Escape the Winelands crowds

The Winelands beyond Cape Town attract plenty of tourists, but what if you’d rather avoid the crowds and the tour busses in favour of something more authentic? Winelands tour guide Stephen Flesch has just the place for you…

One of the estates I love visiting and taking my clients to is a small family-run winery in the Helderberg region, called Grangehurst.

The cellar is run by winemaker Jeremy Walker and his wife Mandy; a lovely couple who really do make beautiful wines. They have a small vineyard, but the main focus of their production is buying in grapes that they turn into wonderful wines.

They are primarily a red wine producer although they do also have a rosé made from five different grape varieties.

The key thing about Grangehurst is that they make wines in a classic way; these are wines that are meant to age. When you go to the cellar you’ll taste wines from 2006 and 2007. They are ready to drink now, but they will also age happily for another 10 or 15 years.

They are wonderful people with lovely wines, plus it’s an intimate tasting room with no crowds.

Vergelegen: A classic Cape estate

With hundreds of wine estates in and around Cape Town it’s often difficult deciding which ones are worth a visit. We asked winelands tour guide Stephen Flesch for one of his favourites…

Vergelegen is one of the premier wineries in the Stellenbosch region and is a really lovely place to visit. Owned by Angle American, the grounds are impressive with beautiful gardens to explore. And the wines are fantastic.

There’s a separate tasting centre where you go to taste the wines, and after tasting you can walk through the gardens and visit the historic manor house. There are also cellar tours that happen twice a day, at 11am and 3pm, which take about an hour.

All of their wines are top quality and really worth tasting. The GVB range is their premium range. They are quite expensive for locals, but by international standards they are very reasonably priced.

Wine as art in Cape Town’s Pendock Wine Gallery

Wine-tastings are mostly associated with a day outing to a wine farm, but what if you like your wine with a bit of nighttime glamour? Then Pendock Wine Gallery is your go-to spot.

Pendock Wine Gallery is a favourite wine-tasting spot for many Capetonians, since it is open at night and is situated in one of most glamorous hotels, the Taj, which can be found in the heart of Cape Town.

The minute you walk in through the hotel’s doors, you are engulfed by the enormous space and larger than life décor. Think opulence. Then imagine pure indulgence. You will taste wine on your tongue.

The Pendock Wine Gallery fits right into this glamorous landscape with the added attraction of being an art gallery as well. At the gallery, wine is treated like fine art. Every month six wines are showcased around a theme. Each exhibition has a different person curating the show, just as an art gallery would have a curator for each exhibition.

If winemaking is art, then drinking wine and experiencing it in such a creative way is an art form. Life does not get better than this…