For the longest time, The Franschhoek Cellars served as a landmark for those heading to the town. After passing the glorious mountains, numerous wine estates and nature filled landscapes, you would see the sign and know the town is just up ahead. Now things have changed. They have undergone a major revamp, and have a variety of wonderful venues to enjoy. You’ll pop in for a glass of wine, and end up spending the whole day.
The first thing to note is that The Franschhoek Cellars is not a wine farm. Rather, it is a place that showcases the three great brands in their stable; Brampton, Bellingham and The Franschhoek Cellar wines. Unlike wine farms that have one particular look and feel throughout, The Franschhoek Cellars had the freedom to create a number of diverse spaces that reflect the different identities of their wines. Wine lover or not, you will find a spot here that will suit your tastes perfectly.
This is the newest space to The Franschhoek Cellars and arguably the most fun. It is the space for Brampton Wines, a brand specially made for the young wine drinkers who like fun, fruity and modern wine. This is reflected in the space. Converted from an old train platform, it has large windows that showcase the stunning surrounding scenery, a checkered floor that will make you smile and an easy going atmosphere that is perfect for an afternoon of laughs and conversation while sipping on your favourite Brampton Wine. The space is divided into a bistro and beer garden and you can enjoy tapas style food and flatbreads in both areas.
The Tasting Room
The Tasting Room is a short walk from The Platform, but as soon as you enter it, you feel like you have gone to a completely different place. Warm lighting, high ceilings and laid out tables are a stark contrast to the outdoor, informal setting of The Platform. One of the most striking features of this space is the light fixtures. Long ropes hang from the ceiling with an exposed light bulb at the end. It’s truly remarkable. Here you can taste both Franschhoek Cellar and Bellingham wines and check out their wine store.
A great offering at The Tasting Room is a rub and spread pairing with Bellingham wines. Rather than do the usual, here you can taste specially made butters, rubs and pastes that bring out incredible flavours.
The Bernard Premium Lounge
This space is the epitome of sophistication. It’s reminiscent of those parlours men used to retire to after dinner to play cards, smoke cigars and have a drink or two back in the day. Here you can do exclusive tastings of the Bernard Series, a premium selection of award-winning wines that pays tribute to Bernard Podlashuk, the pioneer winemaker who established the Bellingham homestead outside Franschhoek in 1943.
You will find photographs of Bernard and his wife throughout the space and it’s a nice intimate space perfect for those who want to escape and enjoy fine wine.
All the spaces have stunning views, the venue with the ultimate vistas is Mountain View. When you enter, you pass two huge contraptions into a red wine maturation cellar that is just as cool as it sounds. Above this is a private function area that will blow your mind. Think sophisticated log cabin with a large balcony that overlooks rolling mountains, a forest of weeping willows and a lake where numerous birds visit.
These are just four venues you can visit at The Franschhoek Cellars. There is also a kids play area, garden, coffee shop, lapa and (on those days you drink a little too much) two self catering cottages. All the venues can be hired out for private functions. Whether you’re hosting a conference, getting married or having a birthday party, there is a space that will accommodate your needs.
If you tour all the spaces in one day, it will feel as if you have done an entire wine route. For me, it is the perfect place to take my (big) family. Everyone has very different tastes, but they will find a space they speaks to their soul and we can all enjoy a great day out at the same place!