Until recently, spending the day exploring wine country was seen to be a costly affair – the oaked estates, sweeping vistas and manor houses exhibiting obvious affluence. While the touring of vineyards may still eat into the most generous of weekend allowances, there are a handful of farms offering the full experience of food and wine to those seeking value for money.
Forget fine dining, as these spots offer up exactly the kind of fare one craves after a morning spent sampling various vintages. Think generous portions, familiar favourites and home-style cooking with local flavour.
Leopard’s Leap Wines – Franschhoek
Nestled in the Franschhoek Valley and featuring some of the most delicious Chardonnay Pinot Noir in the country, Leopard’s Leap is tailored to visitors wanting to explore the area without paying it’s infamous prices.
Offering a range of experiences from cooking demonstrations to food and wine pairings, when it comes to eating, this estate’s largest drawcard is the Rotisserie Restaurant – an eatery that specializes in fare cooked over the coals. Expect free-range chicken, Karoo lamb, rolled pork belly and an array of seasonal salads.
Everything on offer is charged per weight, allowing diners to match their meals to their budget.
Altydgedacht Estate – Durbanville
If rolling lawns and oak trees are your thing, look no further than Altydgedacht Estate in the Durbanville wine valley. A specifically tailored tasting of their wines is a must, whilst a play area keeps the kids entertained.
As far as the food is concerned, expect a selection of sandwiches, meze platters and familiar favourites such as Altydgedacht’s excellent Chicken Pot Pie. Priced between R60.00 and R120.00 per meal, this is affordable slow food at it’s finest.
Their famed Sunday lunch also comes highly recommended.
Dunstone Wine Estate – Wellington
Dunstone Wine Estate in Wellington prides itself in being entirely family-friendly. The expansive play area is a haven for energetic kids, while parents can relax in the fragrant shade of the guava orchard and enjoy Dunstone’s range of award-winning wines.
Having recently undergone renovations to their wine cellar and restaurant, Dunstone now features a roomy, welcoming space that is open to both visitors and guests of the estate. The Stone Kitchen serves up breakfast, lunch and the occasional dinner, but only if the latter is booked in advance.
Expect sandwiches, cheese platters, nachos, local olives and their signature Wild Boar Burger – a juicy patty made from locally sourced boar and topped with Danish blue cheese, apple chutney and rocket. Their shoestring fries wouldn’t be out of place in any top Cape Town eatery either.
Four Cousins – Robertson
No longer synonymous with sweet wines, Van Loveren’s Four Cousins has reinvented itself as a noteworthy destination for foodies and oenophiles alike. Situated at the entrance to Robertson, the newly built brand home offers imaginative tastings of their range of wine, beer, whiskies and liqueurs while an in-house restaurant provides a comprehensive selection of affordable eats.
Opt for West Coast Sole, Lamb Shank or a perfectly seared steak, complete with rustic fries, crispy onion rings and a creamy sauce. They also offer wood-fired pizza, flatbreads and salads.