The wonderful Durbanville wine farms in the rolling hills of this fantastic wine-producing area is a fantastic day trip from Cape Town. Located just 30 kilometers from the city center Durbanville is a good alternative to the wine farms of Constantia for wine tasting.
What wines should I taste in Durbanville? – Durbanville is famous for excellent Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux blends, and Pinotage wines made from grapes grown in this cooler region.
The Durbanville wine farms offer some of the best views of Table Mountain available, an excellent backdrop for tasting some top quality wines.
Located in the heart of wine country with vineyards planted as early as 1702 Durbanville is one of the oldest wine-producing areas in the country. In this article we look at how to go wine tasting around Durbanville; the fantastic wine farms, specific wines, some great food pairings, excellent estate restaurants, and some awesome activities not to miss.
Exploring coffee and wine while traveling is a passion for us, don’t miss our guide to the best coffee shops in Cape Town if you are a caffeine junkie!
Wine Tours on the Durbanville Wine Route
Doing an organized wine tour obviously gives you less freedom, but you can learn a lot from a knowledgeable guide, it is very convenient, and the biggest advantage is you do not need a designated driver. Self drive is the most common way to explore the Durbanville wine route with limited companies offering wine tours, but they are available.
Tips for tasting in the Durbanville Wine Valley
- Tasting venues get very busy on weekends and public holidays, we prefer to go in the week.
- The water in the area is brackish, some farms offer mineral water for sale, you can buy water, drink brackish water or bring you own.
- Share a tasting, if you just want to taste the wines we found one tasting is plenty for two people and we buy a bottle of our favorite to take home.
- Book your tasting if you are a group, go tasting on a weekend or holiday or if you have a specific request.
- Rent a car, self drive is the way to go in the valley. Our favorite for car rentals in Cape Town
- Try some of the food pairings, there are some interesting food pairings on different farms that bring out unique characteristics from these excellent wines.
- Explore the estate restaurants, most of the farms have fantastic restaurants with amazing views and top quality food.
- Bring the kids, some of the farms cater for the whole family with massive lawns, big playgrounds, cycling routes and great pizzas.
Durbanville Wine Farms
The wine regions of South Africa are defined geographically by a Wine of Origin system that is shown on the wine labels. The Wine of Origin District ‘Cape Town’ contains a total of 30 wine farms and is divided into the wards Durbanville, Constantia, Philadelphia and Hout Bay. Wards divide wine growing areas by unique terroir characteristics such as climate, landscape and soil type that affect grape and wine quality. There are 12 wine farms in the Durbanville ward.
The award winning Durbanville Hills is probably the best known winery on the Durbanville wine route, located only about 20 minutes drive from Cape Town’s city center. The modern tasting room with spectacular views of Table Mountain and Table Bay is very popular offering about 100 000 tasting per year.
Seven prominent grape growers in the Durbanville district teamed up with Distell to build the Durbanville Hills cellar and make their own wines; today they are nine partners. Some of these farms started producing grapes in the early 1700’s, but the first vintage of wine produced in Durbanville Hills was in 1999.
Wine Tasting at Durbanville Hills
The modern tasting room has fantastic views of Table Mountain, Table Bay, Robben Island and Cape Town. On a nice day tasting wine outside is great observing the vineyards of the Durbanville wine valley and the ocean. In winter the fireplace inside makes it very cozy. The impressive tasting room has floor-to-ceiling glass for viewing the cellar. The large venue incorporates the wine tasting area, restaurant, meeting rooms and a shop, with large windows and a balcony.
There are many styles of tasting on offer here, including a variety of food wine pairings.
Award winning wines to taste – Durbanville Hills Collectors Reserve Cableway Chardonnay 2018, Durbanville Hills Collectors Reserve Cape Mist Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Durbanville Hills Caapmans Cabernet Merlot