serves typical South African food, so for those who are looking for local cuisine while travelling through the Western Cape, then perhaps this is an ideal place to stop.

Paul Cluver

Today we went to Paul Cluver Wine Estate for a wine tasting and breakfast. We started off with breakfast at Fresh and I highly recommend eating here!! I had the eggs benedict and it is by far the best I have had in South Africa!! The lady who owns the place is so friendly and her food is great!! The decor is in keeping with the farm, she has her own vegetable garden on the premises and the menu is on the blackboard which changes with what is in season in her vegetable garden. She has kept this place simple yet stunning!! It was a very memorable experience. Be sure to make a booking if you want to eat here, as she is often booked out.

We went to the tasting room after lunch to try the wine. Sadly they don't allow you to try all the wine and if you are a couple and want to try diferent wine, you can't. I even offered to pay to be able to try all the wine, and that didn't work either. There were no other guests in the tasting room at the time, so I thought these rules were a bit strict. 

The decision on what to try was very hard for me as I didn't want to miss out on trying any of them. Unfortunately the Gerwerztraminer and the dessert wine were the two that I had to cut out from my selection. We did try the Sauvignon Blanc 2010 at R70 a bottle. We both loved this wine, it was rounded and had great flavour. The Estate Riesling 2010 at R75 a bottle was dry and crisp. My boyfriend liked this one. The Close Encounter Riesling 2011 at R75 a bottle was sweet and had lovely flavour. I liked this one. The Chardonnay 2010 at R120 a bottle was rounded, and had an apricot/honey taste. The Pinot Noir 2009 was R120 a bottle, I found this a little bitter, and felt it lacked flavour, but I imagine it would go nicely with red meat.

Usually you are only allowed to try four wines, but the lady was nice enough to let us try one extra. A tasting is free at this winery.

If you come to this winery for a tasting be sure to eat at Fresh also. If you come to this winery to eat at Fresh, be sure to do a tasting of the wine also!!

Saturday, 10 March 2012


Today I went to Omniberg with a friend. It was a lovely day, and the vibe was great.

We started at Windmeul. There were a lot of people here, there was a live band, good food, good vibe, would recommend visiting this winery at next year’s festival.

The wine here was really good and the prices are very reasonable: 2010 Chardonnay Reserve is R47.50, their Sauvignon Blanc 2011 is R32.50 and the most expensive wine is the Cape Blend Reserve 2009 at R85.

Under Oaks
There was not much wine to try here, only two from the barrels. We ate some very delicious pizza here, enjoyed the view and then moved on.

We visited this winery towards the end of the day. There was a live band, seating outside, and some games to be played on the large lawn. There was not much wine to try at this winery. They had a few of their wines which were not ready for bottling yet. It would have been nice if we could have tried some of their bottled wine also.

The service at this winery was really good. It probably helped that we went there towards the end of the day and we were the only two in the tasting room. The staff were very friendly and went through each wine with us.
White Pinotage (R120). I liked this wine so much!!! It is very smooth and has great flavour!! Dekker’s Valley Chenin Blanc (R40) was refreshing and nice.
At this winery we stomped on the grapes. As it was the end of the day, there wasn’t really much to stomp as it was already stomped on. So it was pretty much standing in grape juice with the skins floating at the top.

This was the last winery we visited. This winery is on the main road. There was a really great band on at the time we were there. I thoroughly enjoyed the KWV Sauvignon Blanc at R100 a bottle. That was a good find!!!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


Today we went to Vredenheim because we had a picnic voucher which we had purchased on groupon.

This winery is very nice, there are many different types of animals on the farm, which you can see as you drive up to the restaurant and tasting room.

As we walked in to the Hudson's Restaurant we could see that the main room was being set up for a wedding, it looked stunning!! Definitely check out this place for a wedding option. We asked how much it costs to have a wedding here, and we were told that if you decide to have your wedding outside and the reception inside, its approximately R10,000 for both. I thought this was a very reasonable price, especially considering the venue, and the fact you can use both the outdoor and indoor area.

Anyway, to the wine and food. As we had to pre-order for the picnic, it was ready to go when we got there. We ordered a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, were given our picnic basket and off we went to sit on the lawn in amongst the garden.

The gardens are lovely and it's very quiet there. On a nice sunny day I highly recommend booking a picnic in advance and coming here for a relaxing lunch.

The restaurant was quite busy when we went for our picnic. It is child friendly, there is plenty of grass for them to run around on and I think they had a childrens playground area also.

After our picnic, we went and tried a few wines in the tasting room. We were a bit rushed for time so we didn't try many. We tried the Vredenvonkel Vin Sec sparkling wine (R43) and the Pinotage (R40). Both were very nice.

The service was good at this winery, the setting was very nice, the atmosphere was relaxed and the wine is very reasonably priced.

I can't remember how much they charge for a tasting here, I think it was R20 to try 5 wines.

