The Best Vineyards in South Africa

Drive just over an hour outside of Cape Town and you’ll find yourself in the middle of the Cape Winelands. Here, farms established by Dutch colonists and French Huguenots in the late 1600s now function as South African wine estates, with tree-lined driveways leading to impeccably manicured gardens and gentle hills covered in vines. When visiting, be sure to taste the full-bodied cabernet sauvignons and pinot noirs; the lighter chenin blancs and chardonnays; and unique varietals like pinotage (an earthy red wine) and méthode cap classique (South Africa’s version of Champagne).

Upper Blaauwklippen Rd, Helderberg Rural, 7600, South Africa
On the outdoor patio at Waterford Estate in Stellenbosch, guests can relax while tasting South African wines with help from the knowledgable staff. For those with a sweet tooth, the “Wine & Chocolate Experience” is particularly appealing. Created by Waterford founder Kevin Arnold in partnership with chocolatier Richard von Geusau, the tasting pairs shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, and sweet wine with a series of dark and milk chocolates for a delicious adventure. If you’re itching to get out and explore, opt for experiences like the “Wine Drive Safari” (a three-hour trip in a safari-type vehicle that allows guests to taste wines among the vineyards of their origin) and the “Porcupine Trail Walk” (three routes of varying difficulty that traverse the vineyard- and natural fynbos–filled landscape).
Knorhoek Road, Stellenbosch, 7599, South Africa
One of the founding members of the Stellenbosch Wine Route, Delheim is a must-visit estate in the Cape Winelands. The experience here is very down-to-earth, providing a nice contrast to the more modern, gallery-esque tasting rooms you’ll likely visit on your tour. Located at the base of the mountains in the Simonsberg Nature Preserve, Delheim is surrounded by sandy soil that’s best for growing red varietals like cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and pinotage. The vineyard’s pinotage rosé and gewürztraminer are also delicious, which comes as no surprise since the founding family is of German descent. For an interesting twist on the winetasting experience, try the cupcake and wine pairing. Pre-booking is required, as the cupcakes are baked fresh daily.
Helshoogte Rd, Stellenbosch, South Africa
While most travelers visit the Cape Winelands in the spring or fall, Delaire Graff is a year-round destination. At the estate’s Wine Lounge, guests can enjoy a glass of wine on the outdoor terrace during the summer, or cozy up by the crackling fire in winter, enjoying the famous view through floor-to-ceiling windows. The wines here range from elegant reds with soft tannins to white wines that capture the freshness of the harvest.

Those craving a more complete experience should know that Delaire is also a Relais & Châteaux property with an on-site spa and six separate lodges. Book a massage and you’ll enjoy full use of the pool, steam room, and sauna as well as a tasting in the Wine Lounge post-treatment, or stay overnight in the Owner’s Suite, which features a heated plunge pool and views of Table Mountain.
Pass Road, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa
There are several good reasons to make a special trip to this winery, not least that its sauvignon, pinot noir and shiraz regularly win major awards. The most obvious, however, hits you as soon as you walk through the restaurant and onto the sunbaked lawn, with its extraordinary view out over the beautiful valley of Franschhoek. Take a tour with the vineyard’s owner, John, who will narrate the story of the farm (it burned down in 1984) and his relationship with the vines. Then settle down on the lawn, sip a glass of wine, and thank the lucky stars that brought you here.
Boschendal Estate, Pniel St, Groot, Franschhoek, 7680, South Africa
At Boschendal, guests can slow down and savor “Le Pique Nique,” a pre-packed picnic basket that you can order in advance of your visit to the vineyard. When you arrive, collect your wicker basket filled with sweet and savory treats, pick up a bottle of wine to pair with your snacks, and find a spot under the pine trees to sit for the afternoon, relaxing and enjoying the sunshine.

Boschendal is right on the edge of Stellenbosch, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town through the beautiful hills and valleys of the winelands. The owners transformed several farm laborers’ cottages into luxury accommodations, should you wish to spend the night after a day of vineyard tours, winetastings, and dining at the estate’s several restaurants.
R44, Stellenbosch, 7607, South Africa
If you’re seeking a quirky yet educational winetasting experience in South Africa, look no further than Warwick Estate’s “Big Five Wine Safari.” While you won’t see any lions in Stellenbosch, your guide may help you spot a falcon or two while you cruise around the vineyard. Here, the Big Five refers to the five types of wine grapes planted on Warwick’s farm, from cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc to pinotage, merlot, and cabernet franc. Board Warwick’s safari-style vehicle and leave the driving to your guide as you enjoy the views—and the wine. Advance bookings are recommended.
R310 Baden Powell Drive, Stellenbosch, 7603, South Africa
Around since 1692, Spier is one of the oldest and best-known wineries in Stellenbosch. Not only does this historic estate continue to receive accolades for its wine, it’s also become a hot spot for travelers thanks to its family-friendly atmosphere. Visitors can easily spend anywhere from a couple hours to an entire day enjoying all the activities Spier has to offer, from picnics on the lawn overlooking the Eerste River to self-guided walking tours of the property. There’s also a farm-to-table restaurant on-site, as well as an outdoor playground for children. For something unique, book the “Eagle Encounter” program to learn how the estate rehabilitates wounded birds and uses them for natural pest control, or take an evening Segway tour of the vineyards, followed by a sunset tasting among the vines.
R45, Franschhoek, 7691, South Africa
Situated in the Franschhoek Valley, La Motte combines stunning views and historic charm with traditional cuisine and quality wines. Here, visitors can taste award-winning vintages while peering through glass panels at the working and maturation cellars, or dine on heritage cuisine at the Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant. Also available to guests is the Sustainable Hike (a circular route that starts at the La Motte Tasting Room and winds through the mountainous area surrounding the estate) as well as the La Motte Museum (which details the history of the estate and hosts curated art exhibitions) and the Farm Shop (which sells freshly baked bread and other tasty souvenirs).
Dornier Road, Upper Blaauwklippen Rd, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa
Dornier’s modern cellar and production facility is quite different from the traditional 18th- and 19th-century buildings you’ll see in the winelands. For example, a pool above the cellar regulates the temperature of the wines in an eco-friendly way. Its reflective surface also helps keep the entire subterranean building cool. The cellar’s overall design pays homage to the Dornier family’s history in the aviation industry. Contact the winery in advance to arrange a tour of the facility, then enjoy a tasting of award-winning wines like the Dornier Donatus White (a blend of chenin blanc and rich sémillon), the Dornier Merlot (with hints of plum, mint, and roasted nuts), and the Cocoa Hill Sauvignon Blanc (featuring notes of mulberry, roasted oak, vanilla, and spice).
R44, Raithby, 7130, South Africa
The head winemaker at Eikendal in Stellenbosch, Nico Grobler has been producing award-winning wines for more than nine years. An innovator in the Western Cape wine industry, he makes mostly single varietal wines like chardonnay, using an “old world” approach that focuses on terroir to produce the fruitiest vines possible.

The whole family is welcome at Eikendal. While adults enjoy a pizza and wine pairing, children can partake in a juice tasting of their own. On a nice day, visitors can also take a 1.5-mile self-guided walk around the vineyards to learn more about the winemaking process and the farm itself.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
National Parks