The best wineries of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek in South Africa!

South Africa is one of the most famous wine-lands. The country produces the most delicious wines. Much of the wine produced in South Africa comes from the Cape Wynland wine region. This is a district north of Cape Town, with wine regions such as Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Here you will find dozens of wineries, many of which you can also visit. A visit to a winery can consist of a wine tasting, but also a tour, picnic or extensive lunch. In this blog we tell you all about the nicest wineries in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.Stellenbosch South Africa 7

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek (Cape Winelands)

One of our highlights while in South Africa was our stay in Stellenbosch. Every day we went out to visit different wineries. Most vineyards in the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek area are open to visitors. They are housed in beautiful buildings, from centuries-old Dutch-style houses to ultra-modern structures, always overlooking the rolling vineyards, surrounded by mountains.

Not only the environment and architecture of the wineries are worth seeing. Tasting the wines, with wineries organizing extensive tastings, wine lunches, dinners and picnics, is great fun too! Very different from Europe, most wine companies in South Africa are really focused on visitors. Including shops that sell wine, delicious food and lifestyle products, vegetable gardens, various restaurants and sometimes even with accommodation options. This makes visiting vineyards in South Africa really fun. We easily spent six full days walking around between the grape vines, eating and drinking.Stellenbosch South Africa 1

Cape Winelands (Cape Wynland)

The Cape Wynland (or Cape Winelands) is one of the most famous 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 the Cape Winelands. In addition, we also name a number of very popular wineries. We provide more information about a great base to visit the Cape Winelands, the cities of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.

If you want to explore the Cape Winelands yourself, just like we did, we recommend that you rent a car. Do you want to rent a car without hassle? Then opt for a car via Sunny Cars. With Sunny Cars we often book rental 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

Will you be making a road trip through South Africa? Then read our blog for South Africa tips!

Stellenbosch in South Africa

Stellenbosch is the university city of South Africa. This makes it a bustling city full of students who visit the coffee shops, restaurants and bars. The city is not very big and is located in the middle of a valley, surrounded by mountains and vineyards.

For us this is the ultimate base to visit the wineries in South Africa. There are plenty of charming B&Bs to spend the night here. In addition, the city is safe and fun to walk around in the evening and have a bite to eat. You are close to a number of vineyards and even though there are many tourists here, it does not feel too touristy.

Read here soon an extensive travel guide about Stellenbosch.

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Franschhoek in South Africa

Franschhoek, like Stellenbosch, is situated in a beautiful valley, surrounded by vineyards and mountains beyond. However, it is much smaller than Stellenbosch and it feels a lot more touristic. The main street is full of shops and is really aimed at foreign visitors. This causes a lot of crowds. You will also come across the wine trams that go past the various wineries.

Franschhoek itself is funny to have seen but certainly not a must. However, the wineries (and restaurants) that are nearby, are a must! If you are staying in Stellenbosch, you will be in Franschhoek in 20 minutes (by car), so it is certainly not necessary to have accommodation here.FranschHoek South Africa 2FranschHoek South Africa

Wine tram in Franschhoek

From Franschhoek you can visit 25 different wineries by 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 wineries that we describe below, take a good look at the timetable to see on which days which routes go to these wineries.

We skipped the wine tram ourselves. We preferred to go to the different wineries on our own and had the time for this.

Which is more fun: Stellenbosch or Franschhoek

Phew, how we doubted beforehand: should we stay in Stellenbosch, or book a hotel in Franschhoek? Or would we spread our six days across all two locations? In the end we chose to stay in Stellenbosch and go to wineries in the Franschhoek area by car. And what a good decision that was! We liked Stellenbosch much more than Franschhoek. And we also recommend that you choose Stellenbosch as your base!

As described above, we liked the atmosphere in Stellenbosch much more. It feels less touristic. In addition, almost all wineries are not in the center of Stellenbosch or Franschhoek and a car or taxi is needed to visit them anyway. So your choice doesn’t have to depend on that.

A sidenote: if you want a wine tram so that you can visit several houses in one day without driving a car, then you depart from Franschhoek. But that is also not complicated, you can be in Franschhoek in 15 minutes by taxi.

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

Our favorite wineries in the Cape Winelands

Below you will find our favorite wineries in the Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. We also name some wineries that are very popular or well-known.

Cape Wynland Tip: if you prefer not to visit a winery yourself and arrange everything yourself, consider booking a tour through Get Your Guide. Click here for an overview of all tours in the Cape Wynland.

Wineries in the Stellenbosch area

Jordan Wine Estate – Beautiful relaxed winery in Stellenbosch

After a bumpy road between the wineries, you will reach Jordan Wine Estate. This winery overlooks attractive gardens and a large pond. Everything is in perfect order and flowers grow everywhere. The atmosphere is relaxed and not too fancy. This winery is certainly not small, but in terms of commercial options it is a lot smaller than, for example, Boschendal or Spier. And that creates an intimate atmosphere where they spontaneously gave us a short tour and showed a little more of the wine production process at Jordan Estate.

