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.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


Today we went to Avondale to collect a bottle of wine for market research for my work. I am so glad this brought me out here to discover such a fantastic winery.

The place is beautiful and the setting is lovely. The building is nice, the garden is nice, the interior of the place is elegant and beautiful and the tasting room is grand.

The service here was very good, the lady was friendly and welcoming.

We had a very nice tasting here. I thoroughly enjoyed the Rose here!! I bought a bottle and have still not opened it yet. It is pricy but I do think its worth it.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

La Vierge

Today I was showing some people around the Hemel en Aarde wine route and I decided to take them here for the view.

We did a tasting while here and I have to say, overall, the wine really isn't that good. Again, this is just my opinion.

There are several people who I have spoken to about the experience at La Vierge, and I haven't met anyone that says good things about the wine or food. It is a shame considering their location and lovely views.

The service here was very good. If I remember correctly the lady serving us was doing all the tastings by herself and it was busy when we were there. I therefore think it is impressive that she was able to handle so many people and be able to provide such a great tasting experience.

I would love to recommend this place, but if you are in Hemel en Aarde for good wine, I would not suggest this place. If you are visiting the valley and want to enjoy the views and are not so worried about the wine, then this is a nice place.


Today we wanted to show our friends the experience one can enjoy at Creation.

They were fully booked but managed to fit us in at 3.30pm. When we arrived the place was bustling and in full swing. We were seated and then it took a good 10 minutes before someone brought us menus and water. Then they very quickly brought some bread out with some rose until they had time to serve us.

We got to order a good 30 minutes later, still no wine came out for the tasting, only when all our food came out did they start the tasting.

Half our table enjoyed main meals for our lunch and the other half did the food and wine pairing at R125 pp.

The canapes (food and wine pairing) is a great experience and if you are not hungry then I highly recommend this option. However, if you come over lunch and are hungry, I recommend you order a main.

The views at Creation are great. The service is very good (when they have time to attend to your table) and the wine is consistently good also.

The experience was heightened today when a group who had come for a wine tasting decided to play the piano and sing. It was awesome, so many tables sang along with the guy playing the piano and it was a happening place.

I highly recommend visiting Creation, but I strongly suggest making a booking in advance especially if you plan to visit on a long weekend. The food, service, views are all very good here and worth planning in advance for.

Domaine Des Dieux

Today I finally got to visit Domaine Des Dieux's new tasting room. It is so refreshingly different to the rest of the wineries on this road. At first when we arrived in the parking area, I was slightly surprised as I had expected something different.

Then when we got inside the tasting room I loved it. This place is so unpretentious and has a very nice relaxing vibe.

It is a basic tasting room with no frills on the outside, but on the inside you feel welcome, at home and you can enjoy the fine wine and view.

As it was a beautiful day we could sit outside on the couches and lounge round for the day (if we had time), or we could sit inside at the long table.

We tasted all their wine and I enjoyed all of them. I am a fan of Domaine Des Dieux wine. My favourites today were the Claudia MCC and the Chardonnay.

Tasting notes:
Sauvignon Blanc - liked.
Chardonnay was creamy with nice acidity. It was soft and nice.
Syrah Mourvedre was soft, pleasant, had good flavour, and a nice finish.
Josephine Pinot Noir  had lovely cherry flavours, was a little dry, nice colour, was a bit "stemmy" and green.
Claudia MCC was very elegant, dry and pleasant.
Rose of Sharon MCC came across as sweeter than the Claudia however the sugar is the same in both these MCC's, apparently it's the Pinot Noir that is making this one seem sweeter.

The guy serving us works permanently in the tasting room and did a great job. He made us feel welcome, he sped up the tasting knowing that we were unfortunately short on time, yet still gave us an informative and relaxing tasting.

Domaine Des Dieux has nice views, so if you come on a nice day, be sure to allow at least an hour to enjoy the whole experience.

I recomend visiting Domaine Des Dieux.


Sumaridge was yet again busy and couldn't provide the ideal experience. We had this happen last time we visited this estate also. I don't know why they like to short staff themselves on busy weekends.

