The wine farms surrounding the small town Rawsonville on the Breedekloof wine route is blessed with some of the most spectacular scenery in South Africa. The rugged Du Toitskloof mountains with some of the highest peaks in the country is breathtaking and a road trip on this winding mountain pass I would recommend that no visitor misses out on. The “off the beaten track” Breedekloof Wine Route, with unreal views and excellent wines is a world class wine route worth visiting.
Relatively unknown to international visitors the Breedekloof wine route is a hidden gem and reminds me of tasting wine on the famous Stellenbosch wine route 20 years ago. The big commercial tourist industry has not yet reached Rawsonville. Here you can still have an intimate inexpensive or even free wine tasting, sometimes with the winemaker himself telling you about the wines.
Wine tourism at the tip of Africa has many things making it unique. An enormous diversity in soil type, topography and climatic conditions result in unique, complex and distinctive wines. The wines can be fruity, but also reveal earthy flavors. Our warm climate results in high alcohol wines, with the cool ocean breeze helping wines to retain the bright acidity keeping things fresh.
Wine Routes in South Africa
Since the establishment of the first wine farm in the Cape, Constantia Estate, in 1685 by Simon van der Stel in the Constantia Valley of Cape Town several other unique wine districts have been established. South Africa has a ‘Wines of Origin’ system with vintage, grape variety and region being displayed on the label. The Cape Winelands is the most popular area for wine tourism. This is however not all we’ve got! You can explore 17 official registered wine routes and 26 unique ‘wine of origin’ production areas in South Africa. Exploring the lesser known wine regions is very rewarding with beautiful places to explore, awesome activities to combine with wine tasting and different wine styles being focused on in different teroirs.
The Breedekloof Wine Route
Located in the beautiful Du Toitskloof and Slanghoek mountains, the Breedekloof ‘wine of origin’ district is only 1 hour’s drive from Cape Town along the N1 Highway. This beautiful area includes 22 wineries in the Rawsonville, Slanghoek, Goudini and Breede River areas with a variety of cellars from small boutique cellars to large wine estates. This is the youngest wine route in South Africa established in 2002, and receiving Wine of Origin status in 2006. The region used to produce mostly sweet bulk wine by co-operative cellars, but today individual wine growers create award winning wines from different cultivars in beautiful estate cellars.
We visited some amazing wine farms impressing us with a range of great wines in the area. If you want to continue wine tasting from here, the Breedekloof wine route is located very close to the Robertson wine valley and the Worcester Wine and Olive route, two more fantastic wine routes to explore. The wine farms here all produce quality whites and reds made from a variety of cultivars including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot and Pinotage.
The Breedekloof wine route is home to many smaller boutique style wineries with a personal touch and a couple of excellent restaurants.
- Quality wines
- Beautiful wine farms
- Free tasting at many farms
- Friendly staff/wine makers, a real personal touch
- No tourist buses with big groups.
- Many other attractions, restaurants, accommodation, campsites, hiking trails, horse trails, mountain bike trails, rafting, fly fishing and more.
The Chenin Blanc Trail
For us tasting wine on the Breedekloof wine route is mostly about the Chenins. We loved tasting the interesting Chenin Blanc wines in the area. Fruity, sometimes spicy, full bodied, unique wines. If you are a Chenin Blanc fan this is an area you have to visit, if you are not, come to Rawsonville, I am sure you will leave one.
The slow ripening of the vines, geography, climate and varied geology contribute to establishing a great area for producing Chenin Blanc.
The Breedekloof Chenin initiative was started aiming to push Chenin Blanc in to the spot light. Participating wineries are expected to do something different, aiming to expess Chenin’s different personalities. Some innovative things are being done; the use of older blocks, playing with wild ferments, giving skin contact, lees work and more.
Wine Tasting around Rawsonville
Slanghoek in Afrikaans language translates into ‘snake corner’. Located in the beautiful corner of the Slanghoek Valley the farm was established in 1951. A very scenic location and nice tasting room. Slanghoek produces a quality range of red, white, sparkling, dessert wines and port. We really enjoyed the Shiraz with pepper and spicy notes, and blackberry and plum flavours. The farm is best known for its award winning Chardonnay’s that is really excellent value for money. Try the wine-ice-lolly they sometimes give free to guests. The tasting at Slanghoek is free.
Award Winning Wine – Slanghoek Private Selection Chardonnay 2019
Activities at Slanghoek
Blend and Bottle your Own Wine
Meet the winemakers at Slanghoek and learn some of the tricks of the trade. A fun group activity, learn how to create a wine with your unique style using a combination of three red cultivars in a variety of proportions. Take a bottle of your own blend of Slanghoek wine home! Not offered in harvest, book beforehand.
