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April 11, 2013

Cape Town’s best wine, beer and whisky tours

Cape Wine and Leisure Tours is just one of the many great wine-tour offerings taking Cape Town by storm. Photo courtesy of Cape Wine and Leisure Tours.

Cape Town has long been renowned for its beautiful winelands and award-winning wines. But more recently, beer and spirits have become a part of its quaff culture. Newlands Brewery is the oldest brewery in South Africa, while microbreweries are popping up all over the region. There is also something to quench the thirst of lovers of fine whisky and brandy, with hotels doing tastings and pairings.

Wine tours

Wine abounds! Constantia Valley, Durbanville Valley and the Helderberg Wine Route are the closest winelands regions to Cape Town central. But 30 to 45 minutes away, visitors will be spoilt for choice in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and the Overberg and Overstrand areas. Stellenbosch has the oldest organised wine route in South Africa, while Franschhoek offers bubbly options in addition to wines and mouth-watering cuisine.

Many tours of the winelands are paired with activities such as a harvesting, or cultural heritage and gourmet experiences. Try Cape Fusion Tours, Cape Wine and Leisure Tours or Gourmet Wine Tours, to name a few.

Vineyard Ventures does all of the above, as well as offering trips to inspiring gardens and private homes of residents.

Bikes 'n Wines is South Africa's only carbon-neutral tour of the winelands, with an interesting combination of wine tasting and mountain biking.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram winds itself through the valley, taking travellers back 300 years to the old wine-making days. It stops at some of Franschhoek’s most famed wine estates for guests to hop off and explore.

Beer routes

Newlands Brewery, the oldest operating brewery in South Africa and in Africa, dates back to 1820 and offers beer-tasting tours daily. Photo courtesy of Newlands Brewery

Beer tasting is fast becoming a must-do experience in the Mother City. Microbrewery beers from Boston, Jack Black's or Mitchell’s are in the hands of Cape Town’s Friday night cool set, while Coffee Beans Routes has launched the Cape Town Beer Route, which takes visitors on a half-day journey from mainstream beer production and emerging craft-beer culture to traditional African beer-brewing history and techniques.

You can also try a bespoke beer tasting at the impressive Newlands Brewery. A tasty part of its guided tours, which see you meandering all over the extensive site, is two free beers in the underground pub.

Whisky and brandy happenings

The recently launched Urban Brandy Cocktail Route takes you to five different venues in Cape Town. Photo courtesy of Spit or Swallow

Looking for something with age or mellowness?

Try the Western Cape Brandy Route or the recently launched Urban Brandy Cocktail Route. The latter takes you to five different Cape Town venues. But if meandering on your lonesome is more your thing, try these recommended brandy distillers: Klipdrift Brandy Distillery , Van Ryn Brandy Distillery, Southern Cape Vineyards and KWV.

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