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Posted In Cape Wine Tours, South Africa, Wine Tours

Raise A Glass – Luxury Cape Wine Tours In South Africa

FWT_Admin | March 13, 2018

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This region is home to the Cape Winelands, and that is in turn home to some of the most respected vineyards in the world – and the wines that are produced there. Sit back and relax and get ready for a bespoke African safari in the inlands of the Cape.

Now there is a way that you can enjoy the wonders of the winelands in the lap of luxury – and that is with one of the many luxury tour operations that make their home in Cape Town and the surrounding areas.

These operators run a variety of different types of tours – from luxury buses which make daily runs into the various regions in the winelands to luxury bike tours for the more adventurous spirits.

But there is one thing that these winelands tours do have in common – that is the fact that every person who takes part will be exposed to some of the most beautiful parts of the Western Cape – in itself one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

The beauty of taking a luxury tour of the winelands is not only the enjoyment of some of the most beautiful flora in the entire world, but also being introduced to some of the most knowledgeable cellar masters in one of the most respected wine producing regions in the world.

It is not simply a place or tour that takes you outside the city of Cape Town into a wonderful region that includes Stellenbosch and Paarl – it is also an opportunity to sample the delights of wine from estates that have won gold medal status in competitions that are held across the globe.

Seated in the lap of luxury you will be exposed to estates that have been around for centuries – and families that have been the custodians of vineyards that have been responsible for some of the greatest wines on the face of the planet.

But there is more for those who choose to take a luxury tour of the Cape Winelands.

Many of these states are not only renowned for the wines that they produce – they are also home to some of the most fantastic chefs that the Cape has to offer. The restaurants that are found on these estates are amongst the best in the world – and those who run them are intimately familiar with the meals that they serve and the wines that should be paired with every course.

In effect a luxury tour of the Cape winelands in a complete experience. It combines wine and food – and an experience of one of the most beautiful places on the planet. This is an experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list – even if they are not a wine lover.

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Posted In Grape Varieties

South African Grape Varieties

FWT_Admin | January 10, 2018

With more than 300 years of winemaking history, South Africa is one of the most prominent wine-producing countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Its wine industry is bridging the gap between the old and new. The South African wine has enjoyed international attention and acclaim for its wide variety of styles. In fact, South Africa was the seventh largest producer of wine in the world in terms of overall volume in 2016, responsible for 3.9 percent of global wine output. South Africa has a wide range of red and white grape varieties, with white grape varieties, account for 55% of the country’s 96,000 hectares of vineyards. South African wines have emerged as both some of the best valued red and white wines and of the highest quality. No wonder that South Africa now competes in every category. Here are the most popular South African grape varieties.

South African Red Wine Grape Varieties

grape varieties

Pinotage

Pinotage is South Africa’s very own grape variety. It was developed locally in 1926 and is an indigenous crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsault that is rarely found in quantity in any other wine-producing country. Pinotage often gets blended with Syrah and are denser and savory with higher alcohol content than Pinot Noir. Pinotage offers juicy raspberry to blueberry fruit flavors with spiced chocolate and tobacco. It is often referred to as possessing a “sweetish acetone” flavor.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is often blended with Cabernet Franc and Merlot and its flavor is reminiscent of blackcurrants or cedarwood. The classic profile of Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity that contributes to the wine’s aging potential. It is also noteworthy to mention that one of the most noted traits of Cabernet Sauvignon is its affinity for oak, either during fermentation or in barrel aging.

Merlot

Merlot is a dark blue colored wine grape variety that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. It is fragrant and usually softer than Cabernet Sauvignon but it takes second place to Cabernet Sauvignon in most premium red wine blends. Its softness and “fleshiness”, combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon

Syrah

Syrah is also known as Shiraz. It makes a soft and rich wine often characterized by smoky and chocolaty aromas. It is consistently full-bodied with softer tannin, jammier fruit and spice notes of licorice, anise and earthy leather. Syrah grows throughout South Africa and has a wide range of styles because the style and flavor profile of wines made from Syrah is influenced by the climate where the grapes are grown.

Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is one of the major black grape varieties worldwide. Although Cabernet Franc is a little less pronounced in cabernet franc, this grape variety possesses qualities similar to those of Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Franc tends to be more lightly pigmented and produces wines with the same level of intensity and richness.

South African White Wine Grape Varieties

grape-varieties

Sauvignon Blanc

South Africa has recently received great attention as a world-class producer of Sauvignon Blanc. The South African Sauvignon Blancs tend to be dry and grassy. Sauvignon Blanc in South Africa is zesty, grapefruity and grassy which have a lot of similarities to Sauvignon Blanc of New Zealand.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay, is one of the easiest grape varieties to grow, is planted in almost every wine producing country, especially in South Africa. In fact, it is one of the most popular if not the most popular dry white wine variety in the world.

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc in South Africa is also referred to as “Steen”. About 30% of South Africa’s vineyard is producing Chenin Blanc, making it the most planted grape variety in South Africa. Chenin Blanc is a peachy and floral grape variety. The majority of the plantings are found in the Western Cape wine region of Paarl.

Colombard

Colombard is known in South Africa as ‘Colombar’. This variety often possesses tropical fruit aromas and are a good companion to seafood and makes fresh wines with crisp acidity. Colombard is also used in South Africa for brandy production.

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Posted In South Africa, Wine

Top Wine Regions of South Africa

FWT_Admin | September 28, 2017

South Africa is not only known for its vast safaris and flourishing wildlife. It is also known for its world-class variety of wines. Over the years, South Africa is increasingly making better wines which contribute not only to Africa’s wine industry but also to the rest of the world.

Here are the top wine regions of South Africa:

Franschhoek
franschhoek-wine-region
The Gourmet Capital of South Africa has a food and wine route that is beyond compare. Franschhoek is considered one of South Africa’s top wine regions for centuries. The Valley was founded by Huguenot settlers. These settlers came from France and they brought with them their traditions and winemaking expertise. The valley is surrounded by jade-colored Drakenstein Mountains. The relatively high rainfall and a wide variety of soils make the production of the good variety of wines possible. Franschhoek prides itself for the most tried-and-trusted grapes over a number of decades.

Some of the farms in Franschhoek date back generations and exude an old-world charm. Some of the wine farms of Franschhoek include Bellingham, Backsberg Estate Cellars, Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons, Boschendal Wines, Graham Beck Wines and Franschhoek Cellar.

In Franschhoek, you will get to experience pairing food and wine. Aside from wine tasting, you will also experience olive, chocolate and cheese tastings. Indeed, Franschhoek is the ideal destination to experience sampling some of the world’s finest wines.

Constantia
constantia
Another top wine region of South Africa is Constantia. It is a historic wine-growing area in the southern suburbs of Cape Town. The region has a winemaking history that dates back to 1685. It is where the first vineyards were planted in South Africa. Constantia sits on top of ancient deposits of decomposed granite. Constantia’s estates stretch from the low ground all the way up the south-eastern sides of the Constantiaberg mountain. The area grows a wide range of grapes with Sauvignon blanc being particularly noted. It is also known for premium cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc and Bordeaux Blend wines, along with the modern dessert wines made from Muscat Blanc.

Constantia is now home to 11 wine farms including Groot Constantia, Steenberg Vineyards, Constantia Uitsig, Klein Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Eagles Nest, Constantia Glen and Silvermist Vineyards. These wine estates receive a steady flow of visitors throughout the year because of the year-round wine tastings, picnics, and festivals. With its heritage and landscapes of unsurpassed beauty, the Constantia Valley truly is one of South Africa’s most cherished vineyards.

Paarl
paarl
To add to the list of the top wine regions of South Africa is Paarl. Paarl is the heart of the South African wine industry. Its name is the Dutch word for pearl because of the way it glistens after rainfall. Paarl has a long history of wine production which started in the 1680s and the famous Nederberg Wine Auction is held here every year. It was traditionally a white wine region but is now focusing on red wines because of its Mediterranean climate. The white wines are fruit driven and tropical, usually made from Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. The red wines, made largely from Shiraz, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon are rich and robust, with a great intensity of fruit. Paarl’s vineyards are found on the lower slopes of Paarl Rock, on the northern side of Simonsberg Mountain and in the valley of the Berg River which provides well-drained granite and shale soils for the vines to produce premium quality. Paarl’s climate is relatively hot and the rainfall is moderate to high. And the vineyards are often irrigated over summer to help cool the plants.

Stellenbosch
stellenbosch
Stellenbosch is one of the top wine regions of South Africa. About 45 km east of Cape Town, the Stellenbosch district is the second oldest wine region in South Africa. It contributes around 14% of the country’s annual wine production. The region is surrounded by the Helderberg, Simonsberg and Stellenbosch Mountains and receives some climatic influences from nearby False Bay. Stellenbosch is steeped in history and is home to the country’s best-known wine estates since 1679. The region’s climate is relatively hot and dry. Granite and sandstone soils are also found throughout Stellenbosch. The region’s most widely planted grape variety is Cabernet Sauvignon. This variety is often combined with Merlot to create Bordeaux Blend wines.

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Posted In Cape Town, South Africa, Wine

Check Out These Top 5 Cape Town Wine Farms

FWT_Admin | July 18, 2016

There are many Cape Town wine farms, but what are some of the best ones? Before you make a trip to Cape Town, you should know about the top wine farms. With that said, below are the top five Cape Town wine farms you should visit.
1. Steenberg Vineyards- The vineyard is located in Constantia, and on the estate there is a manor house, as well as various other buildings. Asides from visiting the vineyard, you can stay at the hotel that is on the estate and play a few rounds of golf on the course. Let’s not forget to mention there is a spa on the site, and you will love it. As for wines you can find there, you’ll be able to enjoy wines such as Blanc, Shiraz and Merlot to name a few.

2. Cape Point Vineyards– This vineyard is one of the most well-known vineyards in Cape Town, and it is an award winning winery. It is equipped with a wedding and function venue, which makes it a great place to have a wedding. Premium wines are made at the vineyard, and you can enjoy some of the wines they offer at the Cape Point Vineyards Restaurant, which offers you amazing views of the surrounding area. Also, you can take a nice picnic while here, so if you’re looking for one of the best wine farms in Cape Town, then look no further than Cape Point Vineyards.

3. Vergelegen– If you’re looking for an amazing wine farm to visit, then make sure to pay a visit to Vergelegen, which is home to the Cape Dutch manor house. There are a number of gorgeous gardens you can walk through, and let’s not forget to mention you can take a tour of the cellar, as well as taste a few wines that are considered to be the best in the world. After you have tasted the wine, make sure you head to Camphors restaurant for lunch, but be prepared to spend a lot of time at Vergelegen because you can easily spend an entire morning or afternoon there.

Vergelegen-Wine-Farm

4. La Motte– Another good wine farm that you should visit is La Motte, which is located in the center of the Cape Winelands, and many people consider this farm to be the best one in all of the area. The farm is home to an amazing restaurant, and you’ll have the chance to try wines such as Chardonnays and Shirazes. There are various events that take place here throughout the year, so before you go, make sure you find out if there’s a concert going on, wine tasting event or another interesting event you’ll want to go to.

La_Motte_Wine_Farm

5. Skilpadvlei Wine Estate- The last farm to make the list is the Skilpadvlei Wine Estate, which is where you’ll taste wines such as Chenin Blanc, Skilpaddop Rose and Skilpaddop Red to name a few. Don’t worry about finding a place to stay because the estate has B&B rooms available, as well as cottages, and don’t forget to dine at the restaurant. Also, the restaurant is child-friendly, so feel free to bring your entire family to the restaurant, but make sure you take a look around the estate because you will love all that it has to offer.

As previously mentioned, there are many wine farms in Cape Town. However, the top five Cape Town wine farms are the ones discussed above. If you have never been to Cape Town and you are a fan of wine, then make sure you visit at least some of the wine farms discussed in this article.

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Posted In Cape Town, South Africa, Tour, Wine, Wine Tours

BikesnWines.com

FWT_Admin | July 18, 2016

The wine-growing region of the Cape has a reputation for its scenic beauty, lush expanses of vineyards, Blue Mountains, and sunny weather often that enables ripening of grapes on the vine.

While a majority of tourists opt to tour the areas by vehicle, you cannot experience the environment in a better way than on two wheels, and this is where Bikes n Wines, a local tour company comes into play. They offer Cape Town Bicycle Tours.

Bikes n Wines is a South African first and a new concept in winelands tourism that combines exclusive wine tastings with adventure cycling. Bikes n Wines has been organizing bike tours for close to a decade for the visitors that would like to enjoy Cape Winelands in an active and healthy way. The tours offered by Bikes n Wines are geared towards outdoor-loving, young-hearted people looking to experience a South African wine tour from an authentic and different viewpoint.

During the day, up to 4 first-class Stellenbosch wine estates located 50 km outside Cape Town are visited. They are accessed through private farm roads where riders get to pass through quiet tree-lined roads as well as vineyards with stunning vistas along the way.

Depending on your route of choice, your selection of lunch spots and wineries will differ. Bikes n Wines does offer tours in all six of the wine regions in the Cape and offers a choice of half-day tours, full-day tours, or even multi-day tours. A Bikes n Wines tour is guaranteed to be an adventure in the Winelands which is a totally refreshing break from your regular wine-tasting experience.

A good example of a tour would be to meet up in Stellenbosch then to cycle 10 to 30 km between several vineyards including the legendary Van Rynís distillery, Overgaauw, as well as the tiny Lovane Boutique Wine Estate. Overgaauw specialized in Merlot while Lovane is known for its red wines.

The Wellington area is best suited to mountain bikers while guests can enjoy treats such as a visit to Chocolaterie in Franschhoek. There is also a mountain bike tour of the glorious Hemel-en-Aarde area near Hermanus where some of the finest wines in the country are made because of its close proximity to the sea.

Peninsula Pedal is a new but increasingly popular tour that follows part of the route of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, popularly known as the “Argus”

This tour starts in Simonstown and features a stop at Boulder as well as a side trip to Cape Point. From here comes a road transfer to Noordhoek for guests to go tackle Chapmanís Peak to Hout Bay. Guests will continue enjoying wine tasting as well as a picnic along the way.

While it is possible to organize a transfer to your location of choice, the company highly encourages the use of public transport to the starting point.

Since Bikes n Wines is committed to a carbon-neutral policy, it has partnered with Greenpop, which is an organization that organizes tree planting. For every 10 riders that book a tour with Bikes n Wines, Greenpop donates a tree.

Bikes n Wines only offer guided tours and has 45 bikes for hire meaning that they must be pre-booked. The company caters for all levels of ability even complete novices and children. If you are wondering how you can juggle the adult enjoyment of wine tasting in the Winelands and ensuring that your children also enjoy themselves, you should consider taking a Bikes n Wines tour.

Bikes n Wines fully caters for families with children as young as 1 year with bike baby seats, half bikes, buggies, and childrenís bikes that suit children of different ages. In addition, the company can include some of the more children-friendly wineries including Spier and Skilpadvlei.

Final Thoughts

A Bikes n Wines tour is a real fun quality way of spending quality time enjoying the great outdoors for the whole family while the adults get to enjoy some good wine and food. If you would like to enjoy the scenic Cape Town region then you should definitely book a Bikes n Wines tour. You will enjoy quality time with your loved ones in the great outdoors while enjoying great wine and food. To enjoy this amazing experience, ensure that you make a Bikes n Wines tour part of your bucket list.

BikesnWines-Cape-Town-Bike-Tours

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