The 9 nicest and best wineries in Franschhoek in South Africa!

Oooo Franschhoek, your wines are so delicious! In this beautiful region, part of the Cape Winelands, you will find huge wineries with restaurants, hotels and more. But also small family wine estates with only limited wines and cozy vineyards, ideal for a wine lunch or picnic with children. The choice is huge, and after visiting this area twice and tasting a lot of wine, we will tell you in this blog what the 9 nicest wineries in Franschhoek are!Wineries South Africa Stellenbosch 13


Franschhoek: Wine tasting in the Cape Winelands

As a wine lover, perhaps the highlight of our trips to South Africa: the time we spent in the Cape winelands. Most wineries in the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek area are open to visitors. They are housed in beautiful buildings, from centuries-old houses in Cape Dutch style to ultra-modern buildings with always a view of the rolling vineyards, surrounded by mountains.

Not only the surroundings and architecture of the wineries are worth seeing. Tasting the wines, with wineries organizing extensive tastings, wine lunches, dinners, and picnics, is also great fun! Very different from Europe, most wine companies in South Africa are really aimed at visitors. Including shops selling wine, delicious food and lifestyle products, vegetable gardens, various restaurants, and sometimes even accommodation options. This makes visiting vineyards in South Africa really fun. One of the reasons why we spent a total of more than 3 weeks in the Cape Winelands!Stellenbosch South Africa 1

Cape Winelands

The Cape Winelands is one of the best-known wine regions in South Africa. This is the region that includes Paarl, Stellenbosch, and Franschhoek. In this blog, we focus on (in our opinion) the nicest and most special wineries in Franschhoek. We also wrote blogs about the 9 nicest wineries in Stellenbosch and the 4 most beautiful wineries in Paarl.

If you, like us, want to explore the Cape Winelands yourself, we recommend that you rent a car. Do you want to rent a car without any hassle? Then choose a car via SunnyCars. We often book rental cars with Sunny Cars within and outside Europe because they have you fully covered in terms of insurance and you can contact them 24/7 with all your questions!Wine tasting Stellenbosch South Africa 3


Are you going on a road trip through South Africa? Then read our blog for South Africa travel tips!


Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl

Below we briefly explain the difference between these three wine locations.

Franschhoek

Franschhoek is located in a beautiful valley, surrounded by vineyards and mountains behind them. It is small and really focused on wine tourism. The main street is full of nice shops, restaurants, and art galleries. You will also encounter the wine trams here that go to the various wineries.

Franschhoek is very cozy and therefore nice to see. There are also many good wineries and restaurants in the area! Read our Franschhoek blog here.FranschHoek South Africa 2FranschHoek South Africa

Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch is the university city of South Africa. This makes it a vibrant city full of students visiting the coffee shops, restaurants, and bars. The city is not very large and is located in the middle of a valley, surrounded by mountains and vineyards. It is a great base to visit wineries. Just like in Franschhoek, it is very safe and you can also walk around quietly in the evening to eat somewhere.

Most wineries are located a lot further outside the center compared to Franschhoek. So you will often have to drive a bit. The mix of students makes Stellenbosch feel less touristy.

Read our Stellenbosch hotspot blog here with the best restaurants in and outside the center of Stellenbosch. And read our travel guide to Stellenbosch.

Stellenbosch South Africa 5

Paarl

Paarl is a somewhat larger town north of Stellenbosch. There is not really a clear center and the city is spread over a large area. We liked Paarl the least and did not spend the night there. But Paarl also has its advantages. It is much less touristy here and there are also nice wineries in the area. What is also worth seeing in Paarl is the large language monument. 


Wine tram in Franschhoek

From Franschhoek you can visit 25 different wineries on the wine tram. This way you can taste wine at several wineries without having to drive a car. There are ten different routes, with each route taking you to eight or nine wineries. It is a “hop on hop off” principle, so you decide how long you stay somewhere. For more information see the Franschhoek Wine Tram website here.

If you want to visit specific wineries, for example the wineries that we describe below, look carefully at the timetable to see on which days which routes go to these wineries.

We skipped the wine tram ourselves. We preferred to visit the various wineries on our own and had the time to do so.

Another tip: If you would rather not visit a winery yourself and arrange everything, consider booking a tour through Get Your Guide. Click here for an overview of all tours in the Cape Wynland.


Our 9 favorite wineries in Franschhoek

Haute Cabrière – Franschhoek’s finest sparkling wine

Winery Haute Cabière is located on a slightly higher plateau, overlooking the valley of Franschhoek. From the terrace and adjoining restaurant you can look for miles with a glass of wine. A real plus for this location!

