South African Wine Tour and Tastings from Cape Town

Who doesn’t love a good Wine Tour?? Don’t try to answer that because it was a rhetorical questions. The correct answer is everyone.

IMG_8175Our trip to Cape Town could not have been complete without getting to experience the famous wine region located just outside of Cape Town. We booked our tour with City Sightseeing South Africa – the same company that does the hop on hop off tour and other really great tours.

Our tour included three different wine tastings from different vineyards, tours of 2 different wineries, all transportation to and from Cape Town and all the wineries, and free time in the picture perfect small town, Franschhoek.

We caught our first bus from the City Sightseeing office on Kloof Street, which then transferred us to the station at the V&A Waterfront to meet with the rest of the group and officially begin this wonderful tour.

Stop 1: Backsberg Wine Estate

Our first stop of the day was at Backsberg Wine Estate for a Cellar tour followed by a Wine and Chocolate Pairing. We were all greeted at the winery with a welcome glass of sparkling wine (they can’t Call it champagne since it is not made in the champagne region of France).IMG_2766

The kind of funny part of this was watching everyone, me included, swirl the sparkling wine before tasting it like you would do before a wine tasting. Our guide after explained for the sparking wine thats actually a no no since it helps release the bubbles … oops!!IMG_8137

The cellar tour was a nice little touch as it was quite interesting to have a look into their wine making process.

Right after we entered this gorgeous room to begin our tasting. We had 4 different wines to taste, each of which were paired with a little chocolate.

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From left to right we tried a Sauvignon Blanc, a Viognier, a Shiraz, and a Pinneau.

I’m probably not the right person to ask, since when it comes to wine I wouldn’t consider myself picky, but they were all really good! Being a red wine girl, my favorite would definitely be the Shiraz. In fact, I bought a few bottles of the Shiraz from this winery in the duty free section of the airport before heading home.

The most unique wine of the day would definitely be the Pinneau. When our guide began explaining this wine he started off by saying I guarantee you all have never tried anything like this before. In that moment I think everyone in the room sort of looked at each other and thought, “Oh yeah, try me.”

We were certainly in for a treat! This wine was actually fortified with Brandy, which also happens to make it about 18%. Yes you read that right, 18%. Let’s just say after a glass of champagne 3 regular wine tastings and one 18% wine tasting we were feeling ‘happy’.

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Afterwards we had about 30 minutes or so to go to the gift shop or just walk around and explore some of the areas of the vineyard.

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I had to take a moment to stroll threw their garden which was filled with all sorts of absolutely beautiful flowers.

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Afterwards we took our last few moments to appreciate the scenery in the vineyards itself. The whole area is quite remarkable as all these wineries sit themselves in the valleys of these huge mountains.

Stop 2: Franschhoek

IMG_8246Our second stop of the day was some free time to explore the town Franschhoek. Once again, this whole town is situated in a little valley surrounded by these insane mountain scapes. If we had longer time in Cape Town I would have loved to have been able to stay a night or two just in this sweet little town.

Here we had a voucher for a free wine tasting at the Bovine Restaurant situated right in town. Once at the restaurant, we decided we would also eat here for lunch, as their menu looked really fantastic!

IMG_2889From left to right our wine tasting included a Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc Blend, Rose, and another Shiraz. All of the wines were from the Black Elephant Winery.

Having the wine tasting with our lunch because as our appetizer and main courses came out we actually had lot of fun rating how we enjoyed the wines on their own as well as accompanied by different foods.

The menu really looked so good we had a couple of things we were eyeing down, so we decided to get the Salt and Pepper Squid to start. For someone who frequently orders squid/ calamari, I think it is almost fair to say this was the best squid/ calamari I have ever had. It was tender, yet crisp and flavorful, and at the same time super light and delightful. The perfect appetizer!

For my main course I was super intrigued and felt almost obligated to had their ostrich burger, which came with a greek salad. Once again super delicious – I don’t think you could have gone wrong with anything on their menu. IMG_2898

My favorite wine here was the Shiraz although I will say when I paired the wine with the food I preferred the white wines.

After our meal we had about 30 minutes to explore some more and then get back to the bus. It was super pleasant walking around the town reminding me almost of when I lived in Lewiston, New York, but if Lewiston was surrounded by gorgeous mountains. There is definitely a unique little charm about this town that is super special.

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Stop 3: Vergenoegd Low Wine Estate

IMG_8277Our final stop of the day took us to Vergenoegd Low Wine Estate for our final wine tasting as well as the opportunity to see the famous duck march- just you wait to see. IMG_2929

This winery is stunning! It definitely felt like the type of place you could sit and hang out at for a bit of time.

Unfortunately I don’t have many photos from this tasting as my phone was dying and they poured each tasting one at a time so it wasn’t really too much of a ‘photo op’ moment.

The wines here were really nice as well, although I will say I think I preferred the Backsberg wines. IMG_2917That being said, I did inquire about shipping some wines back home as a couple of their wines were called Running Duck and reminded me of my grandparents.

Well, when I made my way over to the gift shop to see what the shipping costs might be, it turns out the don’t list the shipping costs because it costs about 328 dollars just for shipping alone. Well at least it was the thought that counts.

Finally time for the Duck March! If I’m being honest this actually happened after our first of four wine tastings.

Yes, a room full of about 30 grown adults pause their Wine tasting to watch thousands of ducks march from the pond to their little farm area.

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There really isn’t a good way to explain this. The whole ‘event’ is super amusing and honestly after a couple of wine tastings it’s quite wonderful. Who’d have thought you could get so many adults SO captivated by thousands of ducks running across a vineyard??

Like I stated above, the whole time my friend and I can’t help but laugh the whole time seeing all these ducks running. The best was probably the man whose job is literally to herd these ducks.

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Nevertheless it really made for a super memorable end to our day trip.

Our wine tour ended dropping us back off at the V&A waterfront. From here you can get on a Sightseeing bus to get back to your hotel, or if you are like us, use it as a way to be able to hang out around the V&A waterfront before heading back.

I hope you enjoyed this little wine time! I strongly do recommend doing some sort of wine tour while you are visiting Cape Town. This one was the perfect happy medium between the expensive private wine tours and the wine tram that allows you to do a more self guided tour.

IMG_8216Even if you aren’t a wine lover I strongly believe that you would still have a great time on this tour because believe it or not there is a lot of history and culture that goes along with the tour and the wine region, and who doesn’t love pretending their on the food network channel tasting these different wines giving you ‘professional’ opinion on the various pairings.

I have a couple other planned posts about these wineries so if this was up your alley stay tuned.

As always, if there are any questions or if this is inspiring you to make Cape Town your next vacation destination, please do not hesitate to reach out for any travel advice or other recommendations.

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