One of our favourite pastimes at this time of year is to take a wine tour around the famous wine estates of the Western Cape. Buying your Christmas celebratory wine direct from the cellar door is a unique experience, not least for the amazing estate homesteads and spectacular scenery.
A Cape Town wine tour is something that the whole family can do together, with many of the estates catering for the smallest member of your family, right through to the wine connoisseur.
The diversity of wine produced from the Stellenbosch area alone is staggering. Due to its rich agricultural potential, the early settlers soon started planting vines and with over 300 years of experience, wonderful conditions and skillful husbandry, the industry has thrived.
With a backdrop of dramatic mountains, many south facing slopes, perfect climate, the grapes get the ideal conditions to produce beautiful drinking wines that all palettes can appreciate. You don’t have to be a connoisseur, just know what you like.
I love the peace and tranquility of the estates themselves! The vivid green velvet of the manicured lawns rolling into the distance, where the only sound is the clicking of the watering sprinkler, the gentle cooing of the Cape doves and the dry warmth of the sun, combining to create a relaxed atmosphere – take time to step off the merry-go-round of life, smell the roses and sip a glass of something lovingly grown for your enjoyment.
Ask me which estates are my favourites and I could be here for a very long time! But let me introduce you to a few that have become extra special.
The stunning drive up the avenue to Neethlingshof, beneath the arching Stone pines has got to be one of the most memorable entrances. The glorious traditional Cape Dutch manor house that greets you upon arrival is also beautifully preserved and now houses the famous Lord Neethling restaurant.
Another of my all time best-loved estates, because it was one of the very first I visited, is Delheim. Tucked up high on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain, this little piece of heaven produces nectar for the gods.
Sitting out on their restaurant veranda in the shade of a sun umbrella has to be one of the best ways to pass a summer afternoon – as long as you have a glass of something chilled to hand and good company!
On the other side of Stellenbosch, with land overlooking the distant Indian Ocean, Saxenburg wine farm is another award winning estate, producing wines guaranteed to please.
All these estates support their surroundings, working in harmony with the land, ensuring that you will see a host of wildlife and plants, making your wine tour one to remember.
At Delheim make sure you take your binoculars, ready to spot some of the amazing bird life. Look out for the Orange-Breasted Sunbird, the African Dusky Flycatcher or one of the different Ibis that frequently inhabit the estate.
Wildlife of a larger nature can be found at Saxenburg with Zebra, Antelope and Ostrich grazing the land. Whilst at Neethlingshof, 28 hectares of land is made over to conservation of indigenous plants with the aim of restoring the natural balance and encouraging wildlife.
The memories of your trip will stay with you forever – simply close your eyes to remember the warmth, friendliness, sights and sounds.
For more great ideas on what to do and see, ComeToCapeTown.com will be delighted to assist you in making the most of your vacation and holiday time.