It’s summertime and the winelands living is very easy. Think long days spent lounging in the sun, Cape Dutch heritage buildings as your backdrop, cold white wine flowing, a gorgeous picnic laid out in front of you. There’s almost nothing better I can think of.
If you’ve been to winelands and had the whole “wine tasting in the cellar” experience enough times, you might be interested in these ten unusual things to do in the winelands this summer.
1. Visit Kayamandi
The township of Kayamandi on the outskirts of Stellenbosch is home to a vibrant community who welcome visitors. Take a tour with local guide Thembi from Bites and Sites and learn about how things run in a community you probably don’t know anything about. Then enjoy a home cooked lunch of pap, chakalaka and homemade ginger beer in the kitchen of one of the local ladies.
2. Walking tour of historic Stellenbosch
As one of South Africa’s oldest towns, Stellenbosch has a rich history and a collection of beautifully preserved historic buildings that line the streets of the quaint town. A walking tour with Bites and Sites includes an overview of the town and it’s stories and a few stops for snacks along the way.
3. Wine safari at Jordan
One of the most beautiful farms in Stellenbosch, Jordan has it all. The views are insane, the wine is phenomenal and the award-winning Jordan Restaurant is right there when you get hungry. The wine safari includes hopping on the back of a Land Rover and heading up into the vineyards, where you have a breathtaking view that stretch all the way to Table Mountain. The perfect place to taste their award-winning wines.
4. Wine blending and Boerebraai at Middelvlei
Middlevlei is a relaxed and laid back farm with a really chilled approach to wine tasting. Their wine blending experience is so much fun. The best part is when you open up the bottle you yourself blended a few months down the line and you’re reminded of what a great time you had. They also serve a hearty and super delicious traditional boere braai including a selection of meats and salads and these little pumpkin cakes which are too good to share.
5. Sunday lunch at The Table at De Meye
A healthy, delicious lunch under the trees is the perfect way to end the weekend. Sunday lunch at The Table at De Meye is one of my favourite things to do. The food is delicious and often grown right there, on the farm. The wines are yum and affordable and a tasting under the trees makes for a nice change when you’ve had enough of dark tasting rooms.
6. Salt and wine pairing at Fleur du Cap
You’ve probably done a food and wine pairing before and not even taken notice of how much salt can influence your palate. At Fleur du Cap, you can taste six wines paired with six salty treats – each infused with a unique salt from around the world. Pink salt, black salt, volcanic salt. It’s a great way to learn about your own tastes and palate.
7. Bio-dynamic farm tour at Waterkloof
If you’re anything like me, you’ll find the dio-dynamic tour at Waterkloof fascinating and quite moving. It’s a really interesting look at the way wine farms are farming their land and how small changes and bio-dynamic practises not only protect the environment, but improve the quality of wines too. It doesn’t hurt that the farm is jaw-droppingly beautiful and the wines are absolutely delicious. Not to mention the restaurant, which should absolutely be on your to-eat list.
8. Garden walk at Babylonstoren
The gardens at Babylonstoren are like some kind of magical fairy land. They are immaculately kept and it’s such a treat to spend the day strolling through them. When you get hungry, there’s the beautiful Greenhouse or the famed Babel. Food is fresh, grown locally and served beautifully. The whole place is an Instagram post waiting to happen.
9. Sweets and wine pairing at Lourensford
If a salt and wine pairing isn’t your thing, then maybe the sweets and wine pairings at Lourensford are for you. The turkish delight and wine pairing is too delicious for words and the farm is also absolutely lovely, so you shouldn’t leave before exploring it. They have a weekend market which is worth checking out, too.
10. Bubbly tasting at Chabivin
Bubbly fans will be frothing over the experience on offer at Chabivin. It’s a small farm with a production of excellent South African MCC and a selection of imported Guy Charbaut French Champagne. This is a nice one to visit if you’ve already done the major farms like JC Le Roux and Spier.