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.

Sunday, 26 May 2013


Nice wine, disappointing attitude and service of the tasting room staff.

Today we visited Vergelegen as my friend had told me how beautiful it was and that this was the place she wants to get married. Naturally, I wanted to check it out.

The tasting room is very modern, tidy and spacious. We sat at a nice big oval table with a lovely white upholstery couch. 

The guy serving us, Handre, explained that it is R30 per person for a tasting of 4 wines. There are 13 wines to choose from. I chose the Sauvignon Blanc 2012 at R85 a bottle, Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2012 at R170 a bottle, Chardonnay Reserve 2011 at R225 a bottle, and Shriaz Reserve 2007 at R205 a bottle.

All the wines were brought out at one time in small tasting glasses. Handre asked us if we would like an explanation of the wine and I said yes. He therefore told us about each one and left us to it.


The Sauvignon Blanc 2012 had a beautiful tropical nose and taste. It was not too acidic. Beautifully balanced. I really liked it.

The SB Reserve 2012 was grassy, with pineapple and melon aromas. It also had lemon tones. Was fuller bodied than the first SB. I felt this was more of a food wine. There is a unique taste to this wine which I couldn't work out. Almost tones of honey, nuts and peach.

The Chardonnay Reserve 2011 was gorgeous. It had a sweet soft nose. Had an interesting taste. Was complex and nice. It had nutty, vanilla, butterscotch, lemon and citrus flavours on the palate.

The Shiraz was smooth with coffee and chocolate aroma, it was fruity and a litte spicy on the palate.

Once we had finished the tasting we made our way to the counter to pay our bill. I asked if the fee is waived on purchases and I was informed that it wasn't. I then said in a sarchastic/joking tone, it's amazing how the estate charges R10 per person to come on to the premises and then you still charge R30 without waiving either of these fees on purchases of wine. With that, Handre went very defensive and was pretty rude. His reaction to this comment left us dumbfounded and we felt pretty small. He was so rude and made us feel so unwelcome that you could cut the air with a knife. I almost told him to keep the wine and just charge me for the tasting. I just wanted to get out of there. I was very embaressed.

After buying a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc, we went to the gift shop, and after a few minutes I heard him speaking to some colleagues in the front foyer of the tasting room about the fact I had asked about the fee and couldn't understand why it wasn't waived on purchases etc. I felt it was so unprofessional to have spoken about this while we were still in ear shot. I was embaressed enough with the way he spoke to me and the tone and manner of his voice. To now overhear him speak to colleagues about it just made me so upset and angry. So we left immediately.

I don't plan on ever going back to this estate because of the way we were spoken to. I personnaly think they have some nerve to charge R10 per person to get on to the estate, then charge R30 pp to taste the wine and not waive at least one of these fees on purchases.

I'm not sure how well the tasting room sales are, but personally, if I was in charge of the tasting room, I would refund the R10 on purchases or on tastings. Include it in the price of the tasting or the wine if you have to. What would encourage one to visit this estate more than once? What if you just want to buy wine at the tasting room? Do you have to pay R10 pp to just go buy wine? I really can't see it being beneficial to the company. Is it basically only those with money that then revisit this estate because they don't mind paying R10 per person each time? Is that the clientele that Vergelegen wants? If that is the case, it is a bit discriminating.

Anyway that is my two cents. The person serving us seemed to think he was better than us, and made us feel that way also. I don't quite know where he gets off to treat his guests like that. I will never visit this estate again unless my friend gets married there!!! It was truly a disappointing experience for an estate that has such a prestigous reputation.

I don't recommend visiting this estate, but the wine is nice.

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