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, 11 March 2017

Klein Roosboom

A wine friend and I visited two wineries in Durbanville area today; Hillcrest and Klein Roosboom.

The last time I went to Klein Roosboom was on my birthday a few years ago, and prior to that when they had a Sauvignon Blanc wine festival in 2011. When my friend suggested we go there today I thought it was about time I revisited the place.

We walked in and went all the way down to the end of the tasting room. As we walked through the room, past the long table in the middle of the room, struggling to get past, we looked in to each room on the side, where people could enjoy a tasting in "private". As I walked past each room and peered in to see how each room was uniquely decorated, I felt like I was walking through a brothel. It was weird. So weird, I didn't take photos of the rooms, it didn't seem right to peer in to a room and take a photo of the people in the room. The concept is cool, but it just had a weird feeling as you look in and people look up at you, wishing you weren't looking.

After walking all the way in to the tasting room, struggling to get past the tables and the staff serving them, we walked all the way back out, yet again looking in to every room with different themes in each one, and sat outside for our tasting. I felt much better once outside. It was spacious and lighter than inside.

My friend Janine

My friend had done a sabrage last time she was at this winery, so we asked to do it this time also, which we did. You pay for the bottle of MCC and to experience the sabrage is at no extra cost. It was awesome getting to do it with the sabor and the MCC was delicious too. They had sold out of their own MCC, so they alternate with various MCCs in the area. This in my opinion is pretty dam cool that they are willing to show a neighbours wine at their own tasting room. I take my hat off to them. There are few wineries that would do this. The MCC was very delicious also. Next time we visit I look forward to tasting the Klein Roosboom MCC.

The tasting was amazing. The guy serving us was so passionate and enthusiastic and informative. The wines were ok, but not great enough to buy a bottle. Last time I visited this place I thought the Sauvignon Blanc was nice and did buy a bottle that time. As you would know, wine is one of those things that is subjective, and not everyone is going to like the same wine. I loved the experience here so much that I would still come back.

We followed the tasting with a cheese and charcuterie board. This was divine.

This is a very nice option for if you are visiting the Durbanville wine region. We had a great time and hope you will too.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Chris Alheit Cartology

Today was one of those days that I got to tick off a box from my bucket list. I got to meet Chris Alheit at his winery and taste his wines. What a treat, what an experience and what an honour.

I was lucky to get this opportunity as I had offered to drive a guest from Japan to visit some wineries in the Hemel-en-Arde wine route while she was here in SA.

Through her involvement in the wine industry in Japan, she was invited to see a few of the top winemakers in SA, one of which was Chris Alheit.

We started off with a cellar tour, he showed us the different vessels he uses and explained the way he makes his wines.

Chris uses a minimal interference wine making style where he leaves the grapes to do the talking. He simply guides the grapes in to the bottle.

We then went through to the office to taste his wines. We started with the two Flotsam and Jetsam wines. The Cinsault is one of my favourite red wines here in SA. It is super easy to drink, juicy, vibrant and fantastic with or without food.

The other favourites of mine were the..... Cartology, Magnetic North, La Colline Vineyard and the Hemelrand Vine Garden. All of these wines are made in very small quantities. They are hard to come by so if you find a bottle in the store, buy it, immediately! His wines sell out FAST!

If you ever get the chance to meet and/or taste Chris Alheit's wine, you must take the opportunity with open arms. If you don't get the opportunity to taste with him, then be sure to either buy yourself a bottle of his wine to enjoy at home or next time you see it at a restaurant, order it, you won't be disappointed. His wines are breathtaking.

Sunday, 5 February 2017


Today I was very lucky to have a private cellar tour and tank tasting during harvest, with the winemaker Helgard van Schalkwyk.

We started off by tasting the bottled Lynx Rose which was followed by various tank samples of the Lynx Rose in the cellar. It was interesting to see how the colour of the wine varies depending on whether it has started fermentation, is half way through fermentation or has completed fermentation. If I remember correctly, the wine went lighter in colour after fermentation. 

Lynx Rose before and after fermentation

We tasted some red wines from barrel and then finished in the tasting room to go through the rest of the range. We were really spoiled and this was truly such an awesome experience. I was really surprised to see they use a basket press in the cellar and that they have the old fashion fermentation tanks. This winery is far more back to basics in their wine-making style than I realised.

Helgard is a really lovely person, very down to earth, friendly and passionate about his work. I mean, who agrees to meet someone on a Sunday at work, to show them what they are working on? :-p But he appeared to love every moment, so I think that says a lot about his passion and enthusiasm for the job.

I have been to this winery on one other occasion which was during the Uncorked wine festival, where they had tastings in the tasting room, live music outside and a food truck serving Mexican food. It was a lovely set up and very relaxed.

I can highly recommend visiting Lynx. The building is simple but the service is superb and the wines are fantastic. Be sure to check it out.