When I was travelling around the lesser known wine areas of the Cape Winelands a few weeks ago, exploring local wineries and places to stay, I had no idea the world would be turned upside down by the time I would write about it.
Of course, now is not the time to travel and I am by no means encouraging you to do so. But I strongly believe that during this difficult time it is important to find some distraction from the constant flood of corona-related news. For me, this includes making plans for future travels.
Thus, I have decided to go ahead and publish my guide on the amazing Breedekloof Wine Valley and the many small boutique wineries you should have on your list to visit the next time it’s safe for you to venture into the Cape Winelands.
Breedekloof Wine Route is hidden away at the bottom of the majestic Slanghoek and Du Troitskloof mountains in the Breede River Valley.
Located only about one hour from Cape Town (around 90 kilometres) and just 45 minutes from the major historic Winelands of Stellenbosch and Franscchoek, the Breedekloof wine area is a destination you could even explore during a day trip.
There are currently 22 wineries forming part of the route, distributed over the Rawsonville, Slanghoek, Goudini and Breede River areas taking part in the Breedekloof Wine Route stretching along a short part of the scenic Route 62. Established in 2002, it is indeed the latest official wine route established in South Africa.
The Breedekloof Wine Route is part of the much larger Route 62 Wine Route, which in its totality is said to be the longest wine route in the world.
Albeit many different wine styles are produced in the Breedekloof area thanks to the varied terroir, the region is well known for producing excellent Chenin Blanc wines and increasingly for fortified and dessert wines.
Many of the local wine farms are small, family-led estates though there are also some larger ones. Nevertheless, you will find many exciting wine-pairing offers and several of the wineries also have on-site restaurants. Thus visiting you should definitely plan time for a lunch and add one or two wine pairings to your list.
Excellent wineries to visit in the Breedekloof Wine Valley
Bosjes Farm is perhaps best known for its stunning chapel built into the midst of the vineyards. Opened only in 2017, it has already become an iconic place to host Cape Winelands weddings. On-site there is also a fantastic restaurant, the popular Bosjes Kombuis (which is Afrikaans for kitchen).
Bosjes also has its own vineyards and has a small wine range which is produced locally by local producers in the Breedekloof Valley.
The wines are only available at the farm and it is well worth stopping by for a wine tasting along with either a lunch at the Kombuis or some snacks at the beautiful tea garden just next to the stunning chapel.
With 177 years under its belt (it was founded in 1843), Bergsig Estate is one of the older wine farms in the Breedekloof Valley; though not the oldest. It is also one of the few farms across the Cape that still belongs to the founding family and is now run by the seventh generation of the Lategan family.
The farm is IPW certified, which means it uses environmentally friendly farming methods.
In their small tasting room, situated at the foot of Bainskloof pass, Bergsig offers two unique wine pairing options, a Frikkadell & Reserve tasting and a Springroll tasting which you need to book in advance.
There is also a small bistro integrated in the tasting room, or you can book a balcony setting to enjoy a spectacular view over the surrounding area. The menu is based on seasonally available local produce.
The estate’s history dates back to 1847 and today Opstal Estate managed by the seventh generation of the founding family.
The winery offers a large range of wines including the Estate Range with its lovely dry rosé and an excellent Sauvignon Blanc sparkling wine, the Heritage Range and the lighter Sixpence Range.
The Opstal restaurant is open Tuesday to Sunday for breakfast and lunch and the menu includes a couple of traditional local dishes like smocked springbok carpaccio and Cape Malay lamb alongside charcuterie and cheese platters, burgers and a selection of pizza.
If you fancy staying directly at a wine farm, Opstal has you covered too. Several self catering units complete with large outdoor decks and plunge pools (or an indoor fire place in case you come in the winter).
Deetlefs Wine Estate
The long driveway flanked by an almost endless row of proteas leading up to the tasting room marks perhaps the most spectacular entrance to the local wineries.
Founded in 1822, Deetlefs Wine Estate proudly claims to be the second oldest winery in South Africa that is to this date owned by its founding family, which is now running the estate in the 7th generation.
Deetlefs produces three different range of wines, the Deetlefs Familie, Deetlefs Estate and Stonecross ranges.
As most other wineries in the area, Deetlefs produces an excellent Chenin Blanc. However, I recommend tasting their Familie Semillion as well, which has won a range of awards and indeed tastes superb. As does the Merlot from the same range.
Meanwhile, I also liked their lower price Stonecress range which includes a nice Shiraz, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Du Toitskloof Wines
This relatively young winery (established in 1962) has been an accredited Fairtrade producer for almost 13 years.
In the case of Du Toitskloof this means the estate ensures that that a high standard of ethical and sustainable farming activities is maintained in the entire value chain. They are putting a high focus on maintaining international Fairtrade standards in terms of worker remuneration and fair labour practices.
In the Du Toitskloof tasting room – or outside under the large trees – you can choose from 30 different wines including the winery’s iconic Du Toitskloof range, premium Quest range, Cape Agulhas Land’s End range and the easy-drinking Tunnel range.
Tasting fees are by the glass and at the time of writing this, depending on the wines you choose will be between R5 to R30 per glass.
Alternatively, the winery offers two wine pairing options as well.
The first one pairs three of its award-winning wines from the Du Toitskloof range with a lemon meringue, a dark chocolate coffee and peppermint crisp tart.
The second instead will see you creating your own painting under the guidance of a local artist. During the three hour session, you will also taste four wines and enjoy a cheese and meat platter.
Locally, Du Toitskloof is particularly popular thanks to the adjacent Ou Meul Bakery and Café. Especially on weekends or during the summer period, the place is bustling during lunch time.
If you are a gin lover, you can also enjoy the only blood orange gin in the world, the locally crafted Bloedlemoen (pronounced ‘Blue’d Le Moon’) Gin.
I’ll let you into a secret. When I am looking for wineries to visit and I am not familiar with a wine region or a particular winery, alongside quality reviews a reason that makes me chose a place can be either a winery’s architecture (anything funky, modern or different looking) or the design of the wine label.
Kirabo‘s fun labels, especially the one for their cupcake wine along with this funny name for a wine sparked my interest. And rightly so. Visiting and tasting wine at Kirabo was a real pleasure and I loved their unique tasting menu.
Kirabo is a family-owned winery in the sixth generation although originally the farm sold its grapes to local winemakers. It’s only since 2009 that Kirabo is making its own wines and to this date, they continue to stick to red wines
Alongside the usual tasting options such as tasting different wine ranges, Kirabo offers a range of unique wine tastings such as the red wine infused vanilla cupcakes paired with a glass of the Cupcake wine or a homemade Shiraz ice-cream which is paired with a glass of Shiraz.
I definitely recommend opting for the pairings but if you do so, make sure you book at least 24 hours in advance.
By the way, Kirabo is not only a winery. On-site there is a recently opened brewery called Broers Brew making their own craft beer.
Slanghoek Cellar was established in 1951 and it is one of the few wine collectives in South Africa with currently 25 members forming part of Slanghoek.
There is a small tasting room where you can taste the different wines including Slanghoek’s flagship wine is its full-bodied barrel-fermented Chenin Blanc, produced under the Legends range. In addition, the winery also produces a Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc along with a Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinotage, two sparkling wines and a range of natural sweet and desert wines.
You also get the opportunity to blend your own red wine at Slanghoek. Check out the website for dates; advance booking is essential.
Have you been to the Breedekloof Wine Route yet? Let me know about your experience.