Our 5 Favourite Wine Farms in South Africa
Every day we clink our glasses in appreciation to being located deep in wine country. There’s a vintage or varietal for every wish list and some of our favourite wine experiences include Babylonstoren, Vergelegen, Waterkloof, Tokara and Muratie.
Eat, drink and be mesmerized. Cape Dutch heritage is preserved and restored here in the orchards, vegetable gardens and vineyards of Babylonstoren. The Manor House is impressive, dating to 1777 and the Koornhuis, pigeon loft, bell tower and historic gates are living museums to the past.
The 200 hectare farm provides seasonal vegetables that are freshly served up with delicious flair at its on-site restaurants (most of the 300 varieties of plants in the garden are edible and biologically grown). Spa massages, long strolls and of course, wine quaffing are the order of the day at Babylonstoren.
We love the step-back-in-time experience of Vergelegen with estate buildings that have been home to explorers and visionaries as far back as 1700. The gardens and Camphor trees are nature on steroids, everything greener, lusher and larger than its photographic depictions. When you are hungry, there are picnic lunches and restaurants, and when you are thirsty, there are the sought-after Vergelegen wines, the stories of which are told in the cellar tours and wine tasting centre.
It takes a visionary to transform a sheep-grazing hill and lookout point into a wine farm; and that’s exactly what happened on the slopes of the Schapenberg (translated as Sheep Mountain). Today it is a biodynamic wine farm under the stewardship of Paul Boutinot, with the wow-factor of a gravitational cellar and accolades from the WWF for its championing of biodiversity. We love the old world inspiration of winemaking and especially the fruit (or wines) it bears.
Standing as an impressive centerpiece on the crest of the Helshoogte pass, Tokara is a must-see for the wow factor. Besides award-accruing wines, there are brandy and olive oils to try and a fine art gallery to impress. It is very much state-of-the art technology that transforms the fruit from the vines into unique Tokara wines and we love the deli and restaurant for high quality gastronomy.
If you are keen on history, you’ll be fascinated by Muratie’s story that goes back to 1685 and its association with Governor Simon van der Stel. Nowadays the wine farm is as famous for its Bordeaux blend, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (of which it was the first producer). We love its location in the Knorhoek valley, and one to definitely add to the wine travels bucket list.