Our Self-Guided Wine Tour in Stellenbosch & Franschhoek
South Africa is known for some exceptional wines, particularly their Pinotage. One of the best ways to experience these top wines is to visit the wineries that make them! My husband and I have done quite a few wine vacations around the world and love crafting wine tour itineraries. We’ll walk you through our personal Self-Guided Wine Tour in Stellenbosch & Franschhoek, two of the most famous wine regions in South Africa.
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4 Self-Guided Wine Tour Planning Tips
Vineyards outside Cape Vue Country House in Franschhoek, South Africa
01- IDEAL WINE TOUR DAY
After doing quite a few wine tours over the years, we have a bit of practice with what an ideal wine tour day looks like.
I believe the best wine tasting itinerary looks something like this:
→ Winery #1
→ Leisurely lunch with wine pairings at Winery #2
→ Winery #3
If you do any more than 3 wineries, you may experience “wine fatigue,” where all the wine tastes the same at the end. This setup offers a relaxed pace to truly appreciate and enjoy the wine you are tasting.
02- PICK YOUR WINE REGIONS + WINERIES
Picking which wine region + wineries to visit 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 South Africa wine regions and the top-rated wineries in each region.
03- HOW TO USE UBER FOR A WINE TOUR
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 two wineries in Stellenbosch.
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.
By the way, an Uber driver can be a little difficult to find very late in the day.
04- PICK YOUR LUNCH SPOT
My husband and I are big foodies and are guilty of planning vacations around a culinary experience.
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.
Some of the wineries will offer a gourmet lunch along with your wine pairings.
I’ll save you the hassle of this important decision.
Pick this restaurant, and you will thank me later. Love, love, love them!
Our Self-Guided Wine Tour Overview
→ WINE REGIONS WE VISITED: Stellenbosch and Franschhoek
→ TRANSPORT: Uber
→ UBER COST: $54.09 total (with tip) for 2 people or $27 pp. Wine tasting not included.
→ WINERIES WE VISITED: Kanonkop, De Meye (ate at The Table at De Meye), Morseon Wine Farm
Self-Guided Cape Winelands Itinerary
9 AM: PICK-UP TIME
After a full breakfast at our Franschhoek accommodation, Cape Vue Country House, we were ready for a day of wine tasting!
10:30 AM: KANONKOP WINE ESTATE
Kanonkop Kadette and Estate Range Wine Tasting in Stellenbosch South Africa
Uber Cost: $18.82 USD (Cape Vue Country House to Kanonkop Wine Estate)
Kanonkop Wine Estate is home to one of the top-rated Pinotages in South Africa! This Stellenbosch winery is recognized as the country’s equivalent of a Premier Cru.
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.
How did the winery’s name come about?
During the 17th and 18th centuries, a cannon (kanon) was fired on top of the hill (kop) to let the local farmers 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 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).
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.
Of note, the Black Label Pinotage is made from one of the oldest Pinotage vineyards in South Africa. 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.
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.
12:30 PM: LUNCH + WINE AT THE TABLE AT DE MEYE
The Table at De Meye indoor dining area
Uber Cost: $6.39 USD (Kanonkop to De Meye Wine Estate)
The next stop was lunch at The Table at De Meye.
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, they 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.
Three and a half hours later, I reluctantly peeled myself off the seat for the next stop.
4 PM: MORESON WINE FARM
Moreson Wine Farm in South Africa wine country
Uber Cost: $5.71 USD (The Table to Moreson Wine Farm)
The Moresone 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. A friendly staff member greeted us and walked us through a tasting of 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.
This wine is 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 wine tasting experience!
A 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.
Our Self-Guided Franschhoek & Stellenbosch 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 help planning your South Africa wine country getaway, don’t miss my article below.
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