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Wine Tasting in Cape Town is an absolute must when visiting the ‘mother city.’ Stellenbosch, one of the world’s most famous wine regions, is just a short drive outside Cape Town and is home to a whopping 183 wineries and estates…! How’s that for a bucket list? I of course wanted to experience as much of a Stellenbosch wine tour route as I could while also still being able to formulate coherent sentences 😛 .
So, my hostel Once in Cape Town suggested the absolute perfect Stellenbosch tour with Wine Flies Tours, which was a full day tour shuttling you around five different wineries! This was the perfect amount of wineries to visit while still maintaining motor function (kindof), and we got to meet real winemakers and have pairings with biltong/meat, cheese, lunch, AND chocolate! How good is that?!
Heading to SA soon? Use my promo code “KIMMIE” to get a complimentary bottle of Little Dry Red with your booking! 🙂
I was picked up in the morning in a van driven by our very knowledgeable tour guide, Ian. He informed us of all the interesting Stellenbosch history and wine facts while chuckling at us as we got tipsier as the day went on.
Read More: If you have more time, there’s another breathtaking wine region in South Africa called Franschhoek, a bit farther out from Stellenbosch. Wine is only one of the many things to do in Franschhoek – it could be worth a few days!
Wine Tasting in Cape Town: First Stop, Vergenoegd
After gathering all our guests, we arrived at our first winery, Vergenoegd, to taste different wines and pair some with different cured meats. Ian told us all about winemaking and history before heading into the scenic outdoor tasting area.
Ian taught us the five S’s of wine tasting – Swirl, Smell, Sip, Savor, and Swallow. He also taught us to breathe in through our mouth after swallowing the wine, and out through our nose. Try this next time you have wine – it honestly helps you get the flavor so much better!
Now, I have always wished I could be the type of wine connoisseur that would taste a wine and think while stroking my chin, ‘hmmm, yes. I am getting faint hints of sandalwood and burnt cashew, with… yes… some cut grass on the finish.” Ha! It’s basically my life goal to be able to pick apart a wine like this, and I tried throughout the day, but in the end you always just have to read the back of the bottle and pick out the ‘hints’ after the fact! I’ll get it one day. 😛
Anyway, ‘biltong’ is (in my opinion) one of the BEST South African delicacies – it’s basically dried & flavored yet still moist meat, and it is DE-LI-CIOUS. We paired some biltong and another dried meat, droewors, with some red wine, and got to witness the winery’s daily DUCK PARADE.
No, I am not kidding. They parade over 1000 ducks around the winery multiple times each day on the way to the vineyard. The ducks actually function to help cleanse the vineyard of worms, slugs, and other insects instead of using chemicals, which is a biodynamic viticulture practice used in South Africa. This is much better than pesticides, and incredibly entertaining! It was one of the strangest and most epic things I have ever seen, and couldn’t contain my laughter.
Vines for days!
Amazing little tasting area at Vergenoegd
Learning about the wines and how the coastal breeze affects them!
Like, an actual duck parade. Look at this.
In my happy place 😉
Wine Tasting in Cape Town: Next Stop, Usana
Our next winery, Usana, was a little family-owned winery only open for scheduled tastings. It was pretty cool to get off the beaten track for a lot of the places on our tour! Usana was where I discovered probably my favorite wine ever. I am a big fan of what you would consider oaky, buttery, or toasty wines, like Chardonnays or oaky reds (I feel kindof fancy as I type this, ha) and they had a few amazing wines that were perfect for my palate! Their ‘the Fox’ cabernet sauvignon was my favorite of the day, so much I had t buy a bottle to take back with me. I am hoping I can get my hands on this wine again!
Wine Tasting in Cape Town: Next Stop, Lunch and Cheeses!
By this time it was almost the afternoon, and after tasting over 10 wines we were all a bit glossy-eyed. Good thing it was now time for lunch! We paired a few wines with a lovely cooked meal at the next winery before touring their cellar and trying some wine right from the barrel! Pretty special, if you ask me!
After driving through the adorable and historical town of Stellenbosch, it was time for our last two wineries. We rolled up to an amazing estate with similar Cape-Dutch architecture to a lot of the wineries, and strolled down some circular stairs into an intimate tasting room. To our delight there were five cheeses on a little plate at each place, and we paired each one with a wine for a specific reason that our winemaker told us. As you can probably guess, it was absolutely delectable. Cheese is my favorite… especially with it’s counterpart, wine!
Pretty much all these wineries had lovely dogs for us to obsess over! Look at that face!
Usana Winery’s cozy family courtyard.
We got to try some wine straight out of this barrel during our cellar tour!
The best pairing of them all.
Some of the adorable residents at Mitre’s Edge winery.
Is it bad to post more photos of the dogs than the wine?
Just one more doggie sequence…
Look how massive he is!
Nothing is better than doggie love after tasting 20 types of wine 😉
Wine Tasting in Cape Town: Last stop, Chocolate Pairings
Our last wine tasting was outdoors under some fall-colored leaves, and we were to try some sparkling wines and pair others with chocolate. It was a lovely end to our day to try some new wines and get a bit of a dessert feeling with chocolates specifically matched to our wines. We all savored the (slightly tipsy) moment before taking our last opportunity to take some wines back with us from our amazing day.
But it wasn’t over quite yet! Ian had a surprise for us; he passed out a little quiz from all the facts he had taught us over the day for us to complete in two teams to win yet ANOTHER little bottle of wine! We racked our brains for answers to about ten questions, surprised at how much we had learned. In the end my team won, but we ended up splitting the half-bottle amongst all of us as we had become new friends as the day went on.
It was a splendid day meeting real locals , trying amazing wine, and visiting wineries not even open to the public (and wineries with duck parades. I am still not done with that). We returned to the city with a few bottles of wine in tow each, and all surely settled down to an evening wine-induced nap 😛
Remember, use my promo code “KIMMIE” to get a bottle of Little Dry Red with your booking! If that isn’t an incentive, I don’t know what is… (even after trying 30 different wines. Who can ever have enough wine?)
A bit of sparkling wine to top off our amazing day!
Ever-so-happy – is it because this was taken after trying 25 wines? Irrelevant.
White chocolate with cilantro spice infused with lemongrass and vanilla, paired with our wine. To die for!
Ian laying down the knowledge
Another pairing – this time milk chocolate with strawberry and cacao nibs, with red wine!
Makes your mouth water, doesn’t it?
Thanks to Wine Flies Tours for hosting me on this adventure wine tasting in Cape Town! All words are of course my own. I wouldn’t have done Stellenbosch any other way, and can’t wait to be back!
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