It’s time to be adventurous, hit the dirt road and explore a few charming wine farms that are just a little off the tourist beat.
1 Strandveld Vineyards
As the most Southern vineyards in Africa, Strandveld very much deserves to be on this list. The estate is located near the old Moravian missionary town of Elim and its vineyards lie just 11 km from the cool Atlantic coastline. Strandveld has carved a name for itself as one of the top cool climate Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Pinot Noir producers, churning out several exciting blends with maritime-inspired names such as Navigator and Adamastor, which pay homage to the early European explorers who first sailed the treacherous southern Cape coastline. With little else besides vineyards and fynbos surrounding it, Strandveld’s allure is in its peace and tranquility and its two cottages provide an ideal escape from city life while you sip on award-winning wines.
2 Capaia Wines
A little detour off the N7 takes you through fields of canola and wheat and all the way to the gates of Capaia Wines. As one of the very few vineyards in the Philadelphia wine ward, Capaia is a real gem for those who seek her out. Call ahead to arrange a tour of the amazing cellar where you’ll be introduced to the different stages of winemaking. Capaia has the largest collection of oak fermenters in Africa – a whopping 56! – all made from 150-year-old French oak trees. After the tour, head to Mariella’s where Chef Mark Hartlief prepares hearty meals to be enjoyed with a glass or two of wine.
Although several farms are located on Highlands Road in the Elgin Wine Valley, to get to Iona, you need to venture much farther to where the road becomes dirt and makes a lonely ascent into the Hottentots Holland Mountains with very little signage and the odd baboon. Then, as if from nowhere, the entrance to Iona appears, nestled amongst acres of farmland and vineyards. Iona’s cosy tasting room features an interesting art collection and fireplace with magnificent views, but the highlight is, of course, the wine: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and the One Man Band, a shiraz-based blend.
4 Groote Post
Next time you’re headed up the West Coast, take a quick detour to Groote Post Wine Estate. Located up a dusty dirt road, you’ll be greeted with a refreshing glass of wine at the historic Cape Dutch homestead. Try their Brut Rose Methode Cap Classique before enjoying a tasty lunch at the on-site restaurant Hilda’s, which serves steal rolls with garlic cream and pork belly.
Kim Rabe enjoys wine country, tasting wine and doing wine tours. Read more from her at Boutique Winery Tours.
Photography Kim Rabe and Iona Wines Elgin