Top Five 2-in-1 Tastings in the Cape Winelands: what’s your favourite tipple?

Tuesday, 12 December, 2017
Lucie Osman
If you’re reading this, we can already assume that you are an appreciator (and most likely consumer) of fine South African wine. However, in the face of an increasingly competitive marketplace, it is becoming more important for South African wineries to find a way to stand out from the crowd and win over new customers.

So how are they doing this and what’s in it for us, the drinkers? Here we have selected a shortlist of winemakers in the Cape Winelands who have made use of their winemaking expertise and a sense of adventure to expand their product offering in the alcoholic drinks market, all with terrific results! And as the recreational wine taster, we reap double the rewards with a 2-in-1 tasting experience. Just don’t forget the poem: “Beer before wine, everything fine…”

Wine and Craft Beer Tastings: Remhoogte Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
To book a tasting, call +27 (0)21 889 50 05

The Boustred brothers run the show at the beautiful yet understated family estate of Remhoogte, situated at the foot of the majestic Simonsberg mountains in Stellenbosch. No stranger to the wine industry, winemaker Chris was recently awarded 5* in the John Platter Wine Guide 2018 for his Reserve Syrah 2015. What visitors may not know is that in addition to their award-winning wines, Remhoogte has its own microbrewery on site, producing a select range of craft ale under the label Wild Beast Brewery. The name is derived from the herd of wildebeest that live alongside springbok and zebra on the estate; all of which can be spotted from a comfy seat on the viewing deck of the newly refurbished wine tasting room. What began as a quest for good beer and a hobby of sorts, has grown into a passionate and thriving business, with beer available on tap inside for tasting. The beer is brewed in small batches and undergoes an initial two-week fermentation, followed by another two weeks of conditioning in the bottle.  

Wine and Mead Tastings: Wyness Vineyards, Napier
To book a tasting, call: +27 (0)72 778 0051

A small, family-run vineyard based in Napier has recently taken a bold step forward in the South African drinks market by turning to history for inspiration. Whilst the story of mead predates beer and wine making and is thought to be the first alcohol made by man, there are few modern-day South African men and women well acquainted with this ancient “honey-wine”; a challenge that winemaker Ryan Wyness is keen to take on! Replacing grapes with honey collected from the beehives on his family’s farm, Ryan applies traditional winemaking methods and uses a cold fermentation process to best capture the flavour.  In keeping with Wyness Vineyard’s natural philosophy - from soil to bottle - the mead is produced with the least amount of intervention possible; it is unfiltered, contains no preservatives or additives and in Ryan’s words “is quite possibly the most natural alcohol on the market.” Not as sweet as one might think, it is a very versatile, low-alcohol drink (3.2%) that will appeal to a variety of palates.

As a small family business, Wyness Vineyards does not have a formal wine tasting facility, although if you find yourself heading towards Napier, you can call ahead and book a private tasting. Alternatively, Ryan is a resident favourite at Woodstock’s Biscuit Mill Market and the Cape Town City Bowl Night Market where he also sells his Natural Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc) and Ryan’s Red (a Shiraz Cabernet blend).

Wine and Cider Tastings: Paul Cluver Estate, Elgin

To book a tasting, call: +27 (0)21 844 0605

The family ties to apples are strong in the case of the producers of Cluver Jack cider, an artisanal cider born of the fertile apple valley of Elgin. The Cluver family have owned De Rust Farm for over five generations, where they grow tasty apples as well as premium quality grapes used to produce wine under the Paul Cluver label.  The Jack family farm on Appeldrift in the Overberg Highlands, where they produce craft wines under the Drift Farm label and claim to be one of the first families in South Africa to have planted cider apple trees.

Cluver Jack is made in the Paul Cluver Winery, using the generations-old Jack family methodology. Granny Smith apples are carefully hand-picked and chopped into tiny pieces before being pressed and squeezed of all the juice. The full production process aims to be as natural as possible, with no forced chilling post-fermentation or further manipulation to remove protein or tannin. The result is a natural, ‘Everyday’ dry cider bursting with refreshing apple flavours, that pairs with food in the same way as champagne would.  Tastings are conducted in the Paul Cluver wine tasting centre, seven days a week, and bookings are not required.


Wine, Grappa and Brandy Tastings: Uplands Organic, Wellington

To book a tasting, call +27 (0)82 731 4774

Uplands Estate is an unpretentious, organic fruit and wine farm, tucked away in an idyllic corner of Wellington in the Boland, that has been producing world-class organic brandy and grappa for over a decade. Its grappa boasts a ‘World’s Best Grappa’ award at the Guldkorken International competition in Stockholm and its brandy impressed the likes of John Platter, who featured it in his book  “My Kind of Wine”. Wine, grappa and brandy tours and tastings are by appointment only, and are conducted by winemaker and owner, Edmund Oettlé, himself.

Wine and Gin Tastings: Blaauwklippen, Stellenbosch

To book a tasting, call: +27 (0)21 880 0133

Amidst the global rise of artisanal gin, South Africa has a significant number of established artisanal gin brands. One of them is the Triple Three Range from Blaauwklippen Vineyards, which opened its micro distillery doors in 2012 and has spent the last five years developing and refining its craft into what has become an international award-winning gin. The African Botanicals Gin recently received Double Gold at the World Spirits competition in San Francisco and The Citrus Infusion won Platinum at the South African Michelangelo Awards.

Gin tastings at Blauuwklippen Vineyards must be booked in advance and are conducted in the Spirits Room, a designated tasting area within Blaauwklippen’s wine centre.