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January 18, 2013

Exploring the Cape’s Winelands

Contantia Uitsig is just one of the many award-winning wine estates that should be explored in Cape Town. Photo courtesy of Bluester

There is nothing that says holiday like a lazy day in the Winelands ... sipping wines and savouring excellent cuisine, while enjoying relaxing leafy landscapes.

The Constantia Valley is only 20 minutes' drive from the CBD and is South Africa’s oldest wine farming area. Eat at the award-winning restaurant La Colombe at Constantia Uitsig, or stay at the Steenberg Hotel and, while there, eat at Bistro Sixteen82 – which was recently lauded by  the New York Times as one of the places to go in 2013.

A newer route; The Durbanville Wine Valley is fast becoming a destination of choice, at a mere 30 minutes’ drive from Cape Town’s CBD. Eat at Poplars Restaurant on D’Aria Wine Estate, stay at Clara Anna Fontein Private Game Reserve and Lodge and book a seat for a theatrical Villa Pascal dinner.

The Stellenbosch Wine Route was founded in 1971 and was the first wine region in South Africa to establish an organised route. Now, the Helderberg Wine Route of Somerset West forms part of the Stellenbosch Wine Route and together they offer a circular itinerary of over 200 wine estates and grape producers. Stellenbosch and Somerset West are both less than an hour's drive out of Cape Town. There are endless choices for excellent restaurants – among them Eight at Spier. Stay at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West and go strawberry-picking in season.

Franschhoek is also famed as a culinary region and is the only region with a Cap Classique (sparkling wine) Route. Eat at The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais – rated 57 on the S. Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants List for 2012, stay at La Cabriere Country House and visit the Wine and Motor Museum for an interesting take on this region’s passions.

Wine routes to be explored further afield include the nearby Elgin Wine Route, noted for its cool-climate terroir; the Hermanus Wine Route, which stretches for 6.7km along the R320 through the picturesque Hemel-en-Aarde Valley; Paarl, with its historical charm, culture and architectural heritage; and Robertson, the largest wine-producing area under irrigation in South Africa. It is also the western gateway to Route 62, an inland drive to the Eastern Cape.

Our handy calendar will help you plan travel around wine-related events in 2013! 

Delaire Graff Estate is one of hundreds of wine farms in the Cape Winelands. Photo courtesy of Coda

Cape Winelands panorama. Photo courtesy of Rob Wallace

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