The Plettenberg Bay area has some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches in South Africa. Not by chance is it one of the most favourite places for a beach holiday.
But did you know the area also has its own wine route?
The emerging Plettenberg Bay wine of origin region is actually a fairly new addition to the acclaimed South African Cape Winelands. Despite this, the still young wine area already stands for excellent wines and local wineries offer wine experiences that are no less elaborate and intriguing as found in the better known areas around Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl and Constantia.
The new ‘Wine of Origin Plettenberg Bay Region’ is in fact touted the up-and-coming champagne-style wine region of South Africa. Located closed to the ocean, the areas geographic and cooler climate conditions are actually similar to those of the renowned Marlborough region of New Zealand, and is particularly favourable to growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes for the production of MCC (Methode Cap Classique) sparkling wines.
The wineries in the area are typically small, family-owned boutique wineries but nonetheless offer tasting room facilities and many also a food options.
I have been quite keen to explore this new exiting wine region, with a number of wineries on my list to see. Unfortunately, given the timing of my visit around Christmas when many of the wineries did not operate daily, I only manage to tick off two of them: Bramon Wine Estate and Lodestone Wine & Olives.
However, these two were just excellent and I was told by locals those I did not manage to see are similarly great spots for wine tasting. In addition, many off the Plettenberg wineries in the past few years have received various awards for their wines. Thus all of them are definitely worth a visit when you are in the area.
Bramon Wine Estate
Nestled in The Crags area around 20 kilometres outside of Plettenberg overlooking the Tsitsikamma Mountains, Bramon Wine Estate was the first wine farm in this most eastern wine area of the Western Cape, founded in the year 2000.
Despite having just come of age (18, according to European law) the winery nevertheless has already won a number of awards for its outstanding Methode Cap Classique sparkling wines as well as for some of its still wines.
The small tasting room is located very conveniently directly along N2 and in addition to the wines also features local artworks and wine accessories. Knowledgeable staff will guide you throught the available wine tasting options.
A little restaurant is tucked away a few hundred metres further away in the midst of the vineyards. On the menu you will find fresh, tapas-style food.
Lodestone Wine & Olives
Like the majority of the Plettenberg wineries, Lodestone is located in the Redford area of The Crags accessible through an unpaved road leading into the vineyards for about seven kilometres.
The winery is run by husband-and-wife team Jon and Ingrid Tonkin. Lodestone has made huge strides in wine production since as recently as 2012. In the vineyards, grape varieties include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Pinot Noir.
In addition to wine, the Tonkin’s have planted six varieties of olives on their farm and in 2016 produced their first olive oil, which also is the first olive oil produced in the Plettenberg area!
A gorgeous small tasting room extends onto a partly roofed terrace deck that overlooks a beautiful small dam and the surrounding vineyards. The place is so lovely, once you have settled down you do not want to get up anytime soon again. So it’s quite handy there is also a seasonal menu along with hearty platters on offer.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am – 4 pm
Additional wineries in the area which I have not personally visited but were recommended to me and also have won a number of awards for their wines include:
A small family-owned winery established in 2006 also located at the Redford area of The Crags.
Newstead’s rosé MCC already has won a Michelangelo Gran D’or (double gold) ward and even has a two year waiting list should you want to buy this particular MCC.
Other wines produced at the estate include an MCC brut, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
There is a small tasting room on the estate offering a daily changing menu including a range of pizza, a roast of the day, fresh salads and dessert.
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 am – 4 pm
Key & Monty Vineyards
With just five hectares of vines, this small boutique winery which belongs to Polo player Chick Legh since 2004 was the second winery established in the Plettenberg area. The first wines were produced in 2012 and Key & Monty already won gold at the Old Mutual Wine Show for its 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and received 4 out of 5 stars by Platter’s wine guide for its Champu MCC.
A light menu is also available at the tasting room.
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 am – 4 pm
Packwood Wine Estate
One of the few not located around The Crags, Packwook is tucked away around nine kilometres off N2 between Plettenberg and Kynsna at the end of an unpaved road.
Wine production on the estate started in 2006 with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Although the first bottling was made only in 2009, the winery has already gained many awards.
There is a ‘breakfast and bubbles’ offer or you can opt for a cheese platter to go with your wines.
Open Monday to Friday, 8.30 am – 5 pm; Saturday, 10 am – 3 pm
Have you been to the Plettenberg wine route yet? What was your favourite winery? Let me know about your experience.