Nine Yards Travel
It’s that time of the year again. Days are getting longer, temperatures are rising, birds are migrating back home for the warmer months, and Capetonians are frantically searching for events to fill their calendars after the winter social-drought.
Capetonian or not, we’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of five remarkable wine farms that are not to be missed on your travels this season. The high quality and unfaltering standard of wine-making that these wineries uphold is, however, not the only thing they have in common. They are also all members of Premium Independent Wineries of South Africa (PIWOSA), a collective of likeminded, premium, independent wine producers who strive to highlight the excellence of South African wines to the rest of the world. With that being said, there is a lot to boast about…
- Jordan Wine Estate
With breathtaking views from the Jordan hillside vineyards of Table Mountain, False Bay and Stellenbosch, visitors drink in the scenery that is owed to Gary and Kathy Jordan’s years of hard work and passion. The farm has a history going back over 300 years, and the Jordan’s pride themselves in making optimal use of the natural soil and slopes of the land to create nature’s finest product.
This combination of modern accessibility of the New World with the classic elegance of the old is apparent throughout the farm. The Bakery at Jordan oozes upmarket charm and offers a wide array of rustic yet refined dishes, not to mention the wood-fired bread freshly baked daily. And if you’re looking for a fine dining culinary experience, you don’t have to look further than the renowned Jordan restaurant, right around the corner. In a class of its own, George Jardine brings contemporary gastronomy to the picturesque hills of Stellenbosch with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. A true testament to its consistency, The Jordan Restaurant has remained in the Top 10 of the Eat Out Awards for 6 years running.
If a getaway is what you’re after, the luxury suites available on the farm treat guests to luxurious, open-plan accommodation, a stone’s throw from Stellenbosch centre. Staying over or not, every party that visits the farm does not willingly leave before experiencing the crowning glory of Jordan Wine Estate, namely the numerous award-winning wines. There are a variety of tastings and tours on offer, including classic tastings in the tasting room, cellar tours, and unforgettable 4×4 or guided walking vineyard tours. Confident in its quality, Jordan is a benchmark of South African winemaking.
- Klein Constantia
Overlooking the majestic False Bay, this historic wine farm on Constantiaberg offers a combination of heritage and excellence that makes it one of the most renowned vineyards in South Africa. Klein Constantia dates all the way back to 1685 and has maintained a simplistic style of wine-making to consistently produce award-winning wines.
Their range includes a top quality Estate range, a second label KC range, and one of the world’s best natural sweet wines, Vin de Constance, among others that all thrive in their cool climate. The persistent sea breeze creates optimal conditions for Muscat de Frontignan, used to make this renowned natural sweet dessert wine. The legend of the Vin de Constance is also notable, with admirers in the ranks of Napoleon, Jane Austen’s character, Louis Philippe and Frederick the Great.
It is unquestionably worth a trip to go experience it first-hand, and soak up the history behind the stories. Klein Constantia welcomes visitors all year round to taste their spectacular wine range, and is truly an essential stop when exploring the Cape Winelands.
- Glenelly Estate
As part of the original Idas Valley Farm, Glenelly Estate still pays tribute to its French Huguenot roots today. May de Lencquesaing, owner of Glenelly and member of one of Bordeaux’s oldest wine families, has influenced the style of the farm from wine to fine art, clearly exhibited in the French inspired tasting veranda and Chateau styled tasting lounge. The interior decor of the tasting room and deli is inviting and tasteful, with classic Parisian furniture and contemporary finishes, luring guests to partake in the treats and tastings on offer.
The prestigious Glenelly wines can be tasted with select food pairings, or enjoyed at leisure at The Vine Bistro headed by Chef Christophe Dehosse, serving a French-style menu. There is also a truly unique museum and gallery, displaying a collection of rare glass art ranging all the way back to the 1st century. One can journey through the impressive museum (one of the largest privately owned collections in the world) and view extraordinary pieces by Salvador Dali, Lino Tagliapietra and countless others.
Glenelly also places great emphasis on sustainability and natural processes in their winemaking endeavours. 70 percent of energy collected via their thermal system is saved for cooling, which enables 300 solar panels to cover most of the farm’s electricity needs. They also use borehole water all across the estate, and compost any possible green waste. Looking to the future, this wine estate is a veritable trendsetter of the industry.
- Ken Forrester
If you are looking for an intimate setting for your next vineyard visit, look no further than Ken Forrester. On the Helderberg mountain slopes of Stellenbosch, the surreptitious tasting room offers a cosy, personalised tasting experience. One would hardly expect this modest setting to be home to their range of top quality wines, which have received considerable national and international acclaim with hundreds of accolades to boast about.
The philosophy at Ken Forrester has always been to pay great attention to detail in handcrafting versatile wines, while providing excellent value. Ken, otherwise fondly known as Mr. Chenin, does all the sales and marketing of the vineyard himself, and the dedication of the small team is reflected in their immense local and international success. The Petit, Ken Forrester and Icon Ranges are all available to taste, as well as the Cellar Exclusives if you are a farm-favourite visitor at the cellar door.
There are also quaint cottage style rooms available for overnight stays on the farm, at the Country Guest House. Although the farm itself does not have an eatery on the premises, they are neighbours to one of the most highly recommended restaurants in the Stellenbosch area, 96 Winery Road. The restaurant is owned and managed by Ken’s brother, Allan Forrester and jointly owned by Ken, and offers a warmth and authenticity not easily recreated.
Relaxed and unpretentious, yet exceptional in its rustic quality, Ken Forrester makes for a charming stop on your summer stopovers.
- De Grendel
Situated in the Durbanville region, 350 meters above sea level with an unparalleled view of Table Mountain, De Grendel has been making and perfecting wines since 1999. They harvest grapes from two principal vineyards, namely Tygerberg and Witzenberg, both contributing diverse yet crucial elements when it comes to crafting their wine range.
The cooling Antarctic Benguela current sweeping across the Tygerberg Mountains alleviates the summer heat, and combined with the soil creates perfect conditions for their acclaimed Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. Near Ceres, Witzenberg boasts the cold climate that is faultless for growing grapes typical to the region: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The two varietals are the newest addition to the De Grendel range, and are available for tasting on the farm.
With a choice of premium and flagship tastings, sip delectable wines while drinking in the views of Table Mountain from the glass encased veranda of the tasting room. Or, opt for an informative guided cellar tour which includes a tasting of three wines.
Follow the ramp leading up from the tasting room, through layers and levels into the glass restaurant below. Their simple menu changes daily depending on what local ingredients they source, keeping the dishes fresh and current, with inventive flavour combinations designed to best complement the wine. De Grendel has succeeded in making use of its exquisite natural surroundings to curate an outstandingly memorable experience for any visitor.
All this and more awaits the discerning traveller.
Book your next trip to the Cape Winelands through us at Nine Yards Travel.
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