Wine Tourism in South Africa is a multi-sensory experience that will not only deepen your appreciation of fine wines but will also enhance your appreciation of the country itself. This article gives you a few ideas of things to do in the Winelands this summer.
There are more than 500 wine farms open for tasting, over 150 of them have restaurants, and more than 300 host regular concerts or events. Besides this, it is possible to stay on just over 150 wine farms in anything from self-catering cottages to 5-Star hotels.”
Just a short introduction to the South African wine tourism offering as on the home page of Wine Tourism South Africa.
And while we all agree that there is ample opportunity to further develop SA wine tourism and to get the government involved in our efforts, it is an industry that has come in leaps and bounds over the last few years. I have written extensively about the importance of wine tourism and last week we had a look at some of the tourism highlights offered on wine estates in the traditional wine countries France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Portugal.
With summer holidays starting in the Southern hemisphere, I would like to share a few of the exceptional tourism offerings available.
In South Africa, there is a big difference in the offering from cellar door to cellar door. Some estates like La Motte, Waterkloof, Waterford, Vergelegen, Babylonstoren… to name but a few, has an extensive offering of things to do that goes much wider than wine and food. Expect art exhibitions, mountain hikes, concerts, horse riding, fine dining, family-style restaurants, garden walks, history and culture. Others might have a smaller offering that is still exceptional or others might just know exactly how to make their visitors feel treasured and treat them to an educational and entertaining day out.
Some interesting offerings:
With the beauty of the Winelands, garden walks have become very popular. Enjoy the splendour of age-old trees at Vergelegen, the formal vegetable and fruit gardens at Babylonstoren or the Organic Walk at La Motte.
And if a leisurely stroll through a garden is not enough of a challenge for you, go on a hike – at Waterkloof you are invited to explore on foot, horseback or from a helicopter! Or enjoy scenic views of the Franschhoek Valley from a hiking trail in the Wemmershoek mountain.
If all of this sounds too active for your liking, the South African wine estates also offer exceptional experiences of culture and art and visitors are invited to view special art exhibitions at amongst others Delaire Graff, La Motte and Grande Provence while a programme of events and concerts in the Winelands ranges from classical music concerts at La Motte and Nederburg to open-air concerts at Paul Cluver.
Do not forget to treasure the history of many of the old estates and when you are in the Constantia Valley – learn more about South Africa’s most iconic wine, Vin de Constance.
And of course, there is food – have a look at my blog, Eating in the Winelands for a list of the top eateries in and around the Cape Winelands. Visitors are also invited to cooking classes – fine-tune your culinary skills at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards or learn to bake artisan bread at Môreson.
Wine Tourism in the Cape has evolved into a very innovative offering and is not only limited to wine. At Spice Route, guests are invited to try artisan beer or taste an array of grappa, espresso or chocolate.
And then we have not even touched on wine tasting! While wine tasting is, of course, the centre of things to do on a wine estate. Nowadays, however, guests are invited to various types of tastings – various vintages, vinoteque tastings, cultivar specific tastings, tastings with the winemaker, food and wine tastings and barrel tastings.
If you are on holiday in and around Cape Town, the Winelands offer the ideal solution to entertain family and friends this summer!
For more on what to do in the rest of the Southern Hemisphere, please follow the below links:
Also, visit Great Wine Capitals of the World for more detail on the wine tourism offering of the globe’s most recognised wine regions.