Haute Cabrière is known for its sparkling wine and that is not surprising because the winery was founded in 1694 by a Frenchman from the Champagne region Pierre Jourdan. They make delicious wines here that are very reminiscent of champagne in terms of taste. And let that be my favorite wine!

During a tasting you can taste the different sparkling wines, or one of the other wines, because they also produce rosé, red and white wine. The winery itself is relaxed, you can easily walk in for a glass of bubbles, but for lunch it is wise to make a reservation. In addition to a modern restaurant, there is also an (above ground) wine cellar where you can taste wines.

Another tip: also walk to the back where you can sit in peace on a bench by a beautiful lake! Click here for the location of this winery in Franschhoek.

  • Tasting possible: yes there are four tasting options
  • Restaurant available: yes there is a restaurant for lunch and also a bakery.
  • Hotel present: no
  • Prices: the tastings range from R90 to R110 (€4.60 to €5.60), you can buy a bottle of wine from R85 and the most expensive wine is R3000 (150 euros)
  • Driving time to Franschhoek: 5 minutes

Stellenbosch South Africa


Boschendal – a winery with all the trimmings in Franschhoek

This accessible winery can no longer be called a winery. It almost feels like a day out, with several restaurants, fruit and vegetable gardens, playground equipment, shops, markets, art galleries, a cinema and more! But also here you can enjoy the wines of this house.

Honesty compels us to say that we did not do a tasting here (unfortunately it was full), but we had a good lunch. That was very nice and we will definitely go back again! The Boschendal wine that we drank with lunch was very tasty, but we cannot say anything about the rest of the wines. Click here for the location of this winery in Franschhoek.

  • Tasting possible: yes, there are tastings at two different locations, where you can choose from more than seven different options. Booking in advance is important!
  • Restaurant available: yes two restaurants, the option to picnic and a farm shop to buy fresh bread.
  • Hotel available: yes, the Boschendal Farm Estate, we were positively surprised by the reasonable prices. Click here for more information or to book.
  • Prices: these are very different. The most basic tasting is R50 (€2.50), the most exclusive tasting is R250 (€12.50).
  • How long to drive to Franschhoek: 15 minutes drive

Wineries South Africa Stellenbosch 2


The ultimate way to visit a winery with children: with a picnic! Read our blog with 7 nice places for a wine picnic in the winelands!


La Motte – A large surprising winery in Franschhoek

Just before you enter Franschhoek, you will see on your left, at the foot of a mountain, the beautiful La Motte wine estate. This winery has one of the most impressive driveways and when you arrive at the entrance after 500 meters, you will be warmly welcomed.

What we loved about this chic winery are the contrasts. Everything looks very classic and a bit stiff, but they do offer a very cool hike between their own grape vines. We did this hike and can definitely recommend it. This way you suddenly experience this winery very differently.

La Motte is known for its Chardonnay, while most wineries in this region focus more on Chenin Blanc in terms of white wine. The La Motte Chardonnay but also the Sauvignon Blanc are well-known in the Netherlands and readily available (even sold at Albert Heijn). A tasting here is fun to do because you can sit outside in the garden or in the beautiful classic rooms. The wines are tasty, but to be honest, we didn’t find them super special. Click here for the location of this winery in Franschhoek.

  • Tasting possible: yes there are two wine tastings to do. We opted for the flagship tasting, the four best wines of La Motte. But you can also go for the classic tasting of 6 wines.
  • Restaurant available: yes, however, the restaurant will not be open again until 2024 as it is being renovated. There is also a bakery with a nice restaurant. We had a lovely lunch of there. 
  • Hotel present: no
  • Prices: This winery is affordable. The classic tasting costs R80, the flagships is 160 R.
  • Driving time to Franschhoek: 10 minutes

Read our Garden Route itinerary blog: with our itinerary for a road trip along the Garden Route in South Africa


Leeu Estate – An extremely chic winery with very special wines

Leeu Estate is one of the chicest locations we have ever been to. It is an umbrella brand of hotels, wineries, restaurants, and art galleries, with locations in South Africa, the UK, and Italy. Their winery in South Africa is located in the middle of the Franschhoek Valley in a beautiful location surrounded by mountains. Upon entry, you have to go through a real ballot (at least that’s how it feels) and normally you are not allowed to enter the site without an appointment. So popping in spontaneously is not an option. After the gate, you drive past perfectly manicured gardens, lots of works of art, and some of the most beautiful views of Franschhoek.

