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Lanzerac Wine Estate, Cape Town, South Africa
Photograph: Lanzerac

The 13 best wine estates in and around Cape Town

Drink your way around the wine farms of some of the world’s finest viticultural regions. Gesondheid!

Written by
Alison Budge

South Africa is known the world over as a producer of exceptional wines, so it’s no wonder travellers flock to the wine farms (the proper South African term for estates) of the Western Cape. Cape Town is bordered by six viticultural regions – all less than an hour’s drive from the city centre – where hundreds of wineries beckon, with the promise of wide-open spaces, stunning outlooks and, of course, world-class wine. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of it all.

You can find wine farms as far along the Garden Route as Plettenberg Bay, up the West Coast to the Namibian border and inland for about 250 miles to the dry Karoo area. The different climates, topography and soil types, known as the terroir, influence the taste of wine produced from the different varietals, as does the skill of the winemaker and the varietal chosen.

Many of the wine estates are historical farms home to strikingly beautiful Cape Dutch manor houses, gardens, hotels, and fine-dining restaurants. Plus, in order to differentiate themselves, each farm tends to add something extra to their offering. In fact, you don’t even have to like wine to enjoy a trip to the Winelands: Cape Town’s wine farms offer experiences for all, from families and sports fans to history lovers and foodies.

If you’re staying in Cape Town itself, and only have time for a day trip to visit some wine farms – well, you really are spoiled for choice here. The Cape Winelands district, which stretches north-east from the city limits, has 148 wine farms alone. You can visit wine estates on self-drive or guided tours, organised events, the touristy fun of hop-on, hop-off buses, or to really get into the spirit of things, Franschhoek’s Wine Tram.

With so many to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to visiting Cape Town’s wine farms. Luckily, we’ve narrowed it down for you. All within an easy drive from Cape Town’s central Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, these are the 13 best wine farms in and around Cape Town – picked by Cape Winelands local Alison Budge.

And if you have time to explore for a little longer, why not book a stay in one of the beautiful small towns of wine country? Spend a night or two exploring the historic and rural Tulbagh and Riebeek Kasteel areas. Head to Darling, and try and fit in a visit to Evita se Perron, the local theatre and museum for some wonderful South Africana. Visit Elgin up and over the magnificent Sir Lowry’s Pass. And don’t miss the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, just outside the whale-watching haven of Hermanus, along the Southern Coast.


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Cape Town’s best wine estates

Wine region: Durbanville

How far? 13 miles

For magnificent views of Table Mountain, head north of Cape Town to De Grendel Wine Estate. Sip their signature sauvignon blanc from the long, glass-encased veranda and gaze across the vineyards to the mountain, the city and the Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day, you can see all the way across the peninsula to False Bay.

Besides the views, draws here include the selection of wine-tasting experiences and guided cellar tours, and the contemporary Cape cuisine in their fine-dining restaurant. There’s a farm tour in a safari vehicle for the adventurous, where guests are given a history of the farm while being introduced to local antelope species. There’s even a helipad for the well-heeled.

Wine region: Durbanville

How far? 13 miles

The striking and modern cellar building on the top of the rolling Durbanville Hills also offers exceptional views of Table Mountain and Table Bay. This family-friendly venue has a host of indoor and outdoor tasting areas, from a chic tasting lounge to relaxed meals in the shade of olive trees from the Olive Grove Bistro. You can try the wines on their own or pair them with South African delicacies such as cheese, dried fruit, chocolate or biltong.


Wine region: Constantia

How far? 13 miles

Groot Constantia is South Africa’s oldest wine-producing farm and has been crafting legendary wine since 1685. Situated on the eastern side of Table Mountain, Groot Constantia overlooks False Bay and the magnificent views match the top-quality wines that are still produced here, after more than 330 years. It’s easy to access as part of the hop-on hop-off City Sightseeing red bus tours and you can while away a few hours visiting the historic manor house and wine cellars, enjoying a tasting (with a chocolate pairing if you’d like), wandering the magnificent grounds or eating at one of the two restaurants.

Wine region: Constantia

How far? 21 miles

Looking over the other side of Table Mountain, towards the Atlantic Ocean, is Cape Point Vineyards, set against the slopes of the famous Chapman’s Peak. The ocean breezes cool the vineyards and are partly responsible for the delicious sauvignon blanc produced here. The idyllic lakeside setting makes for a perfect spot to enjoy a crisp white with some sushi as you watch the sun set over the water. Enjoy a meal at the à la carte restaurant with outdoor seating and stunning views, gourmet picnic baskets, or the family-friendly courtyard bistro. There’s also a weekly community market on Thursday evenings, a favourite with locals.