In addition to the tour, we taste seven delicious wines with a chocolate pairing. Really very tasty! If you want to have lunch or dinner here, it is wise to make a reservation. We would have loved to have lunch on the beautiful terrace of The Cellar Door (where they serve a kind of all-day breakfast menu), but the restaurant was completely full.

Click here for the location of this winery in Stellenbosch.

  • Tasting possible: yes, there are several options, from wine tastings with matching chocolate or cheese, to guided tours with matching wines.
  • Restaurant on site: yes, three different restaurants plus a picnic option.
  • Hotel present: yes, the Jordan Suites. Click here for more information or to book directly.
  • Prices: Average, this winery is not on the expensive side, but certainly not very cheap either.
  • Driving time to Stellenbosch: 18 minutes

Read our Cape Town blog full of tips about what you can do in Cape Town in 5 days!

DeMorgenzon – Classic winery in Stellenbosch

A two-minute drive from Jordan, you will find the classic winery DeMorgenzon. This winery is known for the vines that receive very special attention: classical music is played for them. Boxes hang between the grapes where the sounds of Beethoven come out. In this way, the DeMorgenzon winemaker hopes to make even better wines.

Here we taste five different, tasty wines that we could choose ourselves. You pay a small amount per wine you choose. So you can decide for yourself how extensive and expensive the wine tasting is. The sommelier who helps us knows a lot about the wines and while drinking we look out on a gigantic garden. Wild flowers grow everywhere and the garden is a lot less cultivated than at other wineries. Nice to walk around the garden, along the pond, sometimes with a view of the mountain ranges and even Cape Town in clear weather.

This winery is really about the wines. You will not find a restaurant, hotel or other fuss here. Purely tasting and buying the wines is possible here. Click here for the location of this winery in Stellenbosch.

  • Tasting possible: yes, you choose the wine yourself
  • Restaurant available: no
  • Hotel present: no
  • Prices: the wines are certainly not cheap, think of a minimum of 20 euros per bottle. You can make the tasting itself as expensive but also as cheap as you want, because you decide which and how many wines to taste.
  • How long to drive to Stellenbosch: 20 minutes

Avondale – small but special winery in Stellenbosch

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 Stellenbosch.

  • 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 Stellenbosch: 12 minutes drive

Rainbow’s End – Our Favorite winery in Stellenbosch

After a great route, through vineyards, grass fields and other countryside, we drive closer and closer to the Hottentots Holland mountain range (yes, this mountain range is really called that!). We have already driven past a number of other wineries and wonder if we are in the right place. But then we see a small sign indicating Rainbow’s End. Yes we are here!

It also takes a while to find the entrance, but when we have found it and step through the door, we see the great view. This winery is located near the mountains and therefore has the most beautiful view (in my humble opinion) of all wineries we have visited so far. It’s really great! And that’s not the only thing that makes this winery so much fun! Rainbow’s End is a small family winery. No big commercial intention here with several restaurants. No, here the son of the owner fills our glasses and tells us all about this location and their wines.

The Malan family bought this winery in 1979. After years of making wines and planting extra hectares, they have now specialized in red wine. And what a wine! Wonderfully full, rich, but balanced wine. We are big fans!

And so we see the sun slowly disappear behind the mountains, nibbling on some bread and sipping on the umpteenth glass of red wine, we continue to enjoy! Click here for the location of this winery in Stellenbosch.

  • Tasting possible: yes you have the option to choose 5 wines.
  • Restaurant available: no, but you can order cheese boards.
  • Hotel present: no
  • Prices: for five wines you pay R150 (€7.50). That’s not cheap. The wines here are not cheap either.
  • How long to drive to Stellenbosch: 20 minutes drive

Tokara – Most popular winery in Stellenbosch

If you ask people which winery you should visit in Stellenbosch, you will ALWAYS get Tokara as a recommendation. This is therefore the first winery we visit during our stay here. Through an impressive driveway we arrive at a large modern building. It is very hot outside so the air conditioning that meets us when we step inside is wonderful. In several rooms we see people having lunch and wine tasting, surrounded by art. The open front with large windows overlooks a beautiful garden with thousands of vines behind it.

We do an estate range tasting in the shade on the balcony; five accessible wines. I have to get used to drinking wine early in the morning, but I quickly enjoy the delicious flavors. This winery is known for its red wines, which are very tasty and full. It is important to mention that a visit does not feel very personal. Not surprising with such a large commercial company and not disturbing either. Combine a visit to this winery with another smaller winery for a good balance. Click here for the location of this winery in Stellenbosch.

  • Tasting possible: yes, you can choose the wines you want to taste. There are also cheese plates.
  • Restaurant available: yes, there is a nice Deli-like restaurant with breakfast and lunch dishes. The prices are relatively high. You also have the more upscale Tokara restaurant.
  • Hotel present: no
  • Prices: the wines are not budget, but the tastings are quite well priced.
  • How long to drive to Stellenbosch: 10 minutes drive

Wilderness is one of the nicest places along the Garden Route. Read all about this town in our blog!

