The four best wineries in the Paarl area!

Paarl is a city and wine region with beautiful wineries. It is located an hour north of Cape Town in the Cape Winelands. Together with Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, Paarl is one of the most important cities in the Winelands. In this blog we tell you all about the four nicest wineries in the Paarl area and share useful tips!Stellenbosch South Africa 5

Paarl: Wine tasting in the Cape Winelands

Our time in the Cape Winelands was definitely a highlight of our South Africa travels! I love wine and almost all of the wineries in this region welcome visitors. Housed in beautiful buildings in the most scenic locations, these wineries are worth a visit even if you don’t like wine at all!

But for me it is of course mainly about wine tasting. At many locations in Paarl you can do tastings, but they also offer wine lunches, wine picnics and walks through the vineyard. It has become a whole industry in itselfStellenbosch 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 Paarl. We also wrote blogs about the 9 best wineries in Stellenbosch and the 9 most beautiful wineries in Franschhoek.

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!Stellenbosch, South Africa 21


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


Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch

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

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 as a city the least, but we did not spend the night here, so perhaps we would look at it differently. But Paarl also has its advantages. It is much less touristy here and you have some of the best wineries in the area. What is also worth seeing in Paarl is the large language monument. Not only a fun interactive museum, but also a place with a great view of the entire region between Paarl and Stellenbosch!


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 past 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 travel guide here.FranschHoek South Africa 2

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.

Most wineries are located a lot further outside the center. So you will often have to drive a bit. The mix with 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.


Our 4 favorite wineries in Paarl

Avondale – small but special winery in Paarl

After a long driveway, you arrive at the Avondale Wine Estate. Located in a beautiful white building, in Dutch style, overgrown with ivy. When you step inside you enter a modern space and you are warmly welcomed.

This winery makes very nice wines. We do the Essential tasting where we taste four wines from the middle segment. There is also an extraordinaire tasting, 7 special wines. The wines we drink here in the shade on the veranda are nice and fresh and easily accessible. The Sommelier has a passion for his profession and for his native Zimbabwe, which he misses very much. Many of the sommeliers are originally from Zimbabwe (or Zim as it is abbreviated here). They have come to South Africa for a (better) paid job.

The sommelier also speaks fondly of Avondale. About how old the house is, how people look for the most sustainable way to produce wine and about lunch options. Before we leave we slip into the small associated shop where we buy some cheeses for the evening. A successful visit! Click here for the location of this winery in Paarl.

  • Tasting possible: yes five different tasting options
  • Restaurant available: yes, at restaurant Faber. You also have picnic options.
  • Hotel present: no
  • Prices: the tastings vary in price, most wines are not cheap.
  • How long to drive to Paarl: 10 minutes drive

Laborie – Wine estate with great restaurants and picnic options!

Laborie is a beautiful wine estate on the edge of Paarl. Like many wineries, there is much more to do here than just taste wine. Restaurant Stoep recently opened which is a really nice place. There is also a cocktail bar called Suzanne, a large deli and you can have wine picnics here with a view of the vineyards.

In terms of activities, there is more than enough to do here, including mountain bike trails and various hikes. In winter you can easily hike from the vineyard to the Paarl language monument. In the summer this is less recommended because of the heat but also the chance of encountering snakes. And finally, you can also spend the night in one of the various beautiful suites and accommodations that Laborie has.

But above all, this location is of course about the wines. And they are not bad at all! In the super chic tasting room, you can choose from two tastings. The option to taste the five wines from the Laborie Estate Range, or the option to taste their three sparkling wines. We did this first one and enjoyed the Chenin Blanc the most. Also very nice here is how enthusiastically our sommelier talked about the wines. She had a lot of knowledge and loved to share it! Click here for the location of this winery in Paarl.

  • Tasting possible: yes, as described above.
  • Restaurant available: yes, Stoep and Suzanne.
  • Hotel available: yes, there are several options to stay overnight in Laborie, click here and here for more information.
  • Prices: both tastings cost 80 Rand per person.
  • Driving time to Paarl: 15 minutes

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!


Vrede en Lust – Winery with the best wines in Paarl

In terms of wines, we found this winery to stand out enormously! We drank some of the most delicious wines we have ever drunk here. Among other things, we tasted two great wines; the Blanc Fumé from 2019 and the bullet mountain Chenin Blanc Vinted from 2019. All this on the advice of the sommelier, who was very knowledgeable! We liked them so much that we took a number of bottles home with us, while we only had very limited space in our luggage!

The winery is quite large, but still feels intimate. That is entirely due to the wonderful staff. They welcome you very warmly and tell you everything about the wines. We visited Vrede en Lust because good friends were considering getting married here, something that often happens at wineries in South Africa. So if you are looking for a unique location to get married, we can recommend Vrede en Lust. We walked around and looked at the rooms and the different wedding locations and they all looked very cool! Click here for the location of this winery in Paarl.

  • Tasting possible: yes, you can choose the wines you want to taste and there are also 5 different tasting options (including a cheese and chocolate tasting)
  • Restaurant available: yes, Savoye is the modern Spanish restaurant and there is also Lust bistro and bakery for a more casual lunch.
  • Hotel present: yes, the Vrede en Lust hotel. Click here for more information or to book an overnight stay directly.
  • Prices: The prices here are not very high, but not very budget either. You can do a tasting from R90 (€4.60) and a bottle of wine from R120 (€6.10).
  • Driving time to Paarl: 15 minutes

Babylonstoren – Winery with good restaurant in Paarl

Babylonstoren is a large wine estate with gardens, restaurants, shops, hotels and more. You can enjoy yourself here for a whole day! Actually, you don’t necessarily come here for the wine, but for everything around it. We ate a delicious lunch at restaurant Babel, we enjoyed the farm shop, we walked through the herb gardens and along the maze and we could have spent much more time here.

We drank the Babylonstoren wine during dinner, but did not do a tasting here. The wine we drank was the Babylonstoren Viognier. This one was really delicious and the service very warm and welcoming. Next time I would be curious about the wine tasting here and maybe see what kind of workshops there are to do during the day. They also produce tea and olive oil (of the latter you also have tastings). And there are also wine cellar tours to book. Click here for the location of this winery in Paarl.

  • Tasting possible: yes, the seven standard Babylonstoren wines are included in a tasting, but it is also possible to add even more special wines at an additional cost.
  • Restaurant available: yes, there are several restaurants, Babel, Greenhouse and the Bakery.
  • Hotel present: yes, the beautiful Babylonstoren hotel. Click here for more information or to book directly.
  • Prices: the prices here are not low. A tasting is not necessarily very expensive, but you pay entrance to enter the wine estate and the bottles of wine themselves are not cheap.
  • How long to drive to Paarl: 10 minutes drive

Other wineries in Paarl that we would like to visit

We are definitely not done with Paarl yet! Next time we will visit the following wineries in Paarl.

  • Spice Route
  • Doolhof Wine Estate (not in Paarl but just north in Wellington).
  • Noble Hill Estate
  • Fairview Wine and Cheese

Another fun location with amazing wineries nearby is Montagu. Read all about this place in our Montagu blog


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