Along with Bordeaux, Santorini and Tuscany, Cape Town is one of the world’s best destinations for wine tasting, and the Franschhoek region in the Western Cape is the perfect place to discover centuries-old vineyards.
One of South Africa’s oldest settlements, with a 300-year history, Franschhoek is a must-visit for its Cape Dutch architecture, its foodie scene and its wine. Its culinary landscape has cemented it as the country’s gastronomical capital, while its Wine Valley is one of the most popular to visit in South Africa.
Tracing its roots back to French Huguenot refugees in 1688, the Franschhoek Wine Valley is steeped in history, with most of the farms still retaining their French monikers and some still boasting their Dutch homestead. There are more vineyards than you can count on two hands, spanning everything from boutique wineries to large cellars. Among them is one of the first Huguenot farms, La Bourgogne, which specialises in sémillon, chardonnay, malbec and shiraz; the 22-hectare (54-acre) Holden Manz Wine Estate, which cultivates cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and merlot; and the family-run Le Lude, which specialises in bottled sparkling wines. And the best way to explore these, along with countless others? By tram.
Pre-book a day ticket for a hop-on, hop-off tour on the Franschhoek Wine Tram and you will have two options to travel around in – a vintage-style railway tram or an open-air tram bus – with views of the historic village and surrounding mountains guaranteed in between stop-offs. At the wineries, you can expect a variety of things to do, including cellar tours, wine tastings with cheese and chocolate pairings or the chance to have a cheeky picnic. Plus, if any wines pique your interest, you can buy them and leave them with the tour host to collect at the end of the day. Wine lovers, rejoice!