Anyway, the place is beautiful as always. I love the building and setting.

We got a table no problem, it took a good ten minutes before they got our first wine to us. We got through three of the wines and then had to get going due to a lack of time. We were told we still had to pay for a full tasting, so we asked them to pour the final three wines in our three glasses so we could taste them without having to wait between pours.

I have found on both occassions that this wine estate has been busy yet they only have two staff members on. Both times we have tried to sit down and enjoy the experience, but because they are so busy, it bceomes a frustrating experience. I have found on both occassions that those who stand at the bar get served pretty quickly, so if you get here and it's busy, and you don't want to spend more than an hour to get through the wines, stand at the bar. It's usually a lot quicker and you can always get served everytime they get wine from the fridge.

Notes on the wine:
Sauvignon Blanc 2013 at R70 a bottle was light, not too acidic with a fresh finish. I liked this wine.
Maritimus 2010 at R115 a bottle was soft, flavoursome, creamy, little minerality, tones of apricot and stone fruit, nice lingering finish. This wine was very nice!
Chardonnay 2011 at R150 a bottle had lovely characteristics and flavour. It was smooth, wooded (but not overpowering), lingering finish. Nice flavour, very nice wine.
Rose 2013 at R60 a bottle. This had lovely flavour, was dry, had a nice finish. It was a very pleasant rose.

I do recommend visiting this winery, but try avoid long weekends when Hermanus is busy.

Friday, 11 April 2014

April 2014 Blind Tasting Notes

Today I was invited to participate in a blind tasting for a restaurant who was deciding which wines to list.

This was a very interesting exercise. It was insightful to see how this restaurant decides which wine to list, through a blind tasting, voting, and finally on discussion of price, varietal (or blend) and the name of the wine.

We tasted 26 wines from 9.30am - 12pm, including MCC, White, Rose and Red wines.

The ones which stood out for me were the following:

Colmont Brut from Franschhoek. I had never tried this before and was really impressed!! This wine was for me the most memorable out of all the wines we tasted. I highly recommend buying a bottle if you see it on a wine list or at a bottle store.

De Bos Unwooded Chardonnay from Bosman winery. I liked this wine and it is a very reasonably priced Chardonnay.

Dornier Rose, I am a big fan of this wine, I buy cases of it at a time and here it was in a blind tasting, where I didn't know that was what I was trying, and, I thoroughly enjoyed it. This wine is truly value for money and deserves more credit and attention!! It sells for less than R50 a bottle at cellar door!!

Air Hawk Wooded Sauvignon Blanc. This had a very interesting nose, had beautiful fruity citrus flavours. I was informed this wine is one of Nederberg's wines. I would definitely consider buying a bottle if I saw it on a wine list or on the shelves at a wine shop.

Granny Smith (Boland Cellars) Nouvelle. So it turns out Nouvelle is a grape varietal (just like Chardonnay is a grape varietal). It was my first time trying a Nouvelle wine and I liked it.  There were green tones, but they were light, so I still liked it. I usually can't stand green wines. It has a fun loving label, which is an old lady wearing a floatation ring/tube device around her waste. You know, the rings you blow up and use in a swimming pool? Anyway, nice wine, and it's very low in price. So if you are looking for a fun, easy drinking white, then this is perfect.

Vrede en Lust White Mischief had lovely flavours and a lovely finish.

Jakalsvlei Pinotage was light in colour, had an interesting nose, was soft and light on the palate, was a little sweet, I liked it. The price of this wine is low and therefore this wine is value for money.

Glen Carlou Cabernet Sauvignon had a nice nose, colour, was soft and I liked it. It was a little dry though.

Allee Bleu Shiraz had a lovely nose, was soft and pleasant.

Vansha Red, apparently from Ridgeback, had good colour, was soft and smooth, and had a nice flavour to it. I really liked this wine. The price on this is also low and therefore a value for money wine!!

Dornier Tempranillo was pleasant, had nice characteristics and I liked it.