American philosopher Henry David Thoreau once said, "Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth."
While the idea of travelling seems impossible at the moment, this season of our lives will pass too.
Heading out to the winelands for carefree days of al-fresco dining and wining is one of life’s simple pleasures and we are simply spoilt for choice when it comes to wine estates and picturesque backdrops. Add these wineries, where the wine is chilled, the dining al-fresco and the views simply stunning, to your itinerary in our Trip Planner to travel later and for now, enjoy the views.
1. Louisvale Wines, Stellenbosch Wine Routes
Proudly perched right at the top of the Devon Valley, Louisvale Wines is prime property for panoramic views. A brand-new contemporary tasting room allows for unspoilt views of the lower lying vineyards and pretty countryside, framed by those signature Stellenbosch mountains in the distance.
Their wine offerings are stunning, and you’re guaranteed to fall in love with their Chavant. Take a seat inside, on the wrap-around patio or under the shade of the historic oak tree, Louisvale is the perfect place for a wine-experience in the bosom of Mother Nature.
2. Esona Boutique Wine Estate, Robertson Wine Valley
As you round a long corner on the R317 between Robertson and Bonnievale, Esona Boutique Wine Estate seems to float above the lush green vineyards. On the top floor, Caryl’s Bistro keeps a watchful eye over the Breede River as it meanders around the foot of the mountains. On a typical Robertson summer’s day, you can have your wine tasting on their large wooden deck, with idyllic views over the valley. Sheltered from the wind by large glass panels enveloping the deck in warm hospitality, your views are uninterrupted, and your wines icy.
They offer incredibly generous cheese and charcuterie platters, which is the perfect dining partner for their Frankly My Dear Blanc de Noir Rosé. A little bit off the beaten track, Esona offers travellers and vinos a restful soul-haven between the vines.
3. Haute Cabrière, Franschhoek Wine Valley
The ultimate “belle femme” of Franschhoek,Haute Cabrière is simply breath-taking in its location. Hugging the curves of the mountain face on the Franschhoek Pass, their stunningly understated new tasting venue humbly diverts all attention from its presence to the majestic fynbos that surrounds it, embracing a low impact approach.
The floor-to-ceiling glass shutter doors allows diners and wine tasters to look out over the whole of Franschhoek, whilst soaking in the classic elegance of the tasting room. With ample outside seating, you can enjoy your bubbles against the backdrop of the valley or enjoy a delectable brunch with a side serving of fresh air. A fantastic venue all year around.
4. Neil Ellis Wines, Stellenbosch Wine Routes
As you start your ascent of the Helshoogte Pass, leaving the hustle and bustle of Stellenbosch behind, remember to take a short left to Neil Ellis Wines. Their state-of-the-art tasting room and cellar is a welcome reprieve from the city, without sacrificing any of the modern-day conveniences. Light, open and airy, the tasting venue offers different styles seating and dining areas, all with views of either the underground cellar or the meticulous rows of vines.
A lovely green lawn, wrapped between the arms of the vineyard, beckons you to enjoy a lazily informal wine tasting under big umbrellas. Pop down a blanket and stretch out under the African sun with the breeze in your face. And when all the fresh air awakens your appetite, remember to order an indulgent cheese platter for lunch. For good measure, make sure not to miss out on their unique pesto and wine pairing experience!
5. Kunjani Wines, Stellenbosch Wine Routes
Driving up the meandering hill to the uber-modern home of Kunjani Wines, you can’t help but feel a little breathless at the first view. Situated in acres of vineyards, the moody signature charcoal and red building stands tall, looking out over the most stunning vista imaginable. Whether you sit inside or outside, at little round tables, on the oversized couches or even spread out across the large dining table, you’ll be sure to fill your lungs with fresh country-side air and a healthy dose of Vitamin D.
With a little dam on the left and sweeping expanses of vines to the right, you’ll feel completely removed from city-living, especially with a glass of Stolen Chicken Rosé in hand. Do yourself a favour and indulge in their R60 wine tasting offer – their wines are simply superb and taste all the better for the charming setting! Kunjani Wines is a serious little gem. Great food, fantastically jovial staff and a beautiful story that spills over into their wines, filling it with passion and a pursuit for excellence.
6. Cape Point Vineyards, Noordhoek
A Sunday afternoon drive to the most south-westerly point of Africa would never be complete without a visit to Cape Point Vineyards at the foot of Chapman’s Peak. Flanked by the ever-so-popular Noordhoek Farm Village, this vineyard is a true gem in the Deep South. Even just the drive up to the tasting room is spectacular as you steadily climb the hill, alongside rolling, never-ending rows of vineyards. Space doesn’t come at a premium here; the popular wooden deck is a great place to have sundowners as you look across the lake-strewn conservation area between Sunvalley and Chapman’s Peak. Noordhoek beach glimmers in sparkling white colours at the horizon, with front row seats to the setting sun.
On a Thursday afternoon, do like the locals and wine-down at the Cape Point Community Market. Food trucks, artisan produce and copious bottles of icy Cape Point Sauvignon Blanc, this market is every reason to venture out to the South Peninsula. With multiple levels of grassy gardens where you can picnic and celebrate, there’s a safe play-area for the kids and plenty of chill spots for mom and dad. The central dam makes an awe-inspiring picture as the day draws long, perfect for couples or groups of friends.