Best Cape Town Wine Tour: How We Used Uber for Our Tour
Love wine and want to experience some of South Africa’s best? Visiting these world-class wineries is incredibly accessible. Some of the most famous wine regions are just outside of Cape Town, ranging from 20 to 90 minutes depending on where you want to visit. Most people elect to do a Cape Town wine tour with a guide, but you can plan your own relaxed day of wine tastings for a fraction of the cost using Uber. Here’s how we did it.
4 Ways to Do a Cape Town Wine Tour
First, realize there are four ways you can do a Cape Town wine tour. All have their pros and cons. We actually did two full days of wine tasting, one with Uber and one with a private wine tour. If you want to know more about our private tour experience with the highly-rated company La Rochelle, I’ve included the article below. It was fun to experience both for different reasons.
#1- DRIVE YOURSELF
I do NOT recommend this option (unless you are using the spittoon every time). Who wants the stress of having to drive after enjoying a wine tasting?
- Readily available
- Pick where you want to go and when you want to leave
- Relaxed environment, no stress of having to drive
- Have to plan your day on your own
- Some delays from getting place to place if you have to wait on a driver
- No personal wine expert to answer your questions
#3 HOP ON/OFF BUS: FRANSCHHOEK WINE TRAM OR STELLENBOSCH HOPPER
Stellenbosch wine country
- Relaxed environment, no stress of having to drive
- Can only choose from a selected list of wineries, which may not always be your first choice
- Have to wait on set times to leave to your next destination. For example, if the tram runs on the hour (12 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm) and you happen to finish at 12:15 pm, you will be waiting for 45 minutes to be picked up for the next destination
- May have some general narration about the history of the towns and vineyards but no personal wine expert
#4 CAPE TOWN WINE TOUR COMPANY (GROUP OR PRIVATE TOUR)
- Have a personal wine expert to answer questions
- Sometimes you receive special treatment at the winery if they have a relationship with the wine tour company
- Relaxed environment, no stress of having to drive
- If on a private tour, you receive very personalized service. You can choose the wineries or change things up on the go
- If doing a group wine tour, there is a chance you could end up with a less desirable group (but usually people who book a wine tour are laid-back and enjoyable to be around)
- If doing a group wine tour, there is a specific timetable to keep to so there is more structure and less flexibility
- If doing a group wine tour, usually there is either 1) pre-determined wineries you will go to or 2) the group is asked what type of wine they enjoy and then specific wineries are chosen based on those preferences (so if you have a group that all loves white wine and you only like red wine, then the winery selections may be more geared towards white wine). Whereas on a private tour, you make the selections.
- If doing a group tour, the basic wine tastings may be the only ones included (and you would have to pay extra for the premium tastings)
How to Plan Your Wine Tour Using Uber
WINE TOUR 101
My husband and I have done A LOT of wine tours over the years including Napa (CA), Sonoma (CA), Willamette Valley (OR), Casablanca (Chile), Mendoza (Argentina), Champagne and Burgundy (France), Central Otago and Waiheke (New Zealand), Yarra Valley (Australia), Chianti (Italy), Goriska Brda (Slovenia), Douro Valley (Portugal) and even Santorini (Greece). We have gotten quite a bit of practice with what an ideal wine tour day looks like.
I believe the best itinerary is winery #1 + leisurely lunch with wine pairings + winery #2. This setup offers a relaxed pace and eliminates “wine fatigue.” We have done four wineries + lunch with wine pairings before, and by the end all the wine starts to taste the same.
SELECT YOUR WINE REGION + WINERIES
Vineyards outside Cape Vue Country House in Franschhoek South Africa
This was the toughest choice because prior to our visit I knew very little about South Africa wine. The five most famous South Africa wine regions are Constantia, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, and Walker Bay. Each wine region is known for different wine varietals.
Once you select your wine region, how do you even begin to sift through all the wineries to figure out which ones to pick?
Luckily, I have done a lot of this research for you. Check out my article below that goes through the top 5 South Africa wine regions and the top-rated wineries in each region.
Once you select your wineries, then see how close your top choices are to each other. When you are planning your own wine tour day using Uber, you’ll need to select wineries that are relatively close to each other.
We picked one winery in Franschhoek and one winery in Stellenbosch.
PRO TIP: If possible, try to select wineries that do not require advance reservations. That way if it takes a while for your Uber to pick you up, you are not stressing about making your reservation in time.
PICK YOUR LUNCH PLACE
The Table at De Meye in Stellenbosch South Africa
We are big foodies. Yes, we have done quite a few Michelin-rated/starred experiences, but our favorites are the smaller quaint establishments that really focus on high-quality ingredients local to the area.
