On wine estates across the globe, there are incredible wine farm experiences to be enjoyed. In wine regions spanning from France to the US.
Wine Farm Winners
In this post, myself and some guest writers share our best wine farm experiences to enjoy, as either a tourist or local.
Cape Overberg Region: The Giant Periwinkle
Visiting Giant Periwinkle is always a pleasant experience for me. It is not often that you come across a wine farm where you have the whole place to yourself.
The farm is off the beaten track and hosts wine tastings in a stylishly restored barn. Guests sit at a beautiful, long table, with a fireplace for winter.
There is nothing ordinary about a visit to this unique location, where you instantly feel relaxed and taken care of.
The Giant Periwinkle was first established in rented spaces by winemaker Pierre Rabie. It can now be found at South Cape Vineyards, a small farm near Baardskeerdersbos in the Overberg.
Together with his friends and partners, Karen van Helden and Robert Stelzner, The Giant Periwinkle has turned into a boutique winery.
The Giant Periwinkle – Boutique Winery
The Cape Agulhas region’s cool climate causes the grapes to ripen more slowly. This results in lower natural sugars and higher acidity, giving the wines a crisp, fresh taste.
These weather conditions are particularly favourable for growing grapes, such as Sauvignon Blanc. The results are wines with tropical and herbaceous flavours.
The Giant Periwinkle Wines
Giant Periwinkle’s flagship wine is the Blanc Fumé. It is a lightly wooded, 100% barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc. For their 2019 vintage, they received a top 10 best wooded Sauvignon Blanc award.
Many of their wines are named using alternative names for the ‘Baardskeerder,’ after which the village is named.
Their wines include:
- Sun Spider Pinotage;
- Wind Scorpion Sauvignon Blanc;
- Kelp Forest Syrah;
- The Bard (a dry white blend of Semillon, Nouvelle, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc);
- and a red Rhône blend called Baardbek.
The owners and winemaker often host the wine tastings on weekends. During the week (or when the owners aren’t available), a local Baardskeerdersbos resident hosts the tastings.
For an appointment to visit The Giant Periwinkle, phone De Wet Groenewald on +27 (082) 465 8350.
Book a Gansbaai Wine Tour
The Giant Periwinkle can also be experienced with a Gansbaai Wine Tour of the Cape Agulhas Wine Route.
By: Barbara, Gansbaai Wine Tours.
Stellenbosch Winelands: Warwick Wine Estate
Warwick Wine Estate is a gorgeous, vibrant estate that is especially lovely for groups of friends and families with kids.
With its fountain and water features, beautiful, sprawling gardens and excellent play facilities, Warwick is ideal for exploring little ones. While they play, adults can enjoy a classy wine tasting or gourmet picnic in a magical estate setting.
Add to that Warwick’s award-winning wines, unique picnic pods, idyllic, leafy location and great platters (they have charcuterie, cheese and vegan platters) and you have a beautiful estate.
I have been fortunate enough to visit this lovely Stellenbosch estate for both a wine tasting and picnic experience and while I seriously loved both, it is their picnic experience I would like to focus on.
Gardens Made for Picnic Dreams
With a fresh, seasonally inspired gourmet picnic menu (with vegan and vegetarian options too), guests can enjoy a veritable feast of flavours.
The estate also has a nice kiddies’ basket. This means little ones get to join in on the picnicking fun, as they tuck into treats like a mini banana loaf, fruit juice and chips.
What makes a picnic at Warwick truly special though is the garden-meets-vineyards setting. Not only are their gardens absolutely stunning but the estate also overlooks a pretty dam and has great outdoor play facilities for children.
Picnicking in the Warwick Pods
Picnicking guests can choose to sit on the expansive lawn, under the protective shade of the oak trees or in a dedicated, sheltered picnic pod by the garden.
The estate also has a lovely shaded courtyard-deck area, which is perfect for scenic wine tastings and platters.
When I visited, we sat in a picnic pod, which we all loved. After our feasting, we lounged on the lawns, soaking up the ambience. It was a really relaxing, peaceful way to pass the day. The picnic offering is a quality one too and a good amount for two people sharing.
Let the Little Ones Loose
Kids will probably spend more time away, playing by the fountain and splashing about then they do with you. If you visit on a hot day, it’s also a good idea to pack in a change of clothes and a towel for them. It seems like Warwick is also a popular pet-friendly winery and many dogs enjoy visiting now.
In addition to their food and wine offerings, Warwick serves as a dreamy, affordable wedding venue.
They also offer a lovely Vineyard Safari tour, which is popular and suitable for all ages.
Included on this fun, educational Land Rover safari is a mountain journey through Warwick’s vineyard, plus a non-alcoholic beverage and yummy craft ice-cream.
This gorgeous, pet- and child-friendly estate is situated in the Stellenbosch Winelands, on the R44 between Klapmuts and Stellenbosch.
For more information on Warwick’s offerings, please contact them on: +27 (021) 870 4200 or email them at: email@example.com.