Winery “The Studio”

Once we arrived at the winery “The Studio” we were fortunately received more warmly. Leeu Estate, together with the Mullineux family house, releases several good wines. Half of their products come from the Swartland region, the other half from Franschhoek itself.

We opted for the Leeu Passant tasting: a tasting of wines that only come from the Franschhoek region. And there we drank a Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, a Cabernet Blend, and a very special Chardonnay. The wines are really next level, much more complex and special than the wines you drink on a daily basis. For example, Cabernet wine is made with grapes from the oldest vines in South Africa. And the last Chardonnay is very special because it is expressly exposed to oxygen during the resting process (oxidatively aged). Our sommelier tells all about the wines and takes the time to answer questions.

If you are a real wine fanatic and want to try special and exclusive wines, then this winery in Franschhoek is definitely for you! Click here for the location of this winery in Franschhoek

  • Tastings possible: yes, there are three options.
  • Restaurant available: There are two restaurants on the vineyard, the star-worthy restaurant La Petite Colombe (book well in advance) and the chic restaurant The Dining Room. In the center of Franschhoek you will also find restaurant The Conservatory, restaurant Protégé, and restaurant Épice
  • Hotel available: yes, there are three hotels; Leeu Estates on the wine estate itself and Leeu House and Le Quartier Francais in the center.
  • Prices: The wines here are definitely not cheap, but they are more than worth the money! The tastings cost between 150 Rand and 450 Rand.
  • Driving time to the center of Franschhoek: 10 minutes drive

​Mont Rochelle – Beautiful wine estate in Franschhoek with many facilities

The beautiful Mont Rochelle wine estate, like most wineries, is located in the Franschhoek valley with a view over vineyards, the village, and behind it the Mont Rochelle mountain of the same name. The winery belongs to Richard Branson, so you see the Virgin logo frequently. There are two restaurants, a hotel and a large villa to rent, a spa, picnic options, and therefore the winery itself.

Unfortunately, we did not visit this winery to taste wines, we came to Mont Rochelle to enjoy the delicious wine picnic that they offer. And it was very good! We sat by the water and enjoyed an overflowing picnic basket with friends while drinking sparkling wine. The latter was not from Moet Rochelle itself, because they do not produce sparkling wines, but from a winery a few hundred meters away. We are very curious about the Miko wines, they seem to be really good so we hope to taste them next time. Click here for the location of this winery in Franschhoek

  • Tastings possible: yes, there are 6 different tastings, ranging from the standard Little Rock wines to the more exclusive Miko wines. You can also do a chocolate pairing or a gourmet tasting.
  • Restaurant available: Yes, the accessible restaurant The Country Kitchen and the fine dining restaurant Miko.
  • Hotel available: Yes, you can sleep here on the property. Click here for more information.
  • Prices: Wine tastings start from 80 Rand to 245 Rand per person.
  • Driving time to the center of Franschhoek: 10 minutes drive

GlenWood Vineyard – Winery in Franschhoek with great sushi and views

Behind the first mountains that surround the Franschhoek Valley, in a wonderfully quiet place, lies the GlenWood Vineyard wine estate. All around you, you see fields full of grape vines and high mountains behind them. Baboons, snakes, sphinxes, and leopards live in these mountains. In winter they come down and can sometimes be seen on the vineyard. When we visit Glenwood in the summer they are high in the mountains and the only wild animals we see here are a mother owl with her baby owls in a nest high above the terrace.

On that terrace, we eat delicious sushi with a glass of delicious vintage chardonnay, because that is what this winery is known for. The great Chardonnays they produce here. Are we lucky to see that their wine is sold in the Netherlands by a wine merchant from Vught (our hometown). We’re going to buy a bottle for Valentine’s Day! We haven’t tasted the rest of the wines yet because tasting is not possible with our sushi lunch, so we will have to come back once!

All in all a nice winery, not too slick or hyped but with good sushi and delicious chardonnay. Click here for the location of this winery in Franschhoek

  • Tastings possible: There are two tasting options: “a flight of 5 wines”, the standard wines, and “the Home of Chardonnay” the 5 exclusive chardonnay wines.
  • Restaurant available: yes, the gourmet sushi restaurant has delicious sushi.
  • Hotel available: no
  • Prices: the first wine tasting costs 110 Rand, the second wine tasting 220 Rand. The wines are not cheap, the simplest bottle is 140 Rand, but for the delicious Chardonnay that we are fans of you pay 350 Rand.
  • Driving time to the center of Franschhoek: 12 min

Franschhoek 2


Maison Estate – Beautiful small winery in Franschhoek with an excellent restaurant

Maison Estate is a small winery that actually only focuses on the local South African market. We could (unfortunately) not find the wine at distributors anywhere in Europe, but also in South Africa, they only seem to sell wine online and through their physical location. And that location is beautiful! In the Franschhoek valley lies this beautiful white building that seems to be completely occupied by the associated (very good) restaurant called Chefs Warehouse at Maison. The large garden has long picnic benches with a view of the vineyard and the mountains beyond. There are chickens running around and children playing in the grass.

