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, 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.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Wine on the River in Robertson

My friend and I had a really good time at this wine festival. We had lots of fun trying the wine, eating waffles, biltong, oysters, steak sandwiches, cheese platters, and taking photos. It was an awesome day out!!

We had our photo taken at the photo studio stand:

We ate some delicious waffles:
I highly recommend attending this wine event next year!!

In regards to the wine, I couldn't get over how many wineries were present at this event and there were so many I didn't know of. I always like being exposed to new wineries!

I was pleasantly surprised with Tangled Tree wines. Their wine is in plastic bottles, reasonably priced and very nice. I ended up buying 3 bottles of wine from this stand. I tried Roodezandt wines for the first time at this event also, I really liked their Syrah 2011 at R35 a bottle. I also tried wine at Mimosa. They have some  very nice wine also.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Swartland Olive and Wine Festival

This was such a nice wine festival!!

There were many wineries here from Swartland, so I was able to try lots of wine which I hadn't tried before.

My boyfriend and I were pleasantly surprised with how many wines we liked at each wine stand.

Babylon's Peak had some awesome wine!! I loved the Chenin Blanc 2012 it was nice, crisp and light. Only R30 a bottle!! The Viognier/Rousanne 2011 had good body wirth tart citrus tones coming through. This wine is R70 a bottle. The Shiraz/Carignan 2011 was light and nice at R50 a bottle. The Syrah 2007 (R80) was lighter than the SMG. The SMG (Shiraz, Mouvedre, Grenache) at R80 a bottle was nice, smokey, and had balanced flavours. I really liked this wine also.

We also enjoyed the wine at Nuweland. Juan Louw was there to promote his wine. We liked his Sauvignon Blanc 2012 at R48 a bottle,  it had great body, flavour, was very nicely balanced and not acidic which I like!! The Chenin Blanc 2011 was also a favourite of mine at only R40 a bottle. It also had great body, was soft and had great flavours! We also tried the Rooipad Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 at R65. This was strong in flavour and a little dry. We also liked this wine. The Tinta Barocca at R100 a bottle was really interesting in flavour and we also liked this wine. The Straw Wine Muscat Alexandri (honeypoot grapes) was R90 a bottle, I really liked this wine! 

I highly recommend coming to this wine event. It was a really nice way to spend the day!! There were plenty of food stalls, olive and wine stands and there was live music which added a nice vibe to the event.