Are you looking for the best wine farms and wine tastings in Stellenbosch? No need to look further cause this extensive article covers all of the best wine estates in the Cape Winelands.
When planning your trip to Cape Town you should definitely include a day or two for wine tasting in Stellenbosch! The winelands are only 1 hour driving from Cape Town and are the perfect place to relax and unwind.
There are so many wine farms in Stellenbosch that it can be hard to figure out which ones are definitely worth a visit. Well that’s where I come in. During our stay in South Africa we spent 4 days exploring the Cape Winelands and had an absolutely incredible time doing so.
The Best Wine Farms In Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch is the centre of wine tourism in South Africa. Wines from the Stellenbosch region are known internationally and rank among the best in the world.
Stellenbosch is the name of the local municipality in South Africa which consist of 10 main areas: Franschhoek, Jamestown, Kayamandi, Klapmuts, Kylemore, Languedoc, Pniel, Robertsvlei, Stellenbosch and Wemmershoek.
The town of Stellenbosch is also the main capital of the local municipality of Stellenbosch.
The Cape Winelands is a stunning region made up of three main wine-areas: Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. These valleys produce some of the world’s finest wines, and Stellenbosch continually dominates the South African wine scene in terms of quality.
A little history about Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch was founded in in 1679 and was named after Governor Simon van der Stel. It’s the second oldest settlement in South Africa after Cape Town. Simon was a wine enthusiast and experienced in Viticulture and after a few trips to this region he saw its huge potential in agriculture. Especially the close proximity to the Eerste River was a huge advantage.
After the region was named after him the town of Stellenbosch soon began attracting settlers who took advantage of the almost perfect fertile valley in which to grow grapes.
The Dutch were skilled in hydraulic engineering, and they devised a system of furrows to direct the water from the Eerste River through the town to where a mill was erected.
After its discovery, Stellenbosch was identified as an area in which to settle, with great potential for agriculture. The surrounding areas proved rich in soil and the correct climate for producing vegetables to sustain the ships passing by the Cape of Good Hope en-route to the other Dutch colonies in the East.
Why you should visit Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch is surrounded by majestic mountain ranges and nature reserves which offer magnificent views throughout the year.
Stellenbosch is one of the most famous towns in entire South Africa for its picturesque charm, intriguing history, stunning architecture, oldest university and of course the magnificent vineyards. It became the first wine region in South Africa to establish a wine route as an organized wineries network. The tourists can experience the vine’s product and tune into the soul of the regions Winelands.
The wine route consists of a network of more than 150 wineries – each offering a unique cellar-door experience for the wine-lover and tourist. The Stellenbosch wine route is part of the six most popular tourist attractions in South Africa and is also connected to the global Great Wine Capitals Network.
But Stellenbosch is also a university town, so despite its heritage it retains a youthful vibe. Surrounded by wine farms, the town is abuzz with hotels, wine shops, cafés, restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and museums.
The streets are also lined with some of the most beautiful surviving examples of Cape Dutch, Georgian and Victorian Architecture in the Cape. Dorp Street is a National Monument and taking the time to walk around this old part of Stellenbosch is an idyllic morning venture.
Stellenbosch hosts South Africa’s, oldest Music School, the famous Stellenbosch Conservatoire and there is a collection of Galleries and Museums housing National and International art collections worth viewing.
For the nature lover there are a number of excellent hikes in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.
The best time to visit the wine farms in Stellenbosch
The best time to go wine tasting in Stellenbosch is between September and March. During this time of the year the temperatures are warm and the weather is dry. Another big advantage is that during these months a lot of vintage wines get released.
If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit Stellenbosch, the hottest months are January, February, and then December.
The busiest month for tourism in Stellenbosch, South Africa is January, followed by February and November. Prices for hotels and flights will be most expensive during these months, though you can save if you purchase well in advance. Tourists are unlikely to visit Stellenbosch in June. Those willing to visit at these times will likely find it the least expensive month.
How to reach Stellenbosch
🚗 By Car – The Winelands are only 30 to 40 minutes driving from Cape Town if you use the N1 and N2 route.
🚂 By Train – Metrorail frequently operates between Cape Town and Stellenbosch, plying through the Bellville area. The nearest metro station lies on Adam Tas Road, about 1.5 km away from Stellenbosch’s central square. These trains provide a quick and inexpensive means to get to the heart of Stellenbosch. Peak travel times have more trains plying through this route to offer faster access to the city.
🚌 By Bus – Some of the significant bus transportation providers that operate within the town include Greyhound, Translux, Elweirda, and Intercape. The nearest city of Cape Town offers several bus routes and local cab drives to reach Stellenbosch in short time.
