Day Tour of the Cape Winelands with Wine Desk

As much as we, as locals, explore parts of the Cape winelands (some more than others) over weekends and when friends and visitors visit (we all love showing off our mountain ranges, our amazing grapes pressed into vino that make us swollen headedly proudly South African, our idyllically located restaurants), what can we say we know about them?

Truth be told, not many of us have the opportunity to travel and enjoy the winelands in a focussed manner, visiting the best farms with the most hospitable hosts. Often it’s a case of driving along and stopping at whichever farm has the biggest “Restaurant” or “Tastings” sign or when the hunger of your partner (or yourself) dictates a lunch stop. Or a loo stop.

I was invited to attend a day long wine tour organised by Wine Desk to sample some of the loveliest gems on offer, departing from the Wine Desk at the Tourist Centre at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront at 9 am and returning just after 5pm.

Eight of us were chauffeured in a mini bus taxi, and accompanied by guide extraordinaire Johan, Ligia de Coito, owner of Wine Desk and Wine Desk’s Social Media Officer Amanda Devine.

We shared conversations on history, love, war and naturally after the first stop the voices got merrier and the the mood lighter.

  • We kicked off the outing at  KWV Wines in Paarl- for a wine, biltong and savoury nut pairing. We also had a sampling of the port and cake pairing and I made sure I took a recipe sheet with my eye on the Coffee, Hazelnut and Chocolate cake. I also bought a lovely bottle of the 1981 Port.
  •  At Kanonkop Estate in Stellenbosch, we were treated to a tasting in the snug cellar by owner Johan Krige, the pinotage king  and many tales were shared that we’ll all be telling at our own parties, I’m certain. The saying of the day, no doubt, as inscribed on the wall above the entrance: “Pinotage is the juice extracted from women’s tongues and lion’s hearts. After having a sufficient quantity one can talk forever and fight the devil”

  •  At Middelvlei in Stellenbosch, Jeannerette and Ben Momberg were the perfect lunch time hosts. Their farm, with it’s cows grazing blissfully, geese, pot bellied pigs wallowing happily in mud and kids racing their bicycles along the paths, their laughter floating in the wind, inspires relaxation. You have no choice but to leave your city-weary cares behind you as you absorb the views and sunshine. And the wines- glasses are topped up frequently.


We enjoyed a boerekos (farmer’s food) tray of veal pastries, home made smoked snoek pate, freshly baked farm bread and butternut soup as well as koeksisters and coffee for dessert.

  • Hereafter, we visited Van Ryn Distillery for a brandy and chocolate tasting. I learned that brandy should only ever be poured a little bit at a time, in fact the perfect measure allows for the brandy glass to sit on it’s side without a drop spilling out.

The tours comprise the day, so its best to dress comfortably, take a jacket or shawl for possible temperature drops and be prepared to relax and have someone else manage time and the outing.

I’m looking forward to surprising my husband with one of these- for once he won’t be navigating us around, and I can focus on reading and tweeting on my Blackberry without feeling guilty!

Tours such as this one cost R850 pp and can be tailored to suit your needs. They run Monday to Friday.

For more information, contact Ligia at or  (+27) 21 418 0108

KWV Emporium – Maya Friederich and staff

Kanonkop – Johan Krige (owner)

Middelvlei – Jeanneret and Ben Momberg (owners)

Van Ryn – Stacey Scott (Brand Home Manager)



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