I was really excited to visit Stellenbosch and Franschhoek during my recent visit to South Africa. One of my (many) travel goals is to tour all the wine producing regions in the world! I know picking the best wineries can be overwhelming sometimes. Especially when there are so many to choose from! This post covers the best wineries in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.
Visiting Wineries in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek
Before getting into the best wineries in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, here are some good to know tips.
- You can easily visit this region from Cape Town but start your day early from Cape Town if you want to visit a few wineries in one day
- Most places accept walk-ins so you don’t have to rush from one place to another. However, it is best to contact them and confirm this ahead of time
- Even if you don’t reserve prior, is it good to have a plan in place and know where you are going ahead of time
- Plan on staying at least 1 night in Stellenbosch or Franschhoek so that you can relax after the experience
Best Wineries in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek
I started off with a huge list of wineries in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek but had to select 4. I will first list out the wineries we visited and then list out the wineries that were in my wish list. These others were not left out because they were not good! In fact, all of these wineries had similar (raving) reviews! I just had to make some tough decisions to not rush the experience. Hopefully I will get to go back and visit the rest someday soon.
The ones I visited are in no particular order. Note that you can book accommodation at the first 3 wineries listed.
Delaire Graff is located in Stellenbosch and is one of the best wineries in this town. From the moment you turn into the winery, you will be greeted with some absolutely stunning views! The drive up to the main building is so gorgeous! Everyone at the winery is welcoming and friendly. They have a spacious tasting room where you can choose from a menu of different tasting options. This also have a highly rated restaurant here as well.
Boschendal is a favorite amongst a lot of people! It is one of the oldest wineries in South Africa. I really loved Boschendal and see why it is a fan favorite! Boschendal offers two wine tasting experiences. The difference in the two is the location. The wine tasting options remain the same at large. Boschendal also has 2 restaurants, a picnic option, a quick eats option and a farm shop.
There were a few reasons I loved Boschendal. 1. the setting is beautiful. With mountain views on one side and seating under big oak trees. 2. I loved the wine tastings. They were SO cheap! (well, by any US standard) and really good! 3. the staff were amazing! So friendly and accommodating. Everything is slow paced at Boschendal. So take your time and enjoy!
Babylonstoren is a wine farm. It is set at the foot of Simonsberg in Franschhoek. It has an extensive garden that you can enjoy! In addition to their tasting room, they also have a farm shop, 2 restaurants and a bakery. The main restaurant is called Babel and has a farm-to-fork philosophy, meaning their menu corresponds with what is seasonally and locally available.
You can checkout their various tasting options as well as snack platters in their airy tasting room.
The Waterford Estate winery is located in Stellenbosch. We really enjoyed our visit here. This winery is located in the Blaauwklippen Valley on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain. The drive up to Waterford is supposed to be very pretty with the Helderberg Montain in the backdrop but unfortunately we didn’t see it due to bad weather.
We did the chocolate and wine paring in their spacious indoor sitting room and it was really great! My mom especially loved the chocolates!
We booked our tasting online but I saw people walk-in. Contact them ahead and make sure walk-ins are ok if you want to play it by ear.
Others on my list I didn’t get to visit and saved for next time!
Delheim Wine Estate
Located in Stellenbosch, high on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains, this family owned winery has been producing wines for decades. They offer wine tastings either outside with a view of Table Mountain or inside the cellar. The best part about this winery, in my opinion, is their cupcake and wine pairing! How cool is that!
I really wanted to go to Vergelegen. Even made it to my final list but we visited South Africa in the winter and had to move some things around to accommodate the not so great winter weather. We ended up visiting a site in Cape Town during the time I had allotted for a visit to this winery. My plan for Vergelegen was to visit its much spoken about garden.
Vergelegen is a highly rated winery. The views here are second to none. People rave about its garden. This winery also offers several different tastings and has a couple of great restaurants to choose from.
Jordan Wine Estate
Jordan wine estate is a bit of a new kid on the block, only having started operation in 1993. But, that does not mean it lacks in good wine! This wine estate offers accommodation and several different tastings (including a visit to the cellars). They also offer experiences like biking and a wine safari, which is an opportunity to ride in an open vehicle through the vineyards.
Jordan Wine Estate also has a harvest experience, which is a behind the scenes harvest tour offered during harvest time.
Spier dates back to 1692 and is family owned. Their picnics on the lawn are very popular among wine lovers. Spier offers a variety of tastings including a wine and chocolate tasting and even a children’s grape juice tasting. They also have a wine blending experience if you want to try your hand at blending wine.
How to Get Around
Rent a Car
You can easily rent a car from the Cape Town Airport. Manual cars or stick shifts as they are known in the US are generally cheaper than automatic cars but automatics are not that expensive. We paid $230 USD for 6 days. Hiring your own car is the cheaper option and will give you more flexibility but remember to have a designated driver!
Franschhoek Wine Tram
This hop-on-hop-off wine tram is a great way to experience the wineries at Franschhoek. This wine Tram offers 7 Hop-on Hop-off lines and transports passengers around a loop of stops allowing you to hop off and experience activities like tastings, lunches and winery visits.
Book a Tour
If you don’t want to drive, you can easily book a tour like the ones below. One thing here though is that you won’t be able to choose the winery as they come pre-determined by the tour.
Where We Stayed
We stayed one night in Stellenbosch at the Van del Stel Manor and I cannot recommend this place enough. The location was super close to downtown Stellenbosch. The manor is really pretty with large and spacious rooms. The parlor and dining area is beautiful! But, what makes this place extra special are the people. Everyone is so friendly and nice! We said we were getting late to check-in and they had arranged everything. They are very responsive and communicative. My absolute favorite part was the breakfast! Especially the melt in the mouth scones!
Check them out HERE
Where We Ate in Stellenbosch
We had dinner at Helena’s restaurant in downtown Stellenbosch. Helena’s is a part of the Coopmanhuijs Boutique Hotel and Spa. This restaurant is ranked in the top 3 places to eat in Stellenbosch by TripAdvisor. They offer a al la carte menu as well as a three course menu consisting of an appetizer, main and dessert.
Check Helena’s out HERE
Another place that is constantly ranked in the top 3 places to eat in Stellenbosch is Rust en Vrede Restaurant. This restaurant offers a 6 course menu with wine pairings. It is more expensive than Helena’s but has raving reviews which tells me the cost is worth it!
Constantia Wine Route
There is another wine region called Constantia which is in Cape Town itself. It is the oldest wine region in South AFrica, dating back to 1685. This wine route is comprised of 9 wine estates. You can easily visit wineries in this area using Ubers or taxis from your accommodation in Cape Town.
Groot Constantia is the only winery I was able to visit in the Constantia Wine Route. It is in fact the oldest winery in all of South Africa. Visiting Groot Constantia is very easy. You simply show up and head to the tasting room. There you can buy a ticket for the type of tasting you wish to do. The staff are very friendly and welcoming! You also get to keep the glass as a souvenir. Their last tasting is at 4 pm.
My recommendation is to go to Groot Constantia during a meal time (lunch or early dinner). Their Jonkershuis Restaurant serves South African cuisine and was amazing! They also have another restaurant called Simons which is also popular.
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Love wine? Check out my posts on other wine producing regions below
- Alsace Wine Route, France
- Casablanca Valley, Chile
- Maipo Valley, Chile
- Rhine and Mosel (Cochem and Beilstein), Germany