Delaire Graff – most upmarket winery in Stellenbosch

Now you just read about Tokara and that was already chic, but Delaire Graff is just that little bit extra. This super chic winery is located opposite Tokara and here you will also find a beautiful driveway, followed by a beautiful building. This time with a very long corridor full of art, a number of chic areas for dinners and then a large terrace where you can do tastings.

No matter how beautiful, chic and exuberant this winery is, we don’t like it very much. It is too big and too commercial for us. Really a bit of a feeling of mass production, you are helped as quickly as possible, so that you finish your wine as quickly as possible and the table is free again. One cannot tell much about the wines and the gaze is already focused on the next table, which makes everything feel rushed. And that’s a shame because the wines here are not bad at all and the location is beautiful. Well, not quite our thing. Click here for the location of this winery in Stellenbosch.

  • Tasting possible: yes, five different options
  • Restaurant available: yes there are two restaurants, the bistro restaurant Delaire Graff and the Indochine restaurant, with an Asian-African cuisine.
  • Hotel on site: yes, the Delaire Graff Lodges & Spa. Click here for more information or to book directly.
  • Prices: This winery focuses on a wide audience. The tastings as well as the prices of the wines range from a few euros to premium options (they even sell a bottle for R4200; over 200 euros).
  • How long to drive to Stellenbosch: 10 minutes drive

Spier – An inclusive, easy going winery

Spier is a large winery not far from Cape Town. We already knew the Spier wine because it is sold on a large scale in the Netherlands. They produce accessible wines and you can do tastings here. In addition, you will find beautiful gardens, multiple restaurants, shops, art, fun activities for children and picnic options. More than enough to do!

What we really liked about this winery was the great diversity of visitors. It felt a lot more inclusive with lots of local South Africans! That is something that we hardly saw at other wineries and that made this visit that little bit more special.

The wine tasting options are quite diverse. We did a chocolate pairing with wine which was nice but not super special. Also keep in mind that this is a large and commercial wine estate, making it less personal. They can’t tell you much about the wines and it’s more about all the nice extras such as the picnic and the play areas for children. Not a big deal, but good to keep in mind. Click here for the location of this winery in Stellenbosch.

  • Tasting possible: yes, 5 different tastings are possible, including one for children (with grape juice).
  • Restaurant available: yes four restaurants plus a picnic option
  • Hotel present: yes, the Spier hotel. Click here for more information or to book directly.
  • Prices: Tastings ranging from R85 to R300 (€4.40 to €15.40).
  • How long to drive to Stellenbosch: 15 minutes

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Hartenberg Wine Estate – Well-known winery in Stellenbosch

This winery is located between Paarl and Stellenbosch. Just like Spier, Hartenberg is a large wine producer and you can also buy this wine in the Netherlands. The wines here are delicious and it is also nice that you can read a lot about the wines, there is a lot of information inside the winery.

The wines themselves are not cheap, but a tasting is priced at R60. There is no real restaurant, which is a pity because there are more than enough terraces and nice places for this. You can order a cheese or charcuterie board here, we did that and that was a bit disappointing. It didn’t all seem to be fresh, a pity because the wines here are good and the location is nice too.

This winery is less chic than other wineries in terms of visits. Think plastic chairs and everything a bit old/corny. It is therefore not the number one place in Stellenbosch, other wineries that we name here we liked much more! Click here for the location of this winery in Stellenbosch.

  • Tasting possible: yes
  • Restaurant available: yes, for lunch (reservations recommended). Picnics are also possible.
  • Hotel present: no
  • Prices: For a tasting you have a budget (R60), premium (R100) and luxury option (R350). The wines themselves are not very cheap.
  • Driving time to Stellenbosch: 12 minutes

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A must visit in South Africa to relax is the beautiful town of Montagu! Read more about this place in our travel guide!

The nicest 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 Stellenbosch: 30 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 Stellenbosch: 15 minutes drive

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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 on the terrace or in one of the beautiful classic rooms. The wines are tasty, but we didn’t find them super special. Click here for the location of this winery in Franschhoek.

  • Tasting possible: yes there is one wine tasting to do. It is best to book this in advance (just like the hike)
  • Restaurant available: yes, however, the restaurant will not be open again until 2024 as it is being renovated. There is also a bakery.
  • Hotel present: no
  • Prices: This winery is affordable. A tasting costs R60 (€3.00) and the bottles start from R99 (€5.00).
  • Driving time to Stellenbosch: 25 minutes

The nicest wineries in Paarl

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 Stellenbosch: 22 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 Stellenbosch: 25 minutes drive

Do you have any other tips for nice wineries in the Cape Winelands?

Well that was it! Our overview with 13 different wineries in the Cape Winelands! We hope to go to Stellenbosch again in December and then expand this list even further! If you have any tips in the meantime, please let us know!

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