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Intimate wine estates in Franschhoek

It’s easy to be swept away by grand buildings, fancy labels and well-known names – but, did you know that you could be missing out on a few hidden gems?

With over 50 estates in the Franschhoek Valley, choosing a wine estate to visit can be near impossible – so, to help you make your decision, we’ve found three lesser-known estates that you should add to your “must-visit” list.

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Le Lude

A family winery situated on the edge of town, Le Lude specialises in bottle fermented sparkling wines – Méthode Cap Classique – and, in their own words, “Le Lude is also the first winery in South Africa to produce the artisanal Agrafe bottle fermented sparkling wine. This is the method of fermenting the wine under cork instead of crown cap”. The estate also offers a beautiful, greenhouse-style restaurant and cottage for overnight guests.

Find them: Le Lude, Lambrechts Road, Franschhoek | 021 100 3465

La Bri

Established in the late 17th century, La Bri’s modern history began with their 2008 harvest – the first to be crushed in the new, modern 120 tonne cellar on the estate. Using a gravity-fed winemaking process, the estate produces limited volumes of superior quality, elegant wines. Complete with a spectacular backdrop and tasting balcony, their range of wines includes: The Affinity Blend (Bordeaux blend), a barrel fermented Chardonnay, Shiraz-Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Find themLa Bri Estate, Excelsior Road, Franschhoek | 021 876 2593

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La Petite Ferme

La Petite Ferme is a small wine estate that only produces enough wine to sell on the property – if you’re looking for limited edition, then, this is it. Says their winemaker, Wikus, “The thing about wine making is that some bigger wineries don’t have the opportunity to go out and pick individual parcels that are specific to the area and to the farm itself, but because we are fairly small and everything is done by hand I can go out and find these unique spots within La Petite Ferme’s vineyards and showcase what we can do”. Offering luxury accommodation and an award-winning restaurant, it’s the perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon in the valley.

Find them: La Petite Ferme, Franschhoek Pass Road, Franschhoek | 021 876 3016

Experience the best of Cape Town – and beyond – with Cape Voyage. Contact us for more information on how we can help craft your perfect experience.

Treats for mom this Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day around the corner, you might be thinking of ways to treat mom that are a little different. We’ve put together a few ideas of ways to spoil her, no matter what your budget.

Afternoon tea at La Residence

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From bruschetta to homemade scones, lemon curd to berry cheesecake, Chiffon cake to Victoria sponge, macarons to mini quiches and brownies – if you’re looking for an indulgent sweet treat, with spectacular views – this is it. While La Residence serves as a retreat for VIP guests, members of the public are welcome to enjoy all meals at the hotel, with prior booking. The Afternoon Tea is R400 per person, and definitely one of the more special activities in the valley.

A family picnic in Cape Point

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Showing that time together as a family is sometimes what mom wants most, why not pack a picnic and head town to Cape Point? The perfect outing for all ages, stop at a deli for some fresh bread, charcuterie and local cheese – and you have a feast that no one will be able to turn down. With plenty of space to walk off lunch – and endless views – it’s sure to be a Mother’s Day that will be remembered for years to come.

A hands-on chocolate workshop

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Go one step further than simply giving mom chocolate – and try your hand at making your own! The new Lindt Chocolate Studio in Cape Town offers an assortment of delicious classes – from truffles, to chocolate cake and more. Spend some time in the studio together, before enjoying the fruits of your labour. Nothing says “love” more than chocolate-covered fingers.

A spa treatment for two

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The Rasul treatment at the Radisson Blu Waterfront is the perfect pampering-for-two. Sit in a steam room and apply exfoliating and detoxifying body masks, before a gentle rain comes down from the ceiling. The intimate environment makes it the perfect option for a mother-daughter-catch up.

Experience the best of Cape Town – and beyond – with Cape Voyage. Contact us for more information on how we can help craft your perfect experience.

A hidden gem in Franschhoek – lunch at Mont Rochelle

It might seem strange to call Mont Rochelle “hidden”, as it is “Sir Richard Branson’s South African vineyard”, but it’s often not on the radar of many visiting beautiful Franschhoek.

A short drive off Main Road, Mont Rochelle encompasses two restaurants, a wine tasting area and a hotel.

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Popping in to the less formal of the two restaurants – The Country Kitchen – you’re greeted by a light, bright space, as well as the option to sit outside, if the winelands heat isn’t too much for you.  The menu is divided into small plates – for those who prefer a light lunch or tapas option – and then a traditional three course menu, for those whose hunger is slightly more substantial.

Prices are in line with what you would expect in the area, but portions are substantial. Mains are a standard R195 and come with a choice of two side dishes. Think along the lines of Cape Malay seafood potjie, grilled sumac lamb chops and beef brisket with mustard jus. In an area where fine dining tends to reign supreme, The Country Kitchen lives up to its name and offers hearty fare to happy patrons.

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Their wines may be not as well-known as their neighbours, but are well-priced and very easy drinking – we recommend a wine tasting while you happily digest your meal. It’s also worth nothing that the kitchen is very willing to accommodate all dietary requirements, with advance notice.

Experience the best of Cape Town – and beyond – with Cape Voyage. Contact us for more information on how we can help craft your perfect experience.

 

A day at Asara Wine Estate

Considering the sheer volume of wine estates in the Cape, choosing where to begin can be an overwhelming task – especially if your time in the region is limited.

As far as holistic wine estate experiences go, we can recommend Asara with confidence. Barely 40 minutes outside of Cape Town, and off one of Stellenbosch’s biggest roads, you can be forgiven for thinking that you’ve reached another world once you come to the end of Asara’s tree-lined path.

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View endless mountain ranges, a gorgeous lake, a European-style courtyard, you could easily spend the day there – and, that’s how the team has designed it. Apart from the standard wine-tasting, Asara also boasts two restaurants and a dedicated gin bar – with the largest collection of gins in the Southern Hemisphere. This makes Asara a fantastic choice if some in your party aren’t big wine fans, as there is another tipple on offer.

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Sansibar is the more casual restaurant and the perfect option for an al fresco lunch, given its beautiful deck that extends across the lake. The menu boasts favourites such as wood-fired pizzas and burgers, along with substantial salads for the more health-conscious. In terms of drinks, ask the barman to surprise you with a bespoke gin and tonic – you can expect intriguing combinations such as rose and pink peppercorn and rosemary and orange.

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Dinner is a romantic affair at Asara, and is served at the upmarket, newly-opened Mise en Place Restaurant, at the water’s edge. Expect full silver service, and a menu to match. Gin-cured salmon, oven-roasted pork belly and chocolate soufflé, finished table side, all feature on their current summer menu. If you’re looking for the perfect spot to “pop the question” on your Cape adventure – or, are simply celebrating a special occasion – then, look no further than Mise en Place.

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Experience the best of Cape Town – and beyond – with Cape Voyage. Contact us for more information on how we can help craft your perfect experience.

Constantia Wine Route

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The Constantia Valley truly is Cape Town’s Vineyard.

It is the oldest wine producing region in the southern hemisphere with an uninterrupted history of winemaking since 1685. The area is steeped in history and is home to some of the best examples of Cape Dutch architecture. The largest wine estate, Groot Constantia, is home to Van der Stel’s original manor house museum and is an excellent example of this architectural style.

Indulge in wine tasting and cellar tours at the wine farms and buy your favourite tipple directly from the estate. There are numerous award-winning restaurants in the Constantia Vineyards.

The valley was the cradle of quality winemaking in South Africa and the name Constantia is linked with the most famous wines ever produced in this country. Enjoyed by Napoleon Bonaparte and royalty in the 18th century, Constantia Valley’s unique combination of terroir and climate produces some of the world’s finest wines that continue to this day to win accolades and international awards for consistently high standard and quality.

Call us for more information on this one day tour or Request a Quote.

Read more: Wine Estates in Constantia

Article courtesy: Constantia Valley. Cape Peninsula Marketing

Segway tours at Spier Wine Estate

On Saturday we had the opportunity to tour Spier Wine Estate on a Segway PT (Personal Transporter), a two-wheeled self balancing electric vehicle. What an incredible experience, although I must say I was skeptical and to be honest terrified of these vehicles with no brakes!

Our group had to meet at 09h45 at the Wine Tasting room.  Once we had completed the indemnity form it did cross my mind to  stay back, enjoy the views and perhaps even do some wine tasting.

Before each tour guests receive a comprehensive orientation by an experienced Segway trainer. Stanley was assigned to train our group. I needed more than group training and Eric quickly came to my rescue to offer a one on one training session! I’m glad he jumped in, as I was ready to back out. The training takes between 15 and 20 minutes and covers operational and safety procedures. You learn to go forward by leaning forward, reverse by leaning back, (I didn’t see a need for that!) and how to turn by using the ‘lean steer’ handlebar. To stop, there are no brakes you just need to stand upright, and find your balance! Quite a strange concept but it works!

 

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Once we had completed the mini obstacle course, Eric gave me the green light to join the group. I was feeling less apprehensive and I was determined to enjoy this challenge!

We started the tour in tortoise mode with our guide Stanley ensuring that everyone was safe and looking a little more comfortable. Once we were more confident the Segways were taken off the slower mode to allow us to go a little faster. The top speed is 20kms.

The tour takes approximately an hour and what an amazing experience. You glide through the farm and learn interesting facts about the Protea Garden, the vineyards and the wastewater treatment plant which combines nature, art and technology.

 

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Photographs courtesy of Segway Spier

The one-hour tour costs R300 per person and leaves at 09h00, 10h00, 12h00pm, 13h30 and 15h00 daily; the two-hour option which leaves at 09h00, 12h00 and 15h00 is R500 per person  and includes a complimentary wine tasting. When the weather allows, there is also a later sunset tour that gives participants the chance to see the vineyards bathed in vibrant colours as the sun goes down.

Booking is essential and can be done by visiting the Spier website, or the Segway Tour website. Alternatively you can call  +27 (0)21 809 1157 or email spier@segway.co.za. Guests must meet at the farm’s main visitor centre 30 minutes before the excursion is set to start. No children below the age of 10 are allowed on the one-hour tour and no children younger than 12 can participate in the two-hour trip. Remember to wear sunblock and comfortable shoes.  Helmets are provided.

Highly recommended for a fun day out in Stellenbosch.   Contact us for more information.  We can collect you from your hotel and book your tickets in advance.

Keep an eye on this site for all the Cape Town winter specials!

 

 

 

Looking for a child friendly wine estate?

Last weekend saw the end of the Cape Epic. 8 days on their bikes, 739km and 16000m of climbing! An incredible week watching super fit athletes cycling in mountainous, dusty and very hot conditions.

Monday was time to relax! A day to reflect on the week, and celebrate with friends and family! So the question was posed,  “Where are we going to enjoy a day out in a relaxed environment?”  The only stipulation was to find a beautiful, child-friendly, wine estate.

The unanimous decision was Warwick Wine Estate. On Sunday we called to order the gourmet picnic for our party of 12 and on Monday we headed for the winelands.  I can’t think of a better way to start the week and as we parked the cars we knew we had made the right choice!

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When we booked we mentioned we had toddlers in our party so a table had been reserved right next to the water feature. An immediate hit!  T-shirts off and nappies on, the water amused the toddlers for hours.

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With the rolling lawns and beautiful views of the Kanonkop and Simonberg mountains, Warick certainly lends itself to the perfect picnic venue. Our party immediately chose a comfortable spot. Some sat around the table, other chose to relax on the grassy areas with blankets and cushions.

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The gourmet picnic was outstanding. Pretzel rolls (delicious!), cheese, trout, biltong pate, baby potato salad tossed in olives, sundried tomatoes & fresh basil vinaigrette; and for those with a sweet tooth, a cheesecake pot for dessert.

Plenty of delicious fresh food, chilled Warick wine and happy children certainly allowed everyone to relax after a tough and challenging week.

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Warwick is open 7 days a week.  Enquire online, 24 hours in advance or call  directly to make a booking.+27 21 884 4410

 

 

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