Robertson Wine Valley: Excelsior
Excelsior, situated in the Robertson Wine Valley, is one of the most peaceful wine farms anywhere.
Their wine farm experience is now reserved only for guests who check into the stately Excelsior Guesthouse. But it remains one of my best nonetheless!
Excelsior forms part of the famous Robertson Wine Valley, otherwise known as the Valley of Wine and Roses.
With a charming estate setting, lovely deli in Graze @ Excelsior, award-winning wines and beautiful guesthouse in the Excelsior Manor Guesthouse, this pretty estate offers plenty.
Excelsior Manor Guesthouse
Guests who check into the Excelsior Manor Guesthouse can enjoy additional, special experiences at Excelsior. This includes the chance to blend, bottle and label their own wine!
This esteemed guesthouse offers a selection of stunning rooms. Options range from standard luxury rooms, classic rooms, budget double rooms to a luxury suite.
Once a family home, this restored manor house is now the pride jewel of Excelsior. What’s more, a stay here opens a world of possibilities up for guests.
Activities include fishing, scenic walks, MTB fun, bird watching, cellar tours, wine blending, swimming and more.
Blend Your Own Wine
While you are staying at the guesthouse, why not try your hand at blending your own wine? This remains one of my most incredible wine farm experiences!
The wine blending allows you to take up the tradition art of blending, using Excelsior’s red varietals. Once you have chosen your blend (sample and measure as you go), you can bottle, cork and label your own bottle.
Don’t worry about being nervous or doing it perfectly. Just enjoy the experience and take home your own creation. It’s sure to impress your friends and family! 🙂
To book a stay at Excelsior Guesthouse, contact Kirstin on +27 (023) 615 2050, (cell) +27 (082) 850 2267 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book online directly.
Franschhoek Wine Valley: Boschendal Wine Estate
Boschendal is one of my favourite wine farms of all time. I make no attempt to hide this. Because, over the years, this estate has remained consistently magical. Just as it was when I first visited as a seven-year-old way back when…
With a variety of incredible outdoor experiences (think: farm tours, MTB trails, horse rides and picnics), memorable food and wine and luxury cottage accommodation, Boschendal is a well-rounded, traditional Cape wine estate if ever there was one.
The estate also doubles as a gorgeous wedding venue, so it makes dreams come true in a big way.
This historic estate is situated in the world-famous Franschhoek Wine Valley. It is perhaps one of the most well-known Franschhoek estates around.
Different Boschendal Experiences to Enjoy
Whether you visit the estate for a delightful picnic offering; to explore its incredible gardens and grounds; for a wine tasting or special meal; or simply to get out and about, this estate is sure to thrill.
Personally, I recommend exploring the farm on foot before tucking into a tasty, seasonal picnic or delicious meal at The Deli or The Werf Restaurant.
If you haven’t sampled the estate’s wines, you can also add in a wine tasting or purchase some take-home wines.
For those who wish to linger longer, a stay in Boschendal’s amazing accommodation is sure to make for a stunning farm stay. I have not personally stayed overnight at Boschendal – but I have heard rave reviews about their accommodation.
For more information on Boschendal’s offerings, please contact them on: +27 (021) 870 4200 or email them at: email@example.com.
Stellenbosch Winelands: Villiera Wines
Villiera Wines is a beautiful Stellenbosch estate that offers incredible MCC and standard wines, a unique game drive experience and selected tastings for guests to enjoy.
The Villiera experience I want to focus on is their wonderful game driving offering. When we visited, we enjoyed a fascinating, insightful game drive before also savouring a delicious MCC and nougat pairing.
This specific pairing must be specially booked – but a standard wine tasting is included in the adult’s per person game drive fee.
A game drive experience offers you the chance to explore the amazing 220-hectare wildlife sanctuary. This natural reserve was first created by Villiera, in partnership with neighbouring properties, the Cape Garden Centre and Wild Clover Farm, in 2009.
Passion for Wildlife Conservation
Villiera’s owners and staff are extremely passionate about wildlife conservation, something that shines through. They also show great knowledge of the animals and terrain while taking guests out on the game drive.
Aside from seeing a wonderful array of animals – everything from springbuck, kudu, giraffe, eland, black wildebeest and zebra to name a few – there are also 12 dams, which draw plenty of bird-life to the farm.
Game drives last for approximately two hours. It is especially nice to start your morning with a game drive like we did. Game drives are, however, weather-permitting and must be booked in advance.
As for Villiera’s MCC and nougat pairing (R120 p/p), this was one of my more memorable tastings. Note: The MCC and nougat tasting is usually available on a pre-booked basis.
Their tasting room is lovely, with chic indoor seating and relaxed outdoor seating alike; this makes for a soothing setting.
Villiera is famous for their award-winning MCC and after sampling a selection of this, while nippling on nougat, it is no wonder why.
The estate is found at the Corner of R101 and R304, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch.
