The Cape Winelands are amongst the most scenic Winelands in the world. Along with its world-renown wines and top restaurants, the Cape Winelands should definitely be on everyone’s list when visiting the Cape. The most popular and visited wine areas outside Cape Town are Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, which are just a short 30-45 minute drive from the city. Locals and tourists alike find little reason to venture further afield to other regions as everything one desires can be found here.
To say we were pleasantly surprised by the Robertson Wine Valley would be an understatement, the wines were fantastic, the hospitality very warm and professional. Furthermore, we experienced one of the best food and wine pairings we’ve had in years. We found many reasons to visit Robertson during our stay; below we give you a taste of 5 of our favorite attractions. We hope you will use these recommendations as a starting point and explore the region for yourselves in the near future.
1. Bottle, Blend and Label your own wine at Excelsior.
Looking for a unique gift or simply a fun activity whilst in the Winelands? We recommend you visit Excelsior Wine Estate where you can create your very own red wine. From blending to bottling and labeling your wine with guidance from their friendly staff, this fun and memorable activity will cost you a mere R60 a bottle.
Robertson produces some of South Africa’s top wines. The two wine farms that stood out to us with their quality wines and picturesque settings were Springfield Wine Estate and De Wetshof Estate. Wine tastings at Springfield are complimentary and at De Wetshof it will only cost you R50 to taste 13 wines.
After asking around the small town where we should go for lunch on our final day here, we were directed to a wine and guest farm called Fraai Uitzicht, just outside town. This is where we enjoyed the mouth-watering food and wine pairing mentioned earlier. The pairing comprised of six bite-size portions each paired perfectly with one of their fantastic wines. Dishes such as Madeiran Tomato Soup with ginger and a hint of curry, crispy Chinese spiced pork belly served with spring onions and hoisin sauce. Ravioli filled with ricotta and lemon thyme, served with freshly grated Parmesan were three of the delicious examples of what made our mouths water.
Wherever we went in this town, we were met with friendly, welcoming and genuine smiles. The barefoot children would wave to us as we drove past on gravel roads and the farm owners and staff invited us in with open arms. The staff at Esona Boutique Winery stood out above the rest as we arrived 5 minutes before they were scheduled to close for the day. They stopped packing away immediately and invited us in for an educational wine tasting of their unique wines. We walked away with smiles on our faces and a few bottles of wine in our hands that we look forward to keeping for a special occasion.
Robertson is perfect for a relaxing weekend away from the city and crowds of locals and tourists. Although the region produces some of the countries best wines, it is not as busy or crowded as the wine regions closer to Cape Town such as Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Constantia. After three days here, we felt as though we had been on holiday for two weeks and didn’t want to leave.
(All photos in this post were taken by Sarah Michell, May 2015. All rights reserved)