A Travellers Guide to Wine Tasting in the Garden Route
South Africa’s diverse and outstanding Garden Route region has no shortage of adventures and activities to offer travellers with a wide range of interests. Natural beauty in abundance, a plethora of beaches that are distinctively unique, a foodie scene that has produced some world class eateries and a delightful wine route that makes celebrating life with a glass of bubbly in hand an easy affair!
When visiting the Garden Route for a vacation with loved ones, the call to sip a chilled Sauvignon Blanc, full bodied Merlot or fruity Rosé can prove irresistible and once experienced, has an allure that will undoubtedly leave you with a taste for more. Hello Garden Route Director & Sales Manager, Carene, shares a few of her favourite wine boutiques, vineyards and estates across this enchanting coastline, which you can discover at leisure whilst enjoying a stay at your favorite Garden Route holiday accommodation, be it the adventure capital of the Garden Route, Tsitsikamma, the coastal haven of Plettenberg Bay, which produces many of this region’s most exquisite summer selections, Knysna, a tourist hotspot that is ideal for a family vacation, Africa’s Slow Town of Sedgefield, the quaint seaside village of Wilderness, on Kaaimans River, one of South Africa’s best surfing destinations of Victoria Bay, Garden Route’s main city of George, on the sea in Herold’s Bay, the historical Mossel Bay and surrounds or inland, visiting the Ostrich capital of the World, Oudtshoorn.
The exquisite Plettenberg Bay is considered a Wine of Origin region, as well as one of South Africa’s fast-becoming champagne districts. Thanks to the regions cooler climate conditions, mountainous backdrop and coastal setting that ensures a cool ocean breeze to many vineyards and valleys, Plettenberg Bay manages to bring forth unique and stunning wines, sparkling wines and champagnes. Here’s our top recommended in Plett and the Garden Route…
Kay and Monty Vineyards
One of the Garden Route’s first estates to begin planting vineyards, Kay and Monty Vineyards boasts wine evident of the passion and love that its owners have instilled, while continually nurturing both the vineyards and its people. As an award winning boutique estate, it is no wonder that the white wine and sparking ‘champu’ variations produced here are something to savour, with rustic dishes that complement the flavours and set the pace for a magical outing. The old orchid greenhouse, converted into a charming and rustic tasting room, is something to admire, with fireplaces ensuring that cold days don’t keep wine lovers away! Enjoy a cosy visit close to the roaring fire, tasting and feasting.
That Wine Demesne
Home to That Place accommodation in the Crags, That Wine Demesne originated from a love for good wine by the owners, David & Jo Butler and they sure do a good job at it! This is one of the best and easy drinking wines, in our opinion! Demesne, meaning The Lord’s waste, a piece of land attached to the manor and retained by the owner (the Lord) for their own use. There is a total of 1.5 hectares of Pinot noir vines with a current total of 5708 Pinot noir vines and growing. You can enjoy this wine at Fynboshoek Cheese Farm in Tsitsikamma, Bramon Wine Estate in the Crags (the neighboring farm), The Table Restaurant in Plettenberg Bay, Zachary’s Bistroat Pezula Hotel in Knysna and more to come.
Bramon Wine Estate
Award-winning wines, breathtaking views over the Tsitsikamma mountains and fresh, divine cuisine are just some of the remarkable attributes that have allowed Bramon Wine Estate in Plettenberg Bay to become a favourite among locals and visitors from around the world. Famous for producing exceptional non-traditional and tradition Methode Cap Classique bubblies and still wines, while also starting the wine trend in Plettenberg Bay as the first estate so far east of the Western Cape, Bramon Wine Estate has set the benchmark for quality of wines in the Garden Route. In the summer, picnics on the grounds are very popular (Bramon assembles a wonderful picnic basket!), while the tasting room and winery each offer visitors a special setting from which to learn about and indulge in excellent wines. Families with kids and dogs are welcome.
Newstead Lund Family Vineyards
This rustic and elegant wine farm is perfect for intimate gatherings with loved ones, where wonderful wines are in tall supply and flavourful foods (menus are guided by the season, using fresh locally sourced ingredients) add to the experience. Special attention is given to the vineyards of Newstead’s award- winning Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc wine varieties. Newstead Lund is all about the beauty, honesty, surprise and delight that can be found in exceptional wines, as well as in everyday living. When booking a table for a tasting, you can expect a quiet and peaceful setting that is not crowded or busy.
Houtbosch Wines & Craft Beer
The Garden Route city of George is well known for its charming ambiance, small town characteristics and many historical landmarks. Houtbosch displays outstanding vistas of the Outeniqua Mountains, providing a sanctuary of enjoyment to connoisseurs of wine and craft beers. If the idea of tasting interesting, out of the ordinary flavour combinations (in both food and drink), excite you, then this is the place to be – the team at Houtbosch often experiment, always looking to present something that is both delicious as well as different. Most Houtbosch wines are grown at vineyards close by, with the best cold climate conditions closer to the ocean. Sweet and savoury pairings add a fun element to the tasting room experience, while our craft beer tastings range from Devils Peak to CBC.
The seclusion of Herold’s Bay, home to Herold Wines, is ideal for a peaceful getaway, wine in hand and sunshine overhead. Herold Wines is a unique and unpretentious wine farm that embraces the beautiful countryside, with wines ranging from naturally sweet to crisp white, as well as a range of delicious red blends that are ideal for a cooler day. All the grapes used for these wines, bar but one of the red blends, is grown on the estate itself. A small restaurant is perfect for an intimate gathering, offering wine tasting paired with a light menu to accompany the wines, and leaving visitors fully delighted by their experiences here.
Families will love ReedValley Wines, which has plenty of space inside and out for visitors to put their feet up and share wine, while enjoying traditional Portuguese cuisine. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed with a large fireplace, where kids can play safely around the designated play area complete with playground, and adults can enjoy the finer things in life – a sensational glass of wine is never amiss when celebrating a special occasion. The tasting venue building is more than 190 years old, making it a setting with tons of character, just like the quality of wines that visitors can come to expect from ReedValley Wines, located just outside of Mossel Bay, a seaside town that is sometimes referred to as they Bay of Mussels.
Read more about Baleia Wines in Riversdale here.
For an unforgettable wine tasting adventure, enjoy a day of discovery with the Garden Route’s incredible Rock the Route Wine Tour which is guaranteed to leave you feeling connected with the wine scene and wonderful people of the Garden Route! For all your accommodation enquires, contact Hello Garden Route – Your Friendly Experts in Garden Route Accommodation!