Regional Tasting Tours
Three wine regions tour.
R 1250 pp. minimum 2 persons – Duration 6 – 8 hours
This Full day tour starts with scenic drive north of Stellenbosch to Paarl, where you will be smitten by the charming valley, and the Pearl of Paarl, a granite mountain dominating the area. Paarl made headlines when President Mandela was freed from the Groot Drakenstein prison on the outskirts of the town. We enjoy a wine tasting and cellar tour at one of the local estates.
The Paarl wine district is bordered by the town of Wellington to the north-east, and the mountains of the Groot and Klein Drakenstein and Franschhoek ranges to the south-east. The Berg River, flanked by the majestic Groot Drakenstein and Wemmershoek mountains, runs through Paarl and is the life-giving artery of this wine-producing area. The valley land requires supplementary irrigation in the hot growing season before the harvest, but vineyards on the eastern slopes, having better water retention, frequently need none at all.
A large variety of grapes are grown in Paarl, of which Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc have the best potential.
From Paarl, we’ll continue north-west to the scenic village of Franschhoek, near the Drakenstein Mountains. It was established in 1688 by French immigrants fleeing the Huguenot religious persecution in Europe. A monument in the town commemorates the arrival of these early settlers who helped develop wines which were sought after by Napoleon, Bismarck and royalty such as Edward VII, the Prince of Wales.
The Franschhoek valley lies to the southeast of Paarl and is enclosed on three sides by towering mountains: the Groot Drakenstein and Franschhoek mountains which meet at the top of the valley and the Klein Drakenstein and Simonsberg Mountains. Streams from the higher peaks flow down to the valley floor where they converge to form the Berg River, fast-flowing in winter when snow caps the peaks and a mere stream in summer, fed by the Wemmershoek Dam. Here we will stop for lunch and for a wine tasting at a local vineyard.
We’ll then head back to the historical town of Stellenbosch with some of the finest examples of Cape Dutch architecture, and the historic heart of the country’s wine region. In 1679, Dutch East India Company governor Simon van der Stel noticed the fertility of this long valley on the banks of the Eerste River, as being ideal for vineyards. This foresight led to the growth of one of the world’s best wine regions. Naturally we will stop and taste at a Stellenbosch winery.
The mountainous terrain, good rainfall, deep well-drained soils and diversity of terroirs make this a sought-after viticultural area. The rapidly increasing number of wine estates and producers includes some of the most famous names in Cape wine. Stellenbosch, the ‘town of oaks’, is also the educational and research centre of the Winelands. Stellenbosch University is the only university in South Africa which offers a degree in viticulture and oenology, and it has many of the country’s most successful winemakers as alumni.
The district, with its mix of historic estates and contemporary wineries, produces excellent examples of almost all the noble grape varieties and is known for the quality of its blended reds.