For more information on Villiera’s offerings or to book a tasting or game drive, please contact them on: +27 (021) 865 2002 or email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stellenbosch Winelands: Hazendal
Since its rebranding a few years back, Hazendal has fast become one of the most family-friendly estates in the Cape Winelands. While it definitely offers plenty for families with kids to enjoy, this estate is also ideal for friends and couples to explore together.
One thing that really stands out as a unique feature about this estate is its Cape-meets-Russian heritage. The two cultures merge together seamlessly at this Stellenbosch estate.
Visitors can enjoy the usual slice of Cape Dutch architecture and history iconic to so many local estates while also diving into the fascinating cultural aspects of Russia too.
Traditional Tea with a Russian Twist
The experience that blew my mind was Hazendal’s Russian tea offering. Whether you are a tea lover (or just here for the good food…) – this unique offering is a gastronomic delight.
It pays homage to the ancient drink of tea beautifully, all while adding an interesting Russian teatime twist and authenticity that transports you to a distant land.
With a selection of sweet and savoury teatime treats and some traditional Russian-style tea, revered traditions and porcelain dainties, this high tea is truly memorable and delicious. Best of all, there is even a child-friendly version available to young visitors.
This beautiful estate, which also offers a stunning wedding venue, is found on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, along Bottelary Road.
For more information on Hazendal’s offerings or to book their Russian tea, please contact them on: +27 (021) 903 5034 or email them at: email@example.com.
Helderberg Wine Route: Lourensford Wine Estate
This Helderberg wine farm is one of my favourites for many reasons. Not only does Lourensford possess enchanting grounds brimming with flowers, art sculptures and sprawling trees but it offers a selection of interesting on-site boutiques and galleries (like the Art Curator Gallery and Life Retreat Studio) and of course, the famous Lourensford Market.
Lourensford is admirable for more than just their excellent wines, beautiful estate and beloved Laurent wedding venue, though. They are also a stout champion for local conservation, sustainability and eco-friendly practices.
My experience recommendation from Lourensford is a bit of a three-pronged scenario because we visited on a Sunday to enjoy the market, on-site food/grounds and above all, their incredible Belgian chocolate and wine tasting. (If you’re a chocoholic, this is a must-try! Oh and they also have an interesting, new vodka tasting too now!)
So I would say, if you can, planning your visit similarly will be wonderful!
Belgian Chocolate and Wine in the Helderberg
You really can while away the hours here. Our fun-filled morning progressed into the early afternoon, as we explored every inch of the estate.
After that, we headed over to their elegant tasting room for our memorable chocolate and wine pairing.
I hadn’t tried chilli chocolate or even honey liqueur before that tasting but I left Lourensford a fan of both! This tasting remains one of my stand-outs and I would definitely recommend it, as it is quite well-priced too.
Visit Lourensford Market
After that, we enjoyed a delicious, affordable meal at the Coffee Roastery’s Red Riding Hood Deli. Although the estate also has The Millhouse Kitchen, Ghenwa’s Culinary Club and various pop-up food stalls at the Lourensford Market to curb those hunger pangs.
Finally, we took some time to explore every inch of this vibrant, bustling market – a treasure trove for food, goods and crafts – before concluding our memorable day at Lourensford.
The estate is also very child-friendly, thanks to its expansive lawns and gardens, Wunderkind play barn (for ages 3-12) and more. This makes it the ideal estate to visit as a couple, family or group of friends.
This stunning estate is situated in the Helderberg Region in Somerset West.
For more information on Lourenford’s offerings or to book a tasting, please contact them on: +27 (021) 847 2333 or email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stellenbosch Winelands: Marianne Wines
Marianne Wine Estate produces wine, naartjies (tangerines) and lemons. You can also stay in the estate’s accommodation offerings. The estate is very beautiful with stunning views of the mountain.
The best part of Marianne is that there are different activities that you can enjoy. There is a cellar tour, wine blending class, a chauffeur-driven private tour (which you can take to three different wine estates), a private lunch that you can book and even an e-bike tour.
I really enjoyed the biltong-paired wine tasting. The estate is owned by a French family and I love how they paired wine and a very South African snack, like biltong, together!
Read more about Nikki’s experience here.
Marianne Wines is located in the midst of the scenic Stellenbosch Winelands.
For more information on Marianne Wine Estate’s offerings or to book a tasting, please contact them on: +27 (021) 875 5040 or contact them online here.
I would like to extend my thanks to my two guest writers, Nicolette and Barbara for their lovely guest features on this post.
Thank you both so much for sharing your best wine farm experiences and photos with us! 🙂
Please remember that COVID-19 rules and regulations may affect opening times and availability of wine farm restaurants and even on-site activities mentioned in this post.
As such, I can assume no responsibility for any closures or limited services.
For the latest provincial and national COVID-19 restrictions and levels, please visit an official government portal.
Please also remember to:
- Wear a mask in public (fineable by law);
- Practice social distancing;
- Sanitise frequently;
- Stay home if you feel unwell.
Author: Tamlyn Ryan
Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.
Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.