Which lunch spot did we pick? The Table at De Meye! My husband and I still talk about our lunch experience to this day. Leigh and Brendan are the sweetest hosts and cook up an incredible meal based on what is in season on the neighboring farms. I wouldn’t be surprised if they knew the name of the cow your meat just came from. Love, love, love them.
I’ve written more about our The Table at De Meye experience in our top South Africa wine country restaurants below.
Our Cape Town Wine Tour Itinerary Using Uber
QUICK SUMMARY OF THE DAY
WINE REGION VISITED
Franschhoek and Stellenbosch
$54.09 TOTAL (with tip) for 2 people or $27 pp. Wine tastings not included.
Kanonkop, De Meye (ate at The Table at De Meye), Moreson
DIY CAPE TOWN WINE TOUR ITINERARY
9 AM: Pick-up time
After a full breakfast at our accommodation, Cape Vue Country House, we were ready for a day of wine tasting!
10:30 AM: Kanonkop Wine Estate
Kanonkop Award Winning Pinotage
$18.82 USD Uber ride from our hotel, Cape Vue Country House, to Kanonkop, home of one of the top-rated Pinotages in South Africa!
What is Pinotage? Created in 1925, Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. It obtained its notoriety when Kanonkop’s Pinotage won the Robert Mondavi Trophy for the Best Red Wine at the 1991 International Wine and Spirits Competition in London. This Stellenbosch winery is recognized as the country’s equivalent of a Premier Cru.
How did the name came about? During the 17th and 18th centuries, a cannon (kanon) was fired on top of the hill (kop) to let the local famers know to load up their produce to barter with the incoming ships. This estate was first purchased by JW Sauer and has been passed down four generations in the family and is now currently operated by brothers Paul & Johann Krige.
Kanonkop Kadette and Estate Range Wine Tasting in Stellenbosch South Africa
Kanonkop produces two ranges of wine: Kadette and the Estate Range. The Kadette Range is softer and more fruit-forward and is meant to be consumed earlier whereas the Estate Range is more complex and made to be aged for enjoyment years later. We tried 3 wines from the Kadette Range (2019 Pinotage Rose, 2017 Cape Blend, 2017 Pinotage) and 3 from the Estate Range (2017 Pinotage, 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2016 Paul Sauer).
As we did our wine tasting, I could easily see why Kanonkop consistently rates at the top of wine critics’ lists. One of our favorites was the Estate Range Pinotage. This elegant wine was savory with good structure and tannins and tasted of blackberries and plums. Although we tasted the 2017 Estate Pinotage, we purchased the 2009 Estate Pinotage because we heard this vintage is widely regarded as one of the greatest vintages in the South Africa wine industry.
We also really enjoyed the Paul Sauer, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. You could smell tobacco and spice on the nose, and it tasted of red and black fruit with good tannins and acidity. The 2015 Paul Sauer actually achieved the near impossible … a perfect score of 100 points from international wine critic Tim Atkin.
Of note, the Black Label Pinotage is made from one of the oldest Pinotage vineyards in South Africa. This is a regal wine and is well prized. It has an aging potential of 20-25 years from the vintage. We were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in South Africa, so we decided to purchase this 96-point 2017 bottle to enjoy on our 30th! I cannot wait.
Kanonkop’s Top Rated Wines
Wine dog at Kanonkop Wine Estates
One of the reasons for Kanonkop’s success is its incredibly skilled winemaker, Abrie Beeslaar. The International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) in London, which is the world’s top wine and spirits competition, has awarded him with the title International Winemaker of the Year several times now. Interestingly enough, he became a winemaker by accident. His desire was to study medicine, but he was not accepted into the program and was told instead to study agriculture and then reapply later (some subjects of agriculture overlapped with medicine). He never did, and the rest is history.
In addition to being the winemaker at Kanonkop, Abrie also has his own label called Beeslaar. His bottles are hard to find, but we were finally able to find a Beeslar 2017 Pinotage in a wine shop next to The Test Kitchen called Open Wine. We have not tried it yet but will report back when we do.
12:30 PM: The Table at De Meye
The Table at De Meye indoor dining area
$6.39 USD Uber Ride from Kanonkop to De Meye Wine Estate. The next stop was lunch at The Table at De Meye. We ate at all of the top restaurants in South Africa (The Test Kitchen, Pot Luck Club, La Petite Colombe, Chefs Warehouse), and this was our favorite! This is truly the ultimate South Africa wine country experience … sharing and enjoying a meal with family and friends in a beautiful idyllic setting.
We were greeted by the sweetest owner, Leigh Williamson, and seated inside due to the weather being cooler that day. We will have to come back when it is warmer because the property has a lovely garden with dining tables shaded by trees.
Leigh had fond memories of eating at The Table as a child, so when the opportunity presented to purchase the estate, she jumped on it. Along with her partner, Chef Brendan Thorncroft, these new owners continue to maintain the authentic charm and delicious food.
