Bespoke wine experiences in South Africa’s Robertson Valley


Only a two-hour’s drive from Cape Town, is the picturesque Robertson Valley, traditionally known for its wine and roses. Thanks to a generous range of tantalizing wine and food offerings, Robertson is emerging as an exciting destination for travellers. In every direction ridges of the various mountain stand proudly welcoming you to the valley. From my countless adventures to the area, here are my top suggestions on what to do, and where to stay.

Were to eat and drink

Boutique bubbly at Paul Rene

Life is too short to not celebrate with good bubbly, and thankfully Robertson is renowned for the excellent Methode Cap Classique (what Champagne is called in South Africa). It’s so good that both president Mandela and Obama celebrated their inaugurations with bubbly from Robertson. Paul Rene is the area’s boutique bubbly producer so make sure to include a visit and a tasting at the farm, the closest one to the town of Robertson itself.

The winding road to Lord’s

Continue past Paul Rene and you’ll discover the gorgeous country hamlet of McGregor. After a slow drive through the village, you enter the road to the mountains, winding higher and higher until you finally find yourself at Lord’s Winery. This is one of the Western Cape’s most remote wine farms and the although the drive in is exceptionally beautiful wait until you see the views from the farm. Don’t miss out on their ‘Netflix’ chardonnay with its butterscotch popcorn notes and an undeniably delicious Shiraz.

The beautiful Mont Blois

Paying homage to the old but embracing the new, is a philosophy perfectly reflected in both the beautiful new tasting room and elegant wines of Mont Blois. A converted shed now serves as a modern tasting room where no attention to detail has been spared. Even the bathroom is a visual feast with a fabulous view. The Kweekkamp Chardonnay does southern Burgundy proud with an exceptional wine where the oak supports rather than dominates the wine. The Groot Stein is possibly my favourite South African Chenin; bursting with complexity and perfectly balanced.

Blend your own wine at Zandvliet

Ever pictured yourself standing in the wine-stained shoes of the winemaker him/herself? Then start by trying your hand at blending at Zandvliet’s immersive experience – first taste three of their red wines, then after trying out various blending options, bottle and label your own creation. The farm’s Kalkveld lounge is the tastefully refurbished tasting room where you can enjoy some hearty snacks after blending. Be sure to also try out the Clemengold Gin, produced from the farms very own prized citrus.

Underground tasting at Esona

Several of the wineries in the region sport underground concrete tanks – a long-disused method of storing sweet wine. Some farms have now opened these up, creating eerily enchanting underground tasting spaces. Esona’s offering is a multi-sensorial one as music and food are also paired with the wine, all the while admiring the artwork that flickers in the candlelight around. The tasting also makes use of Riedel glasses, demonstrating why using the right glass really does make a difference. Afterwards, the elevated deli gives gracious views, seemingly floating above the vineyards themselves.

Where to stay

Private luxury at Zandvliet

For a completely private farm stay experience, the luxurious 6-bedroomed Enon House on Zandvliet Estate might just be the right fit and will be open to the public from early 2020.

TheLAB

Experience country living, in a rather unique concept property where technology, sustainability and plush lodgings come together in a magical setting. Complimentary ebikes wait to take you on local adventures.

Jan Harmsgat Country House

This five-star country guest house is ensconced in a boutique wine and pomegranate farm, with an inviting restaurant and safari-style farm drives in its gorgeous mountain location.

The Kite House

McGregor is a charming hamlet minutes from Robertson, and the Kite House is the perfect country getaway, sleeping six in her luxe quarters.


Comments (10)

  1. Dave says:

    There is a lot of truth in those ideas about the journey being important. Lord’s may be remote but it certainly sounds a spectacular journey, winding higher and higher to get there. Great journey and brilliant wine when you arrive. What more could anyone want?

  2. Gregory Bryan says:

    I’ve had a few wine tasting trips to Napa in California, and I must say having “memberships” in these wineries are worth it. My experiences are pretty similar to those of South Africa’s, though I would love to try any of their wines and compare differences. I’m actually keen on trying to blend my own wine like that of Zandvliet, and bring it home as souvenirs and gifts to my friends and family. I think it’s perfect.

    • Jared Ruttenberg says:

      That’s exactly what I do Gegory – name the bottles after friends and give the bottles to them as gifts!

  3. Rob says:

    Tempting little taster on the places to stay. Maybe for another post we could have some pictures and a bit more description of each place? I bet they have some great architecture in beautiful surroundings.

    • Jared Ruttenberg says:

      They do indeed have incredible surroundings. Hopefully more of a taster next time – or your own article when you get a chance to visit!

  4. Amy Herbert says:

    Any excuse for a glass of vino is a good excuse! Is that chardonnay at Lord’s Winery really called ‘Netflix’? Odd name choice but it’s definitely memorable. I’ve always wanted to have a go at making my own creation so the Zandvliet experience sounds amazing.

    • Jared Ruttenberg says:

      Chuckle – no – that’s the nickname for the wine!

    • Gary Childerly says:

      I don’t really get the Netflix name. Is it because you’d open a bottle as you kicked back to watch Netflix for the evening?

      If so it’s a pity that it’s only a nickname. I think it’s a name that would stand out if you were looking along the shelf to buy a wine with character.

    • Jared Ruttenberg says:

      that’s true it would! it’s nicknamed that because of the butter-popcorn notes – and pop corn often accompanying netflix sessions!

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