The 9 Best Vineyards in South Africa

Vineyards with mountain backdrop, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Jon Hicks / Getty Images

South Africa is famous for many things—its exotic wildlife, culturally diverse people, and stunning landscapes included. It’s also renowned as one of the best wine-producing nations in the world, with the perfect climate for outstanding viticulture across several different wine regions. South Africa’s flagship grape is the pinotage red wine grape but it’s also particularly known for chenin blanc and methodé cap classique (MCC) sparkling wines. Vineyards can be found across South Africa, from the Agulhas coast to the Orange River valley—but the most iconic are located in and around the Cape Winelands, in the key regions of Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek. In this article, we take a look at some of the best options for every kind of wine lover, from experienced connoisseurs to families out for a day of fun. 

01 of 09

Best Overall: Boschendal

Manor House, Boschendal wine estate, Franschhoek

Soltan Frédéric / Getty Images

Boschendal Estate, Pniel Road, Groot, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa
Phone +27 21 870 4200

Of course, naming the best vineyard in South Africa is an incredibly subjective task, but Franschhoek’s Boschendal is not only one of the oldest wineries in the region (dating back to the 17th century), but also one of the consistently best-loved. Set on a majestic valley estate with picturesque Cape Dutch architecture, it offers something for everyone. Taste award-winning wines beneath the trees, opt for a hearty meal at The Deli, or sample farm-to-table fine dining at The Werf Restaurant.

Culinary delicacies can be purchased to take home from the farm shop and butchery, while children are free to run loose across the extensive lawns or in the treehouse playground. Keep an eye out for regular events ranging from night markets to drive-in cinema screenings, or extend your visit with a night or two in one of the estate’s historic farm cottages. 

02 of 09

Best Views: La Petite Ferme

Plates and glasses of white wine on a terrace table overlooking a vineyard

Courtesy of La Petite Ferme

Pass Road, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa
Phone +27 21 876 3016

For the most visually stunning vineyard experience, make your way to La Petite Ferme. Perched on the slopes of Oliphants Pass in the Middagkrans Mountains, this secret sanctuary boasts sweeping views of the Franschhoek Valley from almost every spot on the estate. Spend the afternoon sampling boutique white, red, and rosé wines on the terraced lawns, or indulging in seasonal cuisine at the intimate restaurant.

Vine orientation tours take you into the vineyards to learn about the farm’s varietals through al fresco canape pairings. As day shifts into evening, the panoramic mountain vistas subtly change color, creating a backdrop that’s never the same and yet always captivating. These stunning views are also showcased by La Petite Ferme’s manor house and vineyard suites, all of which spoil with floor-to-ceiling windows, a private splash pool, and a fireplace for romantic winter evenings. 

03 of 09

Most Romantic: Delaire Graff Estate

Pool lounger overlooking a book and rolling hills at a vineyard estate. There are two glasses and a bottle of rosé on a table next to the pool lounger

Courtesy of Delaire Graff Estate

Helshoogte Rd, Stellenbosch, 7602, South Africa
Phone +27 21 885 8160

With an idyllic setting in the mountains outside Stellenbosch, Delaire Graff offers arguably the most luxurious vineyard experience in the Cape Winelands and it's certainly one of the most romantic. Designed by renowned jeweler Laurence Graff, it is the perfect location for a proposal or anniversary. Enjoy a tutored tasting experience in the wine lounge, with its precious art collection and spectacular mountain views.

Two exquisite restaurants provide a romantic backdrop for intimate meals; while the boutique spa pampers with five-star treatments and an outdoor infinity pool with a built-in whirlpool spa. If you decide to make a weekend of it, the estate’s luxury lodges each have a private deck and heated plunge pool. It’s hard to imagine anything more romantic than taking a dip, wine glass in hand, as the sun sets over the vineyard below. The estate even makes its own sparkling wine for special celebrations. 

04 of 09

Best for Families: Franschhoek Cellar

Various glasses of red and white wine on a table with a bottle of Franschhoek

Courtesy of Franschhoek Cellar

Main Rd, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa
Phone +27 21 876 2086

Wine tasting can be a daunting experience if you have small children in tow; especially in venues where priceless breakables always seem to be within reach of little hands. Franschhoek Cellar takes the stress away by welcoming families with open arms. The first benefit is its location. The winery is within walking distance of most guesthouses and hotels in downtown Franschhoek. Then, there’s the fantastic covered children’s playground, complete with trained supervisors so you can get down to the serious business of wine tasting while your kids play safely.

The winery has a broad range of excellent whites, reds, rosés, and sparkling wines, with chocolate and cheese pairings available as well. Afterward, enjoy a laid-back bistro lunch in the Garden, located next to the playground with a dedicated children’s menu. 

Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09

Best for Foodies: Rust en Vrede

Exterior of Rust en Vrede wine estate, Stellenbosch

Kari Kruger / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Annandale Rd, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa
Phone +27 21 881 3881

Rust en Vrede is another heritage Winelands vineyard whose deed dates back to 1694 and whose Cape Dutch buildings are all national monuments. For all its history and considerable beauty, however, the real stand-out is the vineyard's fine dining restaurant. Located in the timeless wine cellar, acclaimed chefs use the very best local, sustainable produce to create classic French fare with bold references to Italian and Brazilian culinary culture.

Diners have two options: a six-course menu and sommelier-guided wine pairing or the completely unique Experience Menu. The latter is tailored specifically for you on the day and dishes are kept secret until they are served. Rust en Vrede also offers guided wine tastings in the cellar Tasting Room, which can be accompanied by a simple yet delicious winemaker’s lunch of steak or salmon. 

06 of 09

Best for Unique Pairings: Creation Wines

View of a tasting room, green vineyards, and mountains photographed from across a body of water

Courtesy of Creation Wines

Hemel & Aarde Rd R320, Hermanus, 7200, South Africa
Phone +27 28 212 1107

Creation Wines lies beyond the traditional Cape Winelands area, near the coastal town of Hermanus. However, it’s worth deviating from the usual route for this vineyard’s exceptional pairing menus with an astonishing variety of options to choose from. Of particular note is the 10 a.m. brunch pairing, which begins with a glass of methodé cap classique and then offers another premium Creation wine with each of its four breakfast courses.

Then there are six distinct tapas pairings that offer a gourmet take on traditional South African cuisine. Imagine a viognier with a fish bunny chow, a pinot noir with waterblommetjie risotto, or a sauvignon blanc with umfino and goat’s cheese. More of a sweet tooth? Creation also offers a Paradoxical Wine & Chocolate Pairing. And, to make sure nobody is left out, there’s also a kids’ pairing with cordials instead of wine, and a tea pairing for adults who don’t drink.

07 of 09

Best for Organic Wines: Laibach Wines

Waterfront tasting rooms at Laibach Wines vineyard

Courtesy of Laibach Wines

Located roughly halfway between Stellenbosch and Paarl in the world-renowned Simonsberg winemaking region, Laibach is our top choice for those w prefer their wines small-batch, sustainable, and 100 percent organic. Every step of the production process is carefully considered to reduce the impact on the local environment, from using minimal irrigation to eliminating the use of toxic agricultural chemicals. As a result, Laibach wines deliver a completely authentic taste of the local terroir while also being better for you. And, they're certified vegan.

The estate has its own tasting room and wine shop, and visitors are invited to take a walking tour of the vineyard to find out more about the fascinating process behind organic winemaking. You can even stay overnight in one of five simple, en-suite apartments, all with magnificent Table Mountain views and access to a swimming pool and braai facilities. 

08 of 09

Best for Bubbly: Villiera Wines

Drone shot of the vineyard and production buildings at Villiera Wines

Courtesy of Villiera Wines

Cnr R304 & R101 Koelenhof Near, Stellenbosch, 7605, South Africa
Phone +27 21 865 2002

If you have a soft spot for sparkling wine, you’ll find yourself right at home at Villiera Wines on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. This family-run vineyard is especially renowned for its methodé cap classique wines. These grapes were first cultivated in the 1980s in collaboration with French Champagne specialist Jean Louis Denois. Now they account for 35 percent of the winery’s production. The Villiera MCC range includes traditional brut and rosé brut variations, low-alcohol and additive-free options, and the vintage Prestige cuvée Villiera Monro brut.

You can try a selection of these wines with the estate’s bubbly and nougat tasting experience, or the MCC and chocolate tasting. Villiera also offers regular wine tastings (the estate focuses on sauvignon blancs, chenin blancs, merlots, and cabernet sauvignons). When you’re finished sampling the vineyard’s products, sign up for a two-hour guided game drive around its private wildlife sanctuary. 

Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09

Best for Immersive Experiences: Waterford Estate

Wide dirt road at Waterford Estate with tall bushes on either side and a stone archway in the background

Courtesy of Waterford Estate

Upper Blaauwklippen Rd, Helderberg Rural, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa
Phone +27 21 880 5300

Another Stellenbosch staple, Waterford Estate combines fabulous views of Blauwklippen Valley with a chance for a deeper insight into the winemaking process. In addition to the standard cellar door wine tasting experience (hosted in a majestic courtyard complete with a statement fountain), the estate offers two vineyard experiences: the wine drive safari and the porcupine trail walk. The first is a three-hour, safari-style tour of the 296-acre wine estate. En route, you will stop to sample wines in the vineyards from which they came, all while your guide explains the process from seed to bottle. On the porcupine trail walk, you will strike out on one of three trails that take you through the vineyards and surrounding endemic fynbos, stopping for wine tastings and a light lunch. Both tours include a final wine and chocolate pairing, and should be booked a week in advance.

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The 9 Best Vineyards in South Africa