The Cape Winelands is a region of the Western Cape Province of South Africa. It is the largest wine producing region in South Africa and is divided into six main wine regions, each offering its own unique wine route. We drove through parts of three of the regions: Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl.
Stellenbosch, South Africa’s second oldest town after Cape Town, was founded in 1679 during the period of control by the Dutch East India Company. The name Stellenbosch (‘Van Der Stel’s forest’) was given to the site of Governor Simon van der Stel’s camp after he was captivated by the area’s beauty.
Franschhoek was founded in 1688 by French Huguenots. The area was originally named “Olifantshoek” after the vast herds of elephants that roamed the area. The name was later changed to “le Coin Français” meaning “French Corner” and then finally to Franschhoek (Dutch for “French Corner”).
The name of Paarl was derived from settlers seeing the giant granite rock, that sits atop a hill outside the town, glistening in the sun after a rainstorm. They named it “de Diamondt en de Peerlberg” (Diamond and Pearl Mountain) and later the Diamond part was dropped.
Our first stop was Delaire Graff Estate for one of the most spectacular views in the wine country. The “Tuscany-esque” landscape provides the perfect backdrop to the estates exquisite restaurants, winery, art, jewelry and gardens. We only had time for a quick peek, but it was evident why people love this luxurious jewel in Stellenbosch.
A quick wine tasting at La Motte, and then we lunched at Bread and Wine, the yummy restaurant at the Môreson Family Winery. We were first introduced to Môreson Chardonnay by one of the owners, Richard Friedman, who currently resides in Dallas. Their wines are served at Shinsei and sold at Dallas Fine Wine. It was fun to visit the vineyard that produces these yummy wines, plus our lunch was delicious.
Our destination for dinner and overnight was Babylonstoren, and as our godson Rhys, would say “Oh me oh my!” What a treat. We could have stayed at this lush, prolific farm and vineyard for days. The architecture, the wines, the gardens, the food, the accommodations and the service just couldn’t have been any better.
Special thanks to Khashana Travel for our very special tour and getaway in the Cape Winelands.