The Cape Winelands are (quite rightfully) internationally acclaimed for the quality and calibre of wines they produce. One of the most popular activities for locals and visitors to Cape Town is wine tasting, and yet, it’s Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek, and Somerset West that tend to take centre stage on the itinerary. But, if you get on the N1 heading out of Cape Town, drive past the turn-offs to our “famous” winemaking regions, shoot through the Huguenot tunnel, and take the R60 from Worcester, you’ll arrive in a gorgeous, mountain-embraced valley carpeted in lush vineyards and dotted with quaint towns.
This is the Robertson Wine Valley and it is as stellar a winemaking region as its celebrity counterparts closer to the Cape. It’s just a little more “country”.
Wine experiences in Robertson Wine Valley
The Robertson Wine Valley is an umbrella term for the 53 different wineries that flourish in the towns of Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor, and Robertson. Within this valley, the drainage, soils, and climate deliver the perfect growing conditions for the grapes that, under the talented stewardship of our country’s winemakers, become the beautiful wines the region is known for.
But there’s more to the Robertson Wine Valley than just winemaking and drinking. There is a definite culture of delivering wine experiences that allow visitors to take in and enjoy the area’s staggering natural beauty, as well as its local culture, art, and food. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a winery that doesn’t offer some kind of special, one-of-a-kind wine experience, be it an underground cellar tasting or an unusual (yet fabulous) wine and food pairing. For example:
- You can create, bottle, and label your very own red blend at Excelsior Wine Estate, whose charming winery has been built over a lake and offers the most gorgeous mountain views.
- With wine glass in hand, you can peruse Zandvliet’s collection of art and ancient dusty wine bottles that have been beautifully displayed in a rabbit warren of interconnected underground cellar spaces. They also offer a blend-and-bottle-your-own wine experience.
- At Weltevrede, you can sample their award-winning range of wines in a spooky, candlelit cellar, whilst listening to fascinating anecdotes about the farm and its owners.
- At Esona Winery, you can enjoy an educational vertical cellar wine tasting out of Riedel glasses, as well as a wine pairing with chocolate and fruit preserve. Their winery also features stunning views over vineyards, the life-giving waters of the Breede River, and the distant mountain ranges.
- At Ashton Winery, you can indulge in a picnic on the lawn while playing a game of croquet or giant chess and Jenga.
- Van Loveren has a wine and food pairing menu with 10 different options, as well as garden and cellar tours, while their flagship restaurant Christina’s @ Van Loveren serves up mouth-watering meals in a beautiful garden setting.
Robertson Wine Valley Festivals
The above is just a small selection of the kind of wine experiences offered by the constellation of wineries in the Robertson Wine Valley and is not even to mention the accommodation, views, outdoor activities, food, and exciting annual festivals it has become known around the country for:
Hands On Harvest
About: This down-to-earth autumn celebration offers families a chance to experience the magic of harvest and boasts a packed programme of exciting events.
When: 23rd – 25th February 2018
Wacky Wine Weekend
About: An exuberant family-friendly weekend of wine tasting, eating, live entertainment, arts, crafts, and wine experiences. Come rain or shine, Wacky Wine is a highlight on any oenophile’s annual calendar.
When: 31st May – 2nd June 2018
Slow Food & Wine Festival
About: Various wineries and tourist establishments on the Robertson Wine Route throw a celebration of the wines and foods whose magic ingredient is time. Slowly made…slowly enjoyed!
When: 3rd – 5th August 2018
Wine on the River
About: Every year in spring, the banks of the Breede River on Goudmyn Farm come alive with the valley’s talented winemakers, local chefs and producers.
When: 26th – 28th October 2018
Make Robertson Wine Valley your next weekend destination
Sandwiched between the Langeberg to the north and the Riviersonderend Mountains to the south, the Robertson Wine Valley is bursting at the seams with fascinating stories, delightful experiences, gorgeous wineries, spectacular natural beauty, and the kind of country hospitality and living you just can’t find elsewhere. So, the next time you want to enjoy or show off the best of the Cape Winelands to visiting family or friends, take that gorgeous 2.5-hour drive out to Robertson and spend the whole weekend because, here, wine isn’t just a drink, it’s an experience for all seasons and for any time of day.