Did you know?
South African wine has a history dating back to 1659.
Winemaker interaction tours allow travellers to get up close and personal with the makers of their favourite tipples. From chatting to the children of wine farm workers to sipping and spitting with multi-award-winning winemakers there is a tailor-made tour to suit your palate and mood.
There are literally thousands of tour options for travellers wishing to discover the glories of the Cape winelands. Tours can seem impersonal, those wishing to interact with the people making the wine should consider the following options:
Fiona MacDonald is a former editor of Wine Magazine so her contacts are superb and there is no wine-related inside scoop she can’t secure you access to. Her tours are aimed at those with an existing knowledge of wine – so don’t expect a crash course in how wine is made. Rather she will arrange behind the scenes tours and one-on-one visits with winemakers of note. She has the inside track on lesser-known, up and coming estates and winemakers. Barrel tastings with the winemaker are a speciality of the house.
John Ford at Adamastor and Bacchus is a legend in his own lunchtime. He offers gourmet wine tours which focus on those wine estates with the best restaurants and/or culinary ingredients. Tours are individually designed but expect visits to the likes of Buitenverwachting and Klein Constantia. And do come hungry!
Vineyard Ventures are the oldest and most established wine tour company in the Cape. They tailor make wine tours but expect private cellar tours and tastings at private premier wine producers.
Winemaker interaction tours offer but one aspect of the workings of a wine farm. The Pebbles Project/Wine Desk Wine Tour is aimed at the compassionate wine tourist who wants to experience more than just the fabulous wines of South Africa. This tour introduces you to The Pebbles Project, a charity which supports children living in the Winelands. The tour includes visits to 3 wine farms with traditional tasting sessions but also affords the traveller an opportunity to spend quality time visiting the crèches and after-school clubs on each farm.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
How to get here
Most wine tours are in the Western Cape area. Fly into Cape Town International from most local or international destinations.
Best time to visit
The vineyards are at their most beautiful October – December. Harvest occurs between January and April.
Tours to do
The latest Platter Wine Guide lists and describes the main wine tours available.
What will it cost
The price of a wine tour varies by operator and tour type. Deluxe tours with fine dining meals included will cost around €35, or £32 per head. Simpler tours less than a third of this.
Length of stay
Most tours will take a half to full day.
Where to stay
Choose from boutique hotels, country and guest houses, B&Bs and self-catering options.
What to eat
The Cape Winelands are blessed with delicious food. Eat seasonal fruit, local olives, sustainably harvested fynbos honey and at all the fine dining restaurants en route!