The best wine farms to go wine tasting in Stellenbosch
1. Haute Cabrière – A stunning wine estate in Franschhoek
Perched on top of a hill, the view over the Franschhoek valley from their wine tasting terrace is one of a kind.
Haute Cabrière was established in the Franschhoek Valley in 1694 by French Huguenot, Pierre Jourdan.
These days it’s a family led winery with a passion for crafting memories to share together through quality wines. Burgundian and Champagne varietals are explored by the von Arnim family through pioneering blends and single-varietal wines, generation after generation.
Since their first vintage, Haute Cabrière has specialized in the exploration of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.
Visitors can look forward to seeing Pierre Jourdan sparkling wine being opened with a sabre, and panoramic views of Franschhoek from the tasting room and restaurant. You can also make dinner reservations and enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace while watching the sunset before you go inside for dinner.
Price – They offer several packages ranging from R50 to R200 (€2.5 to €11) and I highly recommend trying their Belle Rose Cap Classique for sure.
Opening hours – Monday to Saturday from 10am until 6pm and Sunday from 11am until 4pm.
Do you need a reservation?
I visited during high season and didn’t have to make a reservation from before. The place was buzzing with people but everyone that arrived was seated. They work on a first come, first served principle but if you want to try the Haute Collection you need to book in advance.
2. Waterford Wine Estate – A wine estate in Stellenbosch so good, we visited it twice
Waterford Estate is situated in the picturesque Blaauwklippen Valley, in the world-renowned Stellenbosch region. Waterford Estate is owned by the Ord Family and developed under the watchful eye of Kevin Arnold, Cellar Master and Managing Partner, since 1998.
The Waterford Estate winery offers a relaxing setting where guests can sit and enjoy various tasting options. With the wine cellar built surrounding the courtyard, guests can observe the workings of the winery, and get a true feel for the wine making process without disrupting the tranquility of their tasting experience.
In addition to their cellar door experiences, they also offer two vineyard experiences, the Wine Drive Safari and Porcupine Trail Walk
It’s the best winery to visit for a pairing of wine and chocolate! With their Wine & Chocolate Experience you will get to try 3 different wines, all combined with a piece of either dark or milk chocolate. My personal favorites are the combination of the Cabernet Sauvignon together with the dark chocolate with rock salt and their desert wine “Heatherleigh” combined with a splendid milk chocolate.
Price – The Wine and Chocolate Tasting is R95 (€5.5) per person. Another option is to go for the Waterford Estate Experience where you’ll taste a selection of Waterford Wines, completed with the Wine and Chocolate Experience for R125 (€7).
Opening hours – Monday to Sunday from 10am until 5pm
Do you need to make a reservation?
We didn’t make a reservation for our two visits but if you want to be sure you can make a reservation online.
💡 TIP – You can purchase their chocolates and wine at the estate and they’ll be shipped to your home address.
3. Boschendal Farm Estate – One of the best wine farms in Franschhoek
Boschendal Wine Farm might be one of the Western Cape’s oldest wine farms, but there’s plenty of new and exciting things happening here!
This magnificent wine farm has a ton of fun activities to offer and you can easily spend half a day here. Go on a farm tour or go for a horse ride. But if you want to experience one of these activities it’s necessary to make a reservation. Another favorite? You can enjoy a picnic on the grass around a beautiful pond.
If you’re looking for a truly unique experience I highly recommend staying at Boschendal for at least 1 night. got a great selection of luxury wine farm accommodation, ranging from the historical Herbert Baker-designed Cottage 1685, to beautifully restored farm cottages in the Orchards.
For €318 you can already stay at one of their cottages with a mountain view! Click here to check for availability and current rates.
Price – It’s €15 for a Manor House wine tasting. This includes 5 wines that you may choose yourself from a certain selection. This is a very good option if you prefer to stick to either red of white wine.
Opening hours – Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays from 10am until 5pm (last easting at 4pm).
Do you need a reservation?
For the regular wine tasting, as mentioned above, it isn’t necessary to make a prior reservation. They do offer special food & wine pairings, which are only served at specific days and times and that most certainly requires a reservation. Think of an Angus beef & Shiraz pairing or a MCC (bubbles) & oyster tasting.
4. Tokara – A boutique wine farm in Stellenbosch
The exceptional wine estate Tokara lies on the Simonsberg mountain and is home to the most beautiful vineyards since the 17th century. It offers unrivaled views over False Bay to Table Mountain and is the perfect place to go for a wine tasting in the Cape Winelands.
From the moment you arrive at Tokara, you will be reminded that “making good wine is a skill, but making great wine is an art”. You can either stay inside or enjoy your wine tasting outside on the terrace overlooking the mountains.
