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The Cape is the pumping heart of all things wine, and the fact that I happen to live in Stellenbosch means that I have already had a taste of many goodies. But, with many options to choose from, what about the equally worthy wine stops, slightly off the beaten-track? With the help of a few budding wine enthusiast friends, we curated a list of our favourite hidden gems in and around the Cape Winelands.

Mooiplaas Wine Estate

Bottelary road, M23, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch


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Tucked out of the way behind the backdrop of the Bottelary Hill Nature Reserve and at the foot of the dramatic Simonsberg Mountains, Mooiplaas is a hidden gem surrounded by untouched natural beauty. We love the rustic feel of the Cape Dutch style architecture and the great tradition and history behind their wine. According to the story, once upon a time Italian soldiers fell in love with our picturesque winelands and decided to stay on at Mooiplaas after the war, helping build the original wine cellar.

Today, their environmentally friendly wine not only reflects their history of traditional artisanal winemaking techniques, but is created to reflect an essence of their unique terroir. I highly suggest that you pop in for a tasting. For R50 per person, you can enjoy any five wines from their Langtafel and Classic Range. You can even indulge in their Flagship tasting for R85 per person and savour any four wines from their premium Mercia Range.

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Rainbow’s End Wine Estate

R310 Off Zevenrivieren RoadStellenbosch


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Like a guardian angel watching over the Banhoek basin, Rainbow’s End is positioned high up on the slopes of the Jonkershoek mountains, which is where you can find the “promise of sunshine after rain, of commitment to the earth, of a destination and a pot of gold.” Here you can partake in personalised tours or simply enjoy a relaxing wine tasting overlooking panoramic views.Tastings are only R50 per person or R80 to include a tour of the cellar. Prior booking is required.

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Marianne Wine Estate

Valley Road – Off R44, Stellenbosch

As you wind your way out of Stellenbosch into the Paarl region, Marianne Wine estate is a beautiful boutique wine estate nestled in the Simonsberg Valley. Where South African terroir is kissed with French savoir faire, we found the natural roots of the farm and Bordeaux-inspired wine-making practices fascinating. From Wine & Biltong pairings to their esteemed Madiba Tasting, as well as barrel tastings, a unique Blending Experience and Cellar and Vineyard Tours, there is something for everyone at Marianne. Best of all, there will be plenty of quirky anecdotes about the estate’s history a well as interesting need-to-know wine tidbits along the way!

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Idiom Wines on Sir Lowry’s Pass

Sir Lowry’s Pass, Knorhoek Estate entrance, Sir Lowry’s Pass

While it’s quite a winding drive to get to Idiom, it simply adds to the adventure and the views over False Bay are something else! The selection of wines are insanely good, which you can enjoy in an ultra-modern and stylish tasting room. An interesting takeaway, one of the waiters told us that one of the first commercial Pinotage vines was grown on the property after it was discovered at Stellenbosch University.

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Iona Wines in the Elgin Valley

Highlands Road, Elgin Valley


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Well-worth the bumpy trip, Iona Wines is positioned on a breathtakingly beautiful mountainous spot overlooking the Atlantic ocean, where you can find a quality selection of wine that expresses their unique terroir, created using sustainable farming and winemaking practices.

Their wine range is versatile, ranging from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to their taste-worthy “One Man Band”, an estate blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Mourvedre and Viognier. They’re open on Monday to Friday between 09:00 to 17:00; or on weekends by appointment only. We highly recommend that you pop into their new tasting room, set in an ultra-hip modern-art gallery and give it a try! You certainly won’t be disappointed by their friendly banter, engaging service and exclusive tasting experience.

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Buitenverwachting in the Constantia Valley

7 Klein Constantia Rd, Nova Constantia, Cape Town


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With sprawling lawns, massive trees and beautiful Cape Dutch architecture, Buitenverwachting will definitely exceed expectations. For just R50, you can enjoy a tasting on the terrace. Pair it with a charcuterie platter served with fresh baguettes while you’re at it. For the beer drinkers, there is also artisan beer on offer! But if you’re a wine lover like me, a great way to spend a weekend is to buy a bottle and savour every sip while lazing away on their lawn.

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Savage Wines in Salt River

6 Spencer Rd, Salt River, Cape Town


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When you think winery, your mind immediately jumps to an historic cellar accompanied by rolling vineyards. But, what about an urban winery? Duncan Savages Cybercellar in trendy Salt River is something quite innovative. While he is a firm believer in traditional wine production methods and has 10 years expertise to boot, he made the bold move to start something new in Tim Martin’s old cellar.

With a lot of firm focus on small lot production, every single wine is of stellar quality, and the fact that his wines are so consistent across his portfolio is something very rare! Savage Wines are balanced, fresh and clean; in our option, it is one of the top wineries in South Africa. So keep an eye out for the wines he has in store for us!

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Know of any hidden wine routes in Cape Winelands? Feel free to share in the comment section below.


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