The small town of Franschhoek (French Corner in Afrikaans), is world renowned as South Africa’s food and wine capital with a variety of world-class restaurants and wine farms. The strong French influence can not be missed in this beautiful little town.
Buy Franschhoek Wine Tram Tickets Here!– Cape Town pickup and Drop off!
French Huguenot refugees that settled here in the 1600’s imported vines and brought wine making skills to the Cape. Surrounded by excellent wine estates some of the finest wines in South Africa are produced here. Strolling through Franschhoek is a pleasure. The main street of the charming little town is lined with top restaurants, coffee shops, bistros and food markets.
Best Time to Visit Franschhoek Wine Farms.
Summer time from September to April is a fantastic time to visit with plenty of things to do in Franschhoek. The weather is warm and dry and many wines are released at this time.
Wine tasting in Franschhoek – how does it work?
The three most common ways to do wine tasting in Franschhoek is self drive, a wine tour or using the wine tram.
The majority of wine farms have a dedicated tasting room and well trained staff to assist you with the tasting. Wine tasting in Fransçhhoek you go from farm to farm usually tasting 3 or more different wines at each venue. Some of the best fine dining restaurants in South Africa are found on the wine farms of Franschhoek.
Franschhoek is often combined with visiting wine farms in Stellenbosch.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram
The Franschhoek wine tram is a combination of double-decker tram and open-air tram-bus transport through the vineyards offering hop-on hop-off tours stopping at 31 different wine farms!
This is a fun and easy way to do wine tasting with a Cape Town pick up available. 10 Different lines are available, each stopping at 8 or 9 different farms. The tram takes an hour to complete the full circuit, so depending on which line you choose the tram comes past every hour or 30 minutes. The first time on the tram we thought an hour at every stop is too long, but it was perfect! We ended up doing some food wine pairings, eating a pizza and purchasing some very nice wines on the way.
Full-Day Franschhoek Hop On Hop Off Wine Tour on the Franschhoek Wine Tram! Depart from Cape Town
You can hop on and off where you want and experience activities like wine tastings, cellar tours, lunch or a walk through the vineyards.
Franschhoek Wine Tours
Doing an organized tour is a good way to do wine tasting in the Cape Winelands. Franschhoek is known for some of the best restaurants in the world and there is fantastic accommodation on the surrounding wine farms. Do a wine tour starting in Franschhoek.
Many excellent tours offer pick up and drop off at your Cape Town hotel, exploring wine farms around Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, these tours last about 9 hours. A light lunch is often included.
If you pick a tour I will recommend that you select a tour with a large number of ratings and read some recent reviews. Here are some well rated tours by a reputable companies.
- Highly Rated – African Story Wine Tour in the Cape Winelands
- Paarl, Franschoek, and Stellenbosch
- visit four different wineries
- hotel pickup and round-trip transport from Cape Town
Franschhoek Wine Farms
- On the Wine Tram Purple, Orange, Navy and Burgundy Lines
The beautiful Boschendal, located between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, is one of the oldest wine estates in South Africa established in 1685. The farm with its original Cape Dutch manor house, offer wine tasting, restaurants and other visitor attractions.
Picnic at Boschendal – the Boschendal chefs only use produce from the estate’s gardens or locally sourced products to pack your picnic basket. Picnics have to be pre-booked aat one of the tables at La Rhone or under the trees on the grass at The Werf.
Activities at Boschendal – Wine Tasting & Pairings, Werf Restaurant & Bar, Deli Restaurant, Picnic, Kids Playground, Farm shop & butchery, Homeware shop, Art Gallery, Horse Riding, Night Markets, swimming, hikes, mountain bike trails and more.
Boschendal Wine Tasting – Go tasting at the two excellent wine tasting venues – the Werf or Cellar Door also offering seasonal platters as well as food and wine pairings.
Boschendal is well known for excellent white wines, we always stop at the farm to buy a bottel or two of Shiraz. Award winning wines not to miss: Boschendal Elgin Chardonnay 2016, Boschendal’s premium Jean Le Long Prestige Cuvée 2008, Boschendal Heritage Collection Grande Syrah 2015
Accommodation – Boschendal Farm Estate
On the Wine Tram Purple and Orange lines
One of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in the Franschhoek wine valley dating back to 1692. Walking through the beautiful fruit and vegetable garden is a great experience. Babylonstoren is renowned for its unique accommodation, fine food and wine.
With 94 hectares of vineyards, 13 different grape varieties are produced on this spectacular farm. The unique restaurant has a farm-to-fork philosophy the seasonal food is a mostly produced on the farm. The absolutely beautiful Greenhouse Restaurant with a gorgeous spot in the gardens is something magical to experience.
Activities – Garden with different garden tours (reservations recommended), Farm hotel, spa, farm shop and bakery
Wine tasting – underground cellar tour Time 10h00, 13h00 or 16h00 (duration 2 hours)
Try the Babylonstoren Nebukadnesar a Bordeaux inspired blend, a full bodied Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec blend
On the Wine Tram Grey and Pink Lines
Chamonix is one of the largest properties in the Franschhoek valley and has a history spanning some 350 years. This premium wine farm produces a range of premium wines and is best known for the excellent Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines produced by the estate. The farm is also known for the German-style Schnapps, Grappa and Spring Water produced.
Wine tasting – Tasting happens in the quaint Blacksmith’s Cottage built in the 18th century, decorated with antique saddles and horse memorabilia. Don’t miss the excellent Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines produced here.