Sadly I didn't have my camera on me, so I don't have any of my own photos of this winery.The photos I have used are from the Hudon's website. Be sure to check out their website for more photos: http://www.visithudsons.co.za/weddings-functions/gallery

I would recommend one visits this farm.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Conradie Family Vineyards

After the Harvest of Joy wine festival, we decided to go to Conradie winery for a wine tasting. We had seen on a wine map that Conradie winery was open till 4pm so the timing was perfect. Just before we left the festival we were lucky to meet the winemaker. We told him we were on our way to his winery and he explained that they close at 3pm. He was kind enough to call his staff and ask them to wait for us to visit his winery.

Conradie winery is open 9am - 3pm on a Saturday and 11am-2pm on a Sunday. We left the festival about 3pm and didn't get to the winery till about 3.45pm so it was really nice of them to wait for us.

I was so glad we got to do a tasting there. The staff were really friendly, and the wine was really nice!!

We were served by Angela and Colin. They were really firendly, and both very happy people. Here is a photo of the tasting room and of Angela and Colin.

As for the wine, my favourite was the Cabernet Suavignon 2010 (R75 a bottle). That was really nice!! It had a slight cigar/tobacco and spicy hint to it (in my opinion). They have won so many awards for this wine also!! I liked the Pinotage/Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (R40) which was lighter than the Cab Sauv, easy drinking and had lovely flavour.

I also liked the Sweet Rosaline Perlé Rosé (R33). I bought a bottle of this, and I bought two bottles of the 2009 Chardonnay which was on special for R38 a bottle. The 2010 Chardonnay sells for R50 a bottle.

I really enjoyed our tasting here and I would definitely recommend others visit this winery also. It really was a pleasant, relaxing and enjoyable wine tasting.

Harvest of Joy

We attended this event last year and decided to attend it again this year.

We went about 10.30am and there weren't a lot of people at that time. By the time we left at 3pm there was definitely a lot more people.

It cost R40 to attend the event and then another R20 to buy a glass so you could taste all the wine.

I tried all the wine at this event, so thought I would write a bit about each winery's wine we tried.

We started with Alvi's drift wine. I am a fan of their naughty girl rosé sparkling, even though it is quite sweet. On a hot day, it is ideal, so long as it's cold!! I had a tasting of this sparkling again and didn't find it as sweet this time. Having said that, I tried the white sparkling called Nude and found this one no where near as sweet. I loved this sparkling and thought it was better than the rosé. I also enjoyed the SVC white blend.

At the Brandvlei Cellar I liked the Bacchanté which was sweet, rounded and easy drinking. I also liked the Chardonnnay which was soft and rounded. The Shiraz Rosé was also sweet, rounded and nice. The wine at this winery is so reasonably priced!! The SB is R20, Chardonnay is R19, Chenin Blanc, Bacchanté and Shiraz Rosé are all R18 a bottle.

Next we tried Eagle's Cliff wine. I liked the Sauvignon Blanc 2011 and the Shiraz Rosé 2011 which were both soft and easy drinking.

The Stettyn Cellar had a nice Sauvignon Blanc which was light, fruity and easy drinking.

My favourite wine from the Overhex cellar was the Pinotage. That was absolutely fantastic. Its only R40 a bottle, yet it has won a michelangelo and veritas silver award. I highly recommended trying or buying this wine!!!

Aan De Doorns also had wine at this festival. I liked their Rosé Blanc De Noir which was a little sweet and smooth. The Colombar was very smooth, sweet and nice.

There is a boat ride you can take at this festival. It costs R40 per person. You can take on food and wine which you can buy at the market, so we have done this on both occasions. It's very relaxing and nice.

As it's usually quite hot on the day of this festival, you are welcome to take your swim suit and go for a swim. The children like being able to do this while the parents drink and enjoy a nice relaxing day.

Friday, 2 March 2012


My work colleague and I visited this winery after work on Friday.

We paid R25 each to taste 5 wines. There are 23 wines to choose from, so it makes the choice very difficult.

At Simonsig, you pay for your tasting, select your first wine to try, you sit down anywhere you like (inside or outside) and then go up for your next tasting.  So it is a very relaxed style/approach. Having said that, you still get good service and the tasting room staff know the wine very well and are happy to share their knowledge with you.

We were looked after by one male staff member and he was kind enough to let us try 7 wines, as I found it too hard to choose just 5. At closing time, my ride was not there yet, so they let us sit outside with a glass of dessert wine while we were waiting. So I was really impressd with the service and hospitality we received here.

I recommend one visits this winery. If you have never had the Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel (R90) then I highly recommend you try it. The Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rosé (R90) was also very nice. We tried the Cuvée Royale (Blanc de Blanc) Cap Classique (R180) also and this was very nice. For those who don't like the biscuity, yeasty, dry MCC then this would not be for you. Having said this, I usually don't like this style of MCC either, but enjoyed this one. I reckon its worth trying. This MCC won the Veritas Double gold and Platters 4 1/2 stars.

I liked the Sauvignon Blanc Sunbird (R60) and the Chenin Blanc (R40). They were both light, easy drinking and had nice flavour.

Overall we had a nice wine tasting experience here and I would recommend others visit this winery also.

Tasting & Wine SalesMon to Fri – 08:30 - 17:00
Saturdays & Public Holidays – 08:30 - 1600
Sunday - 11:00 - 15:00
Closed on Christmas, New Year's Day & Good Friday