At Tokara they focus on two of the greatest grape varieties in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon blanc.
Price – €8 for a regular wine tasting.
Opening hours – Their tasting lounge is open Monday to Sunday from 10am until I 6pm. The last tasting starts at 5.30pm.
Do you need a reservation?
No, I went during high season and there was even a group of 30 people present and we were still seated right away. The time in between wine servings was pretty long but the views more than made up for that.
5. Middelvlei Wine Estate
Middelvlei Estate is known for its hospitality and special farm atmosphere. It’s a very family friendly place and offers a personal, unforgettable and authentic Stellenbosch Winelands experience for the whole family.
The brothers Tinnie and Ben Momberg are continuing the family’s legacy of winemaking that has lasted for over 100 years. Middelvlei’s wines have won numerous prestigious awards throughout the years
But what they are most famous for is their Boerebraai Restaurant where they serve a daily South African braai for lunch. Ben’s homemade pâté and Ouma Annie’s pumpkin fritters have placed the Middelvlei Braai in a league of its own.
The wine tasting centre, a charming building that was once the horse stable for the estate, is open for wine tasting and sales from Monday to Sunday.
Price – The Middelvlei Braai costs R265 (€15.5) per person. There are also Low carb and vegetarian options available. If you’re only interested in their wine tasting you’ll pay R60 (€3.5) per person for 4 wines.
Opening hours – Monday to Sunday from 10am until 4.30pm for wine tasting. If you want to enjoy the Middelvlei Braai you can do so on Saturday and Sunday from 12pm until 3pm.
Do you need a reservation?
Yes, you definitely need to book in advance. You can do so by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Babylonstoren is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms, set at the foot of Simonsberg in the Franschhoek wine valley. And if you only have time to visit one wine farm on this list then let it be this one!
Babylonstoren has it all! From its picture perfect setting and scenery, every aspect and detail about Babylonstoren evokes a sense of tranquility and wellbeing.
There’s the contemporary Farm Hotel & Spa, the Farm Shop and several Restaurants and all of this is led by the ever-changing tapestry and botanical diversity of the garden.
💡 TIP – For a truly unique experience I highly recommend that you spend at least 1 night at Babylonstoren. They have several lodging accommodations ranging from a hotel, farmhouse, garden cottages and family houses. Click here to check for current rates and availability.
Price – It completely depends if you wish to book an activity or a tour at Babylonstoren. For visiting the gardens at Babylonstoren you’ll need to pay a small entrance fee of R20 (€1) at the ticket office.
Opening hours – The gardens at Babylonstoren are open daily from 9am until 5pm.
Do you need to make a reservation from before?
If you’re only planning on roaming the gardens you don’t need to make a reservation from before. If you want to eat at one of their restaurants or take part in one of their workshops you do need to book in advance.
7. Chamonix Wine Farm
Chamonix offers visitors a seamless blend of unspoiled nature, welcoming hospitality, exquisite facilities and a host of culinary and viticultural delights, set amongst a working wine farm with a history stretching back nearly 350 years.
Since being acquired by German-born entrepreneur and adventurer Chris Hellinger two decades ago, the estate has undergone tremendous improvements, and offers visitors a host of culinary and recreational options in spectacular surroundings.
From the secluded Forest Lodge overlooking scenic Franschhoek Valley to the renowned Arkeste restaurant, from our diverse facilities to the wide array of fine wines, spirits and other delights on offer, everything we do at Chamonix is done with love, passion and an unwavering attention to detail.
Their wine tasting is held at their “Blacksmith’s Cottage“, built in the late 18th Century and converted into a comfortable tasting venue.
Price – Wine tastings range from R70 (€4) to R225 (€13)
Opening hours – Monday to Sunday from 10am until 5pm.
Do you need a reservation?
Yes, booking is essential if you wish to sample some wines at Chamonix.
The best wine tours in Stellenbosch
You will enjoy two wine tastings, a wine and cheese tasting and a cellar tour at Stellenbosch Wine Estate.
Discover South African wildlife in some of the country’s best national parks, traveling along the Garden Route. and go wine tasting along route 62
Witness the wine making process from the vineyard to the bottle and visit the historical towns of Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Paarl.
Enjoy a hop-on hop-off wine bus tour highlighting differences between the various estates in Stellenbosch. You can decide which of the farms you want to visit and how long you want to stay.
Make multiple stops throughout the region at some of the most well-regarded wine estates, enjoying tasting notes and different chocolate, cheese, wine, and olive combination tastings.
Charlotte Lint is the founder of Charlies Wanderings.
Charlotte has traveled all over the world and is based in Belgium where she also owns her very own dental practice.
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