Chamonix is known for internationally acclaimed wines including a Methode Cap Classique Sparkling Wine, Sauvignon Blanc, and the Troika (Bordeaux Blend).
Accommodation – Overlooking the Franschhoek valley, Chamonix offers a luxurious accommodations with spectacular views including the Forest Sweets, Garden View Cottage, several suites and chalets.
On the Wine Tram Grey and Pink Lines
Dieu Donné literally means “A Gift from God”. This spectacular wine farm is one of our favorites with some of the best views in the Franschhoek valley. Beautiful mountain scenery, fantastic wines and the finest casual bistro dining available at the Manger restaurant at Dieu Donne. We love their wooded Chardonnay and usually enjoy one of the cheese platters while tasting wine when we go to stock up on a couple of bottles of Chardonnay.
Wine tasting – Enjoy the full tasting and cellar tour (by appointment only) or enjoy wine tasting on the terrace with spectacular panoramic views of the Franschhoek mountains. Don’t miss the award winning Cabernet, Shiraz or Merlot and our favorite Chardonnay.
Accommodation – Maison Montagne offer luxury boutique vineyard suites located in the Merlot Vineyards with beautiful panoramic views of the Franschhoek Valley.
Grande Provence Estate
The farm is on the pink, blue, yellow, grey, green, and red tram lines.
Grande Provence Estate is a destination in Franschhoek not to miss. The garden is stunning with flowers, small fountains, and huge oak trees beautifully decorated with lights.
A fantastic tasting venue with award-winning wines at The Winery, but the gourmet cuisine at The Restaurant is one of the highlights staying in Franschhoek. We loved the 5 course dinner experience at the 18th century Manor House restaurant (our wedding anniversary dinner). The newly renovated Bistro offers a relaxed feel out in the gardens and is well rated.
Wine tasting – variety of excellent tasting options. Enjoyed tasting at one of the tables in the beautiful garden. The wine nougat pairing was fantastic. The flagships wines of the estate are the ´The Grande Provence White´ blend and the exceptional red blend´The Grande Provence´ made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Grand Provence Guest House on is a fantastic place to stay in Franschhoek.
On the Wine Tram Grey and Pink Lines
This spectacular wine farm was established in the Franschhoek Valley in 1694 by French Huguenot, Pierre Jourdan. This really is a beautiful farm with unreal views of the valley. The modern farm has been owned by the von Arnim family since the 1980’s. Similar to the French Champagne houses, the noble cultivars of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir was planted to produce the Champagne-equivalent, known in South Africa as Cap Classique.
The terroir reflects that of the French Burgundy region. The estate produces two excellent ranges, the Haute Cabriere range of still wines and the Pierre Jourdan range of Cap Classique wines.
For a great fine dining experience visit the iconic Haute Cabriere Restaurant is known for its spectacular location, on the side of the Franschhoek Mountain overlooking the valley below.
Wine tasting – taste the Pinot Noir´s, the Chardonnay´s, the range of family favorites or taste the exceptional Pierre Jourdan Cap Classique range.
Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards is a popular destination for families to visit. The sociable tasting facilities, versatile food offerings and serene beauty of the surroundings offer an elegant appeal for all. Enjoy a great wine tasting session, culinary classes or some of the truly South African food offerings.
The rotisserie restaurant offers some excellent uncomplicated food. For a truly South African food experience South African Table Experience with innovative, delicious food with deep, learn about the roots of these delicious dishes from the excellent chefs.
Wine Tasting – enjoyed wine tasting at Leopard´s Leap, well priced tasting for 6 wines from any of their ranges. Nice, easy drinking wines.
Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines
Mullineux was established in 2007 by husband and wife team Chris and Andrea Mullineux. It is an exceptional estate, with gardens, art and a museum to visit. This is not a very commercial wine tasting venue. The tasting room of Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, called The Wine Studio. The Mullineux wines are made in the Swartland wine region, 60 kilometers north of Cape Town, the Leeu Passant wines are produced at the Franschhoek winery on Leeu Estate. The wines are exceptional and the winery has been awarded Platter’s Winery of the Year several times.
Wine Tasting – The Wine Studio tasting venue was designed by eminent Spanish Architect, Tomeu Esteva. The Mullineux Signature Tasting includes some excellent wines, go for the Mullineux Single Terroir Tasting if you want to taste some excellent single soil Swartland Chenins and Syrahs. The Leeu Passant tasting includes wines produced at our Franschhoek winery on Leeu Estate.
Rickety Bridge Winery
This historic farm was part of Grand Provence Estate, but in 1797 was granted to Paulina de Villiers. In the 1980s it got the name Rickety Bridge due to the old railway sleeper bridge which crossed the Franschhoek River. This beautiful farm is really family friendly with a playground, restaurant and pizza oven and fun activities like a wine blending activity where you can create your own wine blends.
Wine Tasting – Rickety Bridge has a nice tasting area, we enjoyed tasting outside with great views over the vineyards. The estate produces wines across quite a broad price range. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable. We enjoyed the Cabernet and took a bottle home for the evening braai.
Accommodation – The Manor House is a 5-star rated guest house situated next to Paulina’s Restaurant with magnificent mountain and vineyard views.
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The strong half of Stingy Nomads, a nomadic aquaman that would be happy to spend all his life in the water diving, surfing and spearfishing but often has to compromise with Alya and go hiking instead. Campbell is responsible for all our marine adventures and following them with write-ups. He loves traveling, braai (BBQ in South Africa), red wine and spending the day in a wetsuit.