Thanks to my love of fine wine, I’ve spent A LOT of time exploring Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, two of the Western Cape’s beautiful wine regions. Tasting my way through some of South Africa’s best wine farms is one of my favourite ways to spend time, and a couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to do just that, in a valley I haven’t explored much before.
The Robertson Wine Valley is about 2 hours from Cape Town, and home to pretty much all of my favourite Chardonnays. Seriously, if you’re a Chardonnay lover like I am, you need to block a weekend off your calendar and make your way out to Robertson for a weekend spent swimming through bottle after bottle of glorious Chardonnay, among other great varietals.
Tanagra Guest Farm
We stayed at Tanagra Guest Farm and Winery just outside McGregor (kind of between Robertson and McGregor actually) for the weekend. Our little self-catering cottage had a giant bed, shower AND bath (yay!), fireplace, fully equipped kitchen and patio for morning tea-drinking. It was the perfect weekend hideaway, and I wish we’d had more time to hang out in the sunshine at our cottage, but our itinerary was jam-packed in order to fit in as much Chardonnay and sightseeing as possible.
I’m dead keen to head back in the summer – the pool looked so inviting, but we were there just before Spring arrived in earnest.
De Wetshof Wines
We started our day of wine tasting at De Wetshof, home to a particularly large selection of excellent Chardonnays. The property is beautiful and makes for some special photos, and we walked around the cellar, checking out the architecture (the tasting room building is a replica of the Koopmans-De Wethuis in Cape Town) and learning about the history of the farm. We then sat down to taste our way through the entire De Wetshof catalogue.
If you like Chardonnay, you will love this experience. You’ll get to taste some of the best Chardonnays in the country, and compare wines that are grown right next to each other, in different soil, which have completely different flavour profiles. It’s a really interesting (not to mention delicious) tasting experience.
Must-drink: The Bateleur Chardonnay.
Open Monday – Friday: 08h30 to 17h00, Saturdays : 09h30 to 13h00
Cellar tours by appointment only
Call: +27 23 615 1853
Viloensdrift Fine Wines & River Cruises
For lunch, we boarded a boat at Viljoensdrift, armed with a picnic lunch selection of cheese, bread, cold meats and preserves. We casually drifted down the Breede River, drinking a bottle of wine and soaking up the sunshine. The boat was packed, but it was a really nice way to spend a bit of the afternoon. It gets pretty fully booked, so make sure you get your tickets ahead of time. I bet it’s a real treat in the summertime, when Robertson heat can reach upward of 35 degrees.
Must-do: Pick a selection of picnic goodies from the deli before you hop on board.
Open Monday – Saturday. Check their website for available bookings
Call: +27 23 615 1017
R60 per adult, R20 per child
The next stop on our agenda was the estate that brought us cult wines like the Life From Stone and Wild Yeast Chardonnay, Springfield Estate. It was a beautiful day on the farm, and we tasted their exceptional wines with a view of the surrounding mountains reflected on the water of the farm dam. If you’ve never tasted any of Springfield’s wines, you have a lot to look forward to. I can’t wait to head back for another afternoon in the sunshine, soon.
Must-drink: Special Cuveé Sauvignon Blanc – game changer for a Sauvingon-phobe like me. I even bought a bottle to take home.
Open Monday – Friday 08h00 to 17h00; Saturdays: 09h00 to 15h00
Call: +27 23 626 3661
The last stop on our whirlwind day was at Weltevrede Estate, which was so cool. An underground wine tasting by candle light? That’s right! I’d never tried Weltevrede’s wines before, and having the opportunity to taste them under ground in an ancient wine cellar was something so unique! Really worth a visit!
Must-drink: The Place of Rocks Chardonnay.
Open Monday – Friday: 08h00 – 17h00, Saturdays: 09h00 – 15h30
Call: +27 23 616 2141
We ended up leaving Robertson with a whopping 21 bottles of wine (!!!) so I guess you could say we enjoyed the trip. As we were leaving, we spotted a orchard bursting with tiny pink blossoms and stopped to take some pictures. What a way to celebrate the start of Spring! We’ll definitely be spending more time in this beautiful part of the Cape.
Wine on The River
If you’re looking for an excuse to visit Robertson, Wine on the River is coming up on the weekend of 14-16 October. The festival takes place on the Goudmyn farm, and gives visitors the opportunity to taste over 300 wines from Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Robertson.
Tickets cost R250 for the weekend and are available at Webtickets.