And even though that doesn’t seem to be the case at all from the description above, this is a chic location! They have found the perfect mix between chic and relaxed, playful and modern. And that creates a wonderful atmosphere where you immediately feel at home.

Chefs Warehouse at Maison

We had an extensive lunch with friends at Maison and ordered the Maison wine arrangement where we drank four different Maison wines. Including the single vineyard Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Blanc de Noir and Malbec. Oooo these wines are delicious. My favorite wine is the Chenin Blanc, nice and dry with shades of apricot and pineapple in the taste. There was only room for one bottle of wine in our suitcase home, and that was it! The food was just as phenomenal as the wine.

Go here! Make a reservation for lunch or dinner and do the Maison estate wine pairing. Really, it’s great! Click here for the location of this winery in Franschhoek.

  • Tastings possible: yes you can choose from 4 wines or 6 wines to taste.
  • Restaurant available: yes, as described above Chefs Warehouse at Maison
  • Hotel available: yes, click here for more information.
  • Prices: for four wines you pay 100 Rand, for 6 wines 150 Rand. You pay 350 Rand for the wine pairing we did. The wines themselves are not cheap, we paid 275 rand for the bottle of Chenin Blanc that we took home
  • Driving time to the center of Franschhoek: 14 minutes

Eikehof –  Accessible winery in Franschhoek for novice wine drinkers

Above all, this family winery is very cute. As the name suggests, there are oak trees everywhere on the grounds of the winery and so you see squirrels running around everywhere looking for acorns. From the terrace, you have a view of the grape vines and, behind them, the mountains that surround the Franschhoek valley.

It is a nice place with lots of shade and a high no-nonsense attitude. Very suitable for a visit with children who can run around. The owner proudly came to tell us more about the wines while we enjoyed a cheese and fruit platter. The wines are very accessible and perfect for a first-time wine tasting. The chardonnay was surprisingly fresh and very tasty. In addition to wine, this winery also produces a port that you can taste. There is a small shop where you can buy fresh flowers, wine glasses and kitchenware. Click here for the location of this winery in Franschhoek.

  • Tastings possible: You can choose from 3, 4, 5 or 6 wine tasting, where you select the wines from the small menu yourself.
  • Restaurant available: No, but you can order cheese boards
  • Hotel available: No
  • Prices: Tastings start at 75 Rand to 150 Rand
  • Driving time to the center of Franschhoek: 15 minutes

Atlas Swift – Exclusive wines on a small boutique farm

This small family business on the edge of the Franschhoek Valley produces exceptionally tasty wines! They call themselves a boutique winery because the emphasis is not on high volume but on a limited number of exceptionally good wines. Atlas Swift focuses on Chardonnays from various regions in the south of South Africa but also produces a collection of red wines inspired by the Bordeaux wines in France. We did a tasting of their four shelter wines, which were delicious and varied from light and somewhat fruity to very heavy and full. The sommelier enthusiastically told us all about the different wines and the labels of the Chardonnay wines because they are very special. They are like small works of art of women’s faces, each representing the wine region where the wine is made.

Not only wine is made here, but they also grow tea, which you can also try during a tea tasting. And beyond tastings, this winery offers another fun thing: a peek into the owner’s private collection of vintage cars. You are free to walk into his garage and there you will see the fruits of the passion he has besides wine. Click here for the location of this winery in Franschhoek

  • Tasting possible: Yes, there is a choice of two wine tastings, the Chardonnay formal range (5 wines). Or the Shelter, informal range (1 white and 3 red wines).
  • Restaurant available: No, but you can order a drink or some snacks.
  • Hotel available: No
  • Prices: The Chardonnay tasting is 190 Rand, the shelter tasting is 160 Rand and the tea tasting is 110 Rand. Not cheap, but more than worth it if you are a wine lover!
  • Driving time to the center of Franschhoek: 15 min

Wineries we would like to visit someday in Franschhoek:

And we are not done with Franschhoek yet either. We would like to visit the following wineries there!

  • Boekenhoutskloof Winery
  • Klein Goederust Wine Farm

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