On Saturday 28 March 2015, during my short vacation in Cape Town I went on a one day wine tour with Vintage Local Tours. The start up is based in Cape Town, and it focuses on providing affordable wine tours to the surrounding areas.
The trip started early, if my memory serves me correct, at 7 and ended probably around 3. I could be wrong about what time it ended, it was a wine tour after all. The tour included a trip to 3 farms, a buffet brunch, wine tasting and chocolate tasting.
The tour bus departed from Vanguard Estate. This is where most of the people boarded and then we headed onto Stellenbosch, where the rest of the day trippers were picked up. We were a fun mix people, all South African but from different parts of the country. Once everyone was on board, we road through some parts of Stellies, while the conductor and owner of Vintage Local Tours, Wynoma Michaels, explained the history of the town and various buildings. We then headed onto Franschhoek, where we first done some sightseeing and took some photographs. We were then taken to the Organic Market, which was held in the grounds of a church.
Market and Breakfast
The market was small, but enjoyable as no two stalls were the same. Nearly everything on sale was either handmade, organic or artisanal. Once everyone was done shopping, we headed to the Protea Hotel for a buffet breakfast. As a food lover, I love anything with a buffet breakfast. Buffet breakfasts beat buffet lunches and dinners any day.
After eating, everybody loosened up and we headed headed to quaint wine shop (I forgot its name). The shop had a cellar which contained bottles that probably haven’t been dusted in touched in the last 300 years. It also had a number of interesting wine memorabilia.
We then headed to Huguenot Chocolates to do some chocolate tasting and of course I couldn’t whip my card out fast enough to purchase one of nearly every chocolate on display. I will shamelessly admit that once I returned to PE, I ate every single one of them by myself. Those 2kgs I picked up, yes I’m blaming these chocolates deliciousness for every single gram I gained. Once the chocoholics in the group finished cleaning out the shop, we headed over to our first farm, the world renown, La Motte. On La Motte, we learnt about the history of the farm, its owners and view the museum, which houses artwork by JH Pienaar and other contemporary artwork.
The Franschhoek Motor Museum
Once we where done on La Motte, we went to L’Ormarins, which houses the Franschhoek Motor Museum. Despite not having much of an interest in cars, I took photographs of nearly every vehicle on display, cause most of them were stunning. By this time, a lot of us were getting anxious to get to the farm where we’ll be doing our wine tasting. We’ve done a lot of walking. The day was blazing hot and we were thirsty for something other than the water and snacks were were given on the trip so far.
Solms Delta Wine Estate
After trotting through the motor museum, we headed to the event that everyone was looking forward to, the wine tasting at Solms Delta Wine Estate. When we got there, we first visited their museum, which displayed the history of the people in the Franschhoek area. The wine tasting was held on the porch of the restaurant.We also had some sweet and savoury treats to pair with the wines.
The wine tasting was hosted by Leon and he was a hoot and a half. We were howling in laughter with the endless jokes he made. I think we tasted all their wines they had on offer and nobody went home with less than 2 bottles of wine. Some of us bought 11 bottles of wine, others 5, but hey no judgement. They had a special with their Rose, Chenin Blanc and Shiraz in a kit. I picked up a kit, a bottle of Amalie and a bottle of Perry for a friend. I didn’t pick up a bottle of the wine that I thought tasted the best, a shiraz called Africana. Unfortunately, Africana was also the most expensive wine they had on offer. I told myself I will try and find a bottle some other time when I’m back in PE.
Looking back, tipsy Odette was not the brightest. I should have probably just bought Africana instead of the kit or Amalie, because if I can find it in PE, I’m going to pay a lot more for it that what I would have at the farm. Actually I should I have taken all of the wines I wanted, which was basically everything with the exception of one.
I had a great time on the tour and at R320 per person, it was definitely value for money. No two tours are the same, so if the opportunity arises I will go on another one again. For more info about Vintage Local Tours, check out their Facebook page. Excuse the terrible pics. I managed to forget to take my camera the morning of the tour.
Accommodation in Franschhoek
Franschhoek has so many things to do, great food to taste and wine farms to visit. This tour makes me want to visit the area again. I yearn to relax under an oak tree providing shade over the cobbled stone floor of a restaurant on a wine farm. AccommoDirect.com has over 70 accommodation listings in and around Franschhoek. The listings contain a number of luxurious living options. There are also budget options, but it’s Franschhoek and as the saying goes “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. The great thing about the listings on AccomoDirect, is that some of the listings are wine farms. So it’s possible to go wine tasting without leaving the facility. That’s a win-win situation for me.