Stuffed porchetta at The Table De Meye Restaurant in Stellenbosch South Africa
The De Meye Wine Estate produces several red and white wines. We enjoyed a bottle of their refreshing crisp, dry Shiraz Rose to pair with our lunch. The sharing-style lunch menu is a surprise and changes weekly. The Table is known for simple but refined comfort dishes. Leigh went over each course as it came out. Not only did she explain what food you were eating and how it was prepared but which local farmer it came from. You cannot get more farm-to-table than that! Two words to sum up the experience: Simple. Delicious.
Normally, I am the type of traveler who is always on the move and wants “to see all of the things,” so I do not miss out any anything. Dining at The Table at De Meye actually was able to make me relax and hit the pause button (which is not an easy feat!). Three and a half hours later, I reluctantly peeled myself off the seat for the next stop.
4 PM: Moreson Wine Farm
Moreson Winery in South Africa wine country
The cost of the Uber ride from Kanonkop to Moreson Wine Farm was $5.71 USD. This beautiful wine farm has been passed down three generations and is currently operated by the close-knit Friendman family. The two brothers (Dane and Blake) and two sisters (Nikki and Charlie) who make up the third generation have fond childhood memories of growing up on this farm and helping their dad make the wine. Winemaker Clayton Reabow joined Moreson in 2007 and has continued to help produce the estate’s award-winning wines including Pinotage, Chardonnay, and Blanc de Blancs.
We walked through the flower-filled courtyard and into the quaint tasting room. We were greeted by a friendly staff member and sat down and enjoyed several notable wines. One was the Moreson Method Cap Classique Solitaire Blanc de Blancs, which had yeasty undertones and well-balanced acidity. Another standout was the Moreson Widow Maker Pinotage, which is a rich wine with black cherry and plum flavors.
Moreson MKM Pinotage
Moreson Wildcraft Gin
Another must-try wine is the MKM Pinotage, Moreson’s flagship Pinotage, which is considered to be one of the top 10 Pinotages in South Africa. MKM was named after a long-time employee, Moraka Klaas Maffa, who sadly passed away in 2011. This bold, smooth, and savory wine is characterized by dark fruit, spice, and tobacco.
We were also able to try Moreson’s small-batch Wildcraft Equinox 79 Gin, which is made from triple-distilled Chardonnay and nine botanicals. All in all, great experience. Quick Uber ride back to our hotel in Franschhoek cost $23.17.
7:30 PM; Chefs Warehouse at Maison Estate
Slow cooked pork belly at Chefs Warehouse at Maison in Franschhoek South Africa
Last meal in South Africa wine country … Chefs Warehouse at Maison Estate. Dublin-born Chef Liam Tomlin owns several restaurants in his restaurant empire. Instead of formal tasting menus, he focuses on contemporary tapas-style food that offers great value for the money. Over the course of 2 hours, we enjoyed some delicious small plates that came out in three courses such as fennel & mustard risotto, tandoori cauliflower, slow-cooked pork belly, and karoo lamb.
Cape Town Wine Tour Tips
EAT A BIG BREAKFAST
You will thank me later.
So important. Drink plenty of water in between tastings. If you are on a tour, they will usually provide water, but if you are doing a DIY wine tour, bring a water bottle. Of course, the wineries will provide water too if asked.
A lot of times you will have a tour of the vineyards or enjoy your wine tasting outdoors. Keep that skin protected. Love my Elta MD UV Clear!
BRING A LIGHT JACKET
Be prepared for any weather changes outdoors and also freezing indoor cellars. My Lilly Pulitzer denim jacket is my go-to “wine jacket.”
WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES
You may be walking in the fields if the winemaker wants to show you the vineyards. The last thing you want is your high heels getting stuck in the dirt. I love my Rothys for wine tours.
MAKE SURE YOUR PHONE IS FULLY CHARGED
Also, bring a portable phone charger. Photos are great to remember what you drank and where you were, which believe me, may get a little blurred by the end of the day!
What to Wear at the Wineries
We have done too many wine tours to count, so I have had plenty of practice in figuring out what’s the ideal winery outfit.
It all depends on the season and the type of winery you are visiting (swanky, boutique, or casual).
If you need more inspiration on winery outfits, don’t miss my article below.
Final Thoughts on Using Uber
Our Cape Town Wine Tour using Uber allowed for a very fun, relaxed itinerary. Make reservations for your lunch in the middle and then pick a winery for the morning and afternoon that does not require reservations. That way your day will truly be at leisure as you discover some of the best South Africa wine country has to offer!
If you need more helping planning your South Africa wine country getaway, don’t miss my article below.
Questions about our Cape Town wine tour experience?
Let me know in the comments below!