Cape Town wine tasting: your questions answered

New to the world of wine tasting? The Cape winelands are a relaxed spot, but there are a few simple guidelines to follow if you want to get the most out of your Cape Town wine-tasting experience.

What does it cost?

This will vary from farm to farm. Some wine farms offer tastings free of charge, while others charge a nominal fee (rarely more than R50) to taste their range of wines. Generally, the closer the estate is to Cape Town the more chance they will charge for tastings, with most Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek wine estates asking a fee for tastings. As you explore further into the Elgin and Hemel-en-Aarde valleys, as well as the Breede River Valley near Robertson, wine tastings are typically free of charge.

Must I book ahead?

Most wine estates are open from 09h00 to 17h00 Monday to Friday, and usually half-day (09h00 to 13h00) on Saturday, and welcome walk-in visitors. Most estates are closed on Sundays, although a good range of Stellenbosch farms now welcome visitors on Sundays too. Smaller boutique estates typically only offer tastings “by appointment” only, but are usually happy to welcome visitors who call ahead. Tourist maps of the wine regions will list opening hours and contact details — always check ahead to avoid disappointment.

Can I drink and then drive?

Absolutely not! South African authorities are becoming increasingly strict on drink driving, and after one to two glasses of wine you will be over the legal limit and risk prosecution if stopped by traffic police. Instead, select a designated driver or book a guided tour with a driver.

Can I buy wine at the estate?

Yes. All local wine estates offer what they call “cellar door” sales, and many will even be able to arrange shipping to your home country, or connect you with their local agent.

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