The Slanghoek Mountain Bike Trails
There are 5 different trails that start and end at the Slanghoek Cellar with routes for all skill levels crossing streams and bridges, even race through a camp filled with game! Mon – Fri. 08:00 – 17:00 and 10:00 – 13:00 on Saturdays. Register at the cellar.
Jason’s Hill is maybe the most picturesque cellar on the wine route. The beautiful farm at the foot of the Slanghoek mountains has been in the family for six generations. The farm gets its name from an old sheperd named Jason that used to tend to his sheep in the hills here.
Even though the farm has been in the family for generations producing grapes, current owner and wine maker Ivy Du Toit was the first to make wine on the estate. Ivy is a legend, she has been the winner of both the Diners Club Young Wine Maker of the Year award and was the first recipient of the Woman Winemaker of the Year Award. Don’t miss this one! We left very happy with bottles of Shiraz and Chenin.
Wine tasting at Jason’s Hill
Nice relaxed atmosphere, friendly knowledgeable staff guiding you through the tasting. Tasting fairly cheap.
Tasting Room Hours: Monday – Friday: 08:00 – 17:00 and Saturdays: 10:00 – 15:00
Cost of tasting – R30
Award Winning Wines – Jason’s Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Izak Bordeaux Reserve 2015 – fantastic multi award winning bordeaux blend
Jason’s Hill Bistro
Jasons Hill Bistro is a well known upper class restaurant with magnificent views, Nice place to enjoy a picnic or cheese platter (R150) with sand pits, swings and rolled out lawns for children to play. The small intimate Bistro that can accommodate up to 35 guests. Awesome views from the balcony, great in summer. Nice cosy fire place for cold Winter days.
The Bistro opening times: Monday – Saturdays 10:00 – 15:00
Activities at Jasons Hill
Jasons Hill Hiking Trail
A great day activity in the Breedekloof is the awesome 6.5km hiking trail starting at Jason’s Hill Private cellar offering great views of the Slanghoek valley showing of with a variety of fauna and flora to admire along the route. There are waterfalls and a creek with drinkable water on the way. A list of bird species seen on this route is provided to hikers. Baboons and leopard tracks can sometimes be seen on the way.
Cost – R30, Hiking time – 3 to 4 hours, Register at Jason’s Hil reception
Deetlefs wine estate really is something special. This is the 2nd oldest wine estate in South Africa owned by the same family since 1822. The beautiful Deetlefs farm with it’s impressive ranges of award winning wines is located just outside Rawsonville. Kobus Deetlefs is the seventh generation owner and has continued to carry on the family traditions and approach of wine making. On our wedding day Alya and her bridesmaids made a stop at Deetlefs for champagne while I was waiting with the other guests!
Wine Tasting at Deetlefs Wine Estate
They have a large, professional run tasting room, but they keep a nice personal touch. On extremely hot Rawsonville summer days, the tasting room is nice and cool. Kobus himself was in the tasting room, guiding us through their unique collection. They try to always be inovative, even with labels, they showed us their black and white labels on wine bottles that you can color yourself, for great original gifts. We tasted a variety of Chenins made in different styles, each was well explained to us during the tasting. In their ‘ritmes range’ they had some unique blends I have never tasted before, a Shiraz Pinotage blend and a Chenin Blanc Colombar blend! The unique Deetlefs wines can be found all over the world with this farm exporting more than 80% of wine produced!
Cost – taste 6 wines for R40, tasting is free if you purchase 6 bottles of wine. Group tastings must be booked R100 per head.
Award Winning Wines – Deetlefs Pinotage 2016, Deetlefs Voyage 2018
Activities at Deetlefs Wine Estate
Deetlefs often involved with interesting events ranging from group tastings and cooking master classes to butler school. I have been to a great birthday event where they hosted an excellent wine pairing class for a big group followed by a braai outside.
Badsberg wine estate is located outside Rawsonville next to Goudini Spa, the resort was previously called Goudini Bad (Afrikaans for Goudini Bath). Since the farm is located next to the bath (bad) at foot of the Goudini mountains it was named Badsberg. The estate is located within the Badsberg conservancy where indigenous fauna and flora are conserved. The early history of Badsberg went hand in hand with the Hanepoot wines produced here that the Rawsonville area is famous for. A variety of award winning wines from varying cultivars are now produced here. The farm is also well known for producing top quality port, muscadel and Hanepoot desert wine.
Badsberg Wine Tasting
We tasted some nice wines at Badsberg cellar and were very impressed with their 2016 Pinotage, we bought a bottle to take home only later realizing this great wine cleaned up at the 2016 SA Young Wine Show!