Wine region: Stellenbosch

How far? 25 miles

Meerlust Rubicon is rightly recognised and respected the world over: this complex and characterful red blend is simply delicious. All the wines here are produced by grapes grown on the estate by the award-winning eighth generation of the Myburgh winemaking family. You’ll try the wines in a classic, old-style cellar, accompanied by knowledgeable cellar staff. There’s no family entertainment or other distractions here – this place is for serious wine lovers who appreciate exceptional quality.

Wine region: Stellenbosch

How far? 25 miles

As well as its picturesque setting, historic Manor House and rural atmosphere, Zevenwacht is great for its wide range of activities and fun. First up: its well-known and loved wines, sampled in the Tasting Centre, with the barrel cellar providing the perfect backdrop. There’s a range of tasting experiences and pairings, including a children’s tasting of grape juices and chocolates (cute). Other activities on the farm include the Bakwena day spa, music concerts held periodically throughout the year, and walking, running and cycling trails on the 200 acres of conservancy lands.


Wine region: Stellenbosch

How far? 34 miles

Muratie lies at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountains, six miles outside Stellenbosch. The farm is one of the oldest estates in South Africa, complete with tartaric encrusted walls of the old fermentation tanks in the cellar, old carpets, some spider webs for authenticity, and beautiful original art. Over the years, the farm has been guarded by ancient oak trees and fascinating characters, immortalised in the names of the wine ranges.

The wine-tasting experience takes place in those old fermentation tanks in the cellar, where visitors are guided through the wines and the characters they were named after. Muratie is a serious and respected player in Bordeaux blend, shiraz, chardonnay and pinot noir wines, and is known for being the first producer of pinot noir in the region.

Wine region: Stellenbosch

How far? 35 miles

Anyone for bubbles? Sparkling specialist JC Le Roux offers a range of tastings and specially crafted pairings – both sweet and dry, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. That includes a delightful selection of nougat, Turkish delight, cheesecakes and delicious pizza combinations: there’s even a juice and pizza pairing for kids. You can tour the production process for Méthod Cap Classique and other sparkling wines, and stop for lunch, snacks and gift shopping. This estate calls itself “The Home of Celebration” for good reason.


Wine region: Stellenbosch

How far? 36 miles

The proper name of this gem is actually Lanzerac Wine Estate – Hotel, Spa, Restaurant, Wine & Deli, which kind of says it all. Nestled in the Jonkershoek Valley, Lanzerac is a historic landmark and a Stellenbosch icon, synonymous with old-world charm and Cape heritage. The scenery is idyllic and there’s even a health spa if all that wine hasn’t relaxed you enough, complete with a boutique selling swimwear and homewares by local designers. Top it all off with a breathtaking sunset over the surrounding mountains. Heavenly.

Wine region: Somerset West

How far? 35 miles

South-east of Cape Town in the Helderberg area, Morgenster produces remarkable Bordeaux-style wines and top-quality extra virgin olive oils, true to the Italian influences of the original owner and winemaker. Today, his daughter and granddaughter continue the Italian tradition of producing wines and olives together, with a strong focus on Bordeaux blends and single varietals. The contemporary tasting room looks over a beautiful dam, with views of mountains, wetlands and entertaining birdlife. While away an afternoon here with both wine and olive oil tastings while snacking on cheese and meat platters, plus a meal at the à-la-carte bistro.


Wine region: Somerset West

How far? 34 miles

Neighbouring Morgenster is the expansive Vergelegen estate, known as much for its exceptional gardens as for its wines. Check their website for flowering seasons and guided tours; specifically, keep an eye out for the winter-blooming camellia trees, comprising South Africa’s first and only International Camellia Garden of Excellence – one of only 39 such gardens in the world, and the only one in Africa. Of course, the gardens are best enjoyed with a little glass of something. Vergelegen offers an extensive range of wine-tasting options, as well as three restaurants, and plenty of activities for the whole family.

Fairview Wine and Cheese
Photograph: Gibson Photo

Fairview Wine and Cheese

Wine region: Paarl

How far? 37 miles

The delightful Fairview Wine and Cheese farm is a family favourite thanks to its adorable resident goats. The dedicated goat tour introduces visitors to the farm’s goat herd and gives an insight into the daily workings of the goat farm. There’s also a guided walk on the Paarl Mountain, cheese tastings, delicious meals in the Goatshed restaurant and a huge selection of cheeses, wines and local delicacies from the deli. Oh, and on the wine side: the selection here includes some interesting Mediterranean varietals such as Viognier, Tempranillo, and Sangiovese, along with the local classics.


Wine region: Franschhoek

How far? 47 miles

For absolute luxury, head over the mountains to Franschhoek and soak up the magnificence of this estate. The number of things to do here is seemingly endless: blend your own wine, indulge in gourmet dining, stay in the Owner’s Cottage at Grande Provence, check out the original art, go on a guided cellar tour and pair your wines with oysters, nougat or hummus. Grand Provence is on the Franschhoek Wine Tram route and is a real treat for wine lovers and foodies.

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