I’ll admit it, I have “wino” in my blood, and sometimes it shows- particularly during my time in South Africa.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know I love a good wine tasting (or five), but I’m never one to call myself an expert. Just to share something embarrassing, but telling: I only learned what a “sommelier” did recently (and how to spell it). After someone explained this to me, I followed up with a question: “Well, but WHY?!” Okay, so I’m not an expert. Like I said…
As with many other faux-winos, I simply know what I like. I’m a “lush for the right bottle” type of gal or, as my boyfriend jokes “a trashcan alcoholic.” The older I get the more I steer away from the hard stuff and lean towards a soul-soothing glass of vino. But, while I love the wine itself, it’s about so much more than drinking.
In truth, my favorite part of wine tasting isn’t even the wine. It’s the rituals and beautiful locations that tend to come with it.
It’s been incredible exploring all the wine farms around the cape. There are endless wine farms (or wineries like we call them back home) here in South Africa, so I decided to start a “American Wino” series of posts to share my favorite finds.
So far, I haven’t had a bad experience yet. South Africa may just be the perfect setting to become a real-life wino…
Driving from one gorgeous wine estate to the next along countrysides featuring mountains, wild flowers, farms of all kinds and wild animals? Now, that’s my kind of wine tour.
Luckily my new home-away-from-home, Cape Town, is planted amidst the richest wine region in the country.
Being a California girl at heart, it warms me inside to be near so much wine (Napa Valley used to practically be my backyard)…The endless wine farms make me a feel a bit more at home!
I’ve visited more wineries than I can remember (because after the third winery of the day I tend to stop taking notes, you surely understand) but there were a few that really stood out and are calling me back!
Below are five places I’ve let my inner wino come out. Who’s coming with me for the next five?!
TOKARA WINE ESTATE
Located in Stellenbosch, this winery remains one of my all time favorites. When you walk into the tasting room, you’re greeted with thought provoking sculptures and other artwork. Then there’s a restaurant with floor to ceiling glass windows, enabling views from any and every angle of the room.
Ummm…Art + food + wine + scenery that looks painted itself…color me a happy drinking girl!
ERNIE ELS WINE ESTATE
Another WIN for Stellenbosch, Ernie Els is a unique place with delicious offerings. Complete with a killer scenery, golf putting greens and fun photo op spots, this wine farm isn’t just about the wine (which is fantastic, by the way). It’s a whole experience. We came here after two other stops so we were good and buzzed. The manager gave us free wine and talked to us past closing time.
This was my first introduction to South African wine farms. The estate is very pretty with a large banquet room that houses the tastings. I would say it’s more of a place to go for an event or a family picnic, rather than a quick tasting, but a must see regardless. I loved their chardonnay (and I am usually not a fan!).
Found in Franschoek, about 30 minues from Cape Town city center, this place is great spot to start your wine tasting day/tour.
I first came to La Motte wine farm in the middle of June (African winter) and it warmed me up inside! The room with all of the barrels is open to the public and is attached to a large tasting room styled with beautifully set banquet tables. We loved their coveted 92-point Syrah-Viognier blend, which had more award stickers on the bottle than I could count (but I also don’t count well while drinking).
My boyfriend took me here for lunch in the sun, by the water, then for a wine tasting across the water in the tasting room. It was romantic AND delicious. Double win.
I plan to keep exploring as many new wineries as I can before revisiting some of the same ones, but I may have to make an exception for some of these. Can you blame me?
Where are YOUR favorite wineries around the world? Leave yours in the comments so I can check them out too!
Gotta run…vino calls.
Stay tuned for Part II where I will feature five more wine farms that I LOVE!