Wine tasting – Monday to Friday from 08h00 to 17h00, Saturday from 10h00 to 13h00
Award winning wines – Red Muscadel 2017, Merlot 2018, Pinotage 2016
Breeland family farm has been owned by the Marais family since 1825! This relatively small farm only produce a limited amount of wine, so you are lucky to have a quality bottle of wine from Breeland in your collections.
Accomodation at Breeland Wine Estate
There is accomodation on the Breeland estate at Buchukloof, you have a choice between cottages, a farmhouse and a hunters cabin.
Things to Do at Breeland
The farm is really beautiful and from Buchukloof on the Breeland estate there are some nice hiking trails. There is game on the estate and hunting expeditions are offered from the hunting cabins.
Wine Tasting at Breeland
Beautiful location on a dam, when we arrived they were busy building a new tasting room. The friendly wine maker, Wickus, gave us what he called ‘a real plaas proe’ (farm tasting). He took a break from work and opened a couple of bottles of wine. They make a nice Chenin with apple, peach and spanspek flavors. A great Sauvignon Blanc and a nice spicy Shiraz. Tasting was free
Goudini wines is an cooperative cellar, receiving grapes from 18 surrounding farms. They produce and market an extensive range including red, white, rosé and sparkling wines. I enjoyed the 2015 Shiraz, which is good value for money and I can see why they have won several good value awards. Goudini also makes a very nice chenin blanc, very fruity and great for hot summer days. Goudini now belongs to Uni wines and can be purchased under several labels in European stores.
The Gevonden Hanepoot sold at Goudini is a very interesting desert wine. It is produced from the oldest still producing Hanepoot Vines in South Africa on the farm Gevonden. It is now bottled as a numbered collector’s item. Gevonden was bought by my great grandfather 5 generations ago in 1829 and was recently sold by cousing.
The tasting room is at a beautiful venue in the vineyard with spectacular views of the Sneeukop mountain.
Du Toitskloof Wines
Du Toitskloof is another very well known co-op cellar on this wine route, producing wines from 22 affiliated farms. It is a prominent South African producer of a range of white and red cultivar and blended wines. Like many other farms on the route, a very good value for money shiraz and excellent fruity chennin blanc is offered by the cellar most years. There is a very nice tasting room offering free tastings.
The Oudemeul restaurant at Du Toitskloof
The Oudemeul is a franchise restaurant and coffee shop located next to the tasting room they make a great pizza, breakfast or cup of coffee. We often go there with our dog and there is a lot of space for the kids to play.
How to Get to the Breedekloof Wine Route
From Cape Town, take the N1, drive past Paarl, through the Huguenot Tunnel. Turn right to Rawsonville on the R101. The scenic route is over the Du Toitskloof Pass instead of through the Huguenot Tunnel.
Best Time to Visit the Breedekloof
Nice weather (hot) in summer, November to March. Harvest season from late February until April. Very rainy from May to late August.
Things to Do in Breedekloof
- ATKV Goudini Spa has a range of self-catering accommodation, entertainment and recreational facilities including warm mineral spa to swim in.
- The Brandvlei Dam in the Breedekloof is great for fishing and kiteboarding.
- Bainskloof Pass, has several spectacular one day hikes, mountain bike trails, camp sites, rivers for trout fishing.
How to Do Wine Tours in the Area
Where to Eat in the Breedekloof
- Die Ou Stokery – Situated on the Old N1 at Stofberg family Vineyards. Variety of nice food and drinks produced on the property. Great pizza and gin tasting.
- Die Oude meul at Du Toitskloof Cellar serves breakfast, lunch and early suppers alongside a selection of freshly baked cakes and artisan coffee which is served all day.
- Jason’s Hill Restaurant offers a relaxed and intimate setting where guests can enjoy a selection of elegant meals.
- Opstal Restaurant – located in Slanghoek Valley on the Opstal wine estate only 10 km from Rawsonville, excellent gourmet food restaurant with a fire place for those chilly winter days.
Where to Stay in the Breedekloof
There are many nice accommodation options, guest houses, B&Bs, self-catering options and camping facilities are all on offer.
Popular accommodation with plenty of excellent reviews
Want to stay in one of the most beautiful wine farms between mountains and vineyards, go and stay in Raba’s spectacular house that has been featured in Garden and Home magazine! New to AirBnB use our voucher and get R600 credit!
Events in the Breedekloof Wine Valley
The big annual event on the route is the Soetes (sweet wines) & Soup festival in July.
Soetes en Sop – Different soups are prepared by all participating farms. Drive between farms tasting everything from chocolate to chicken soups. Delicious soup and wine pairings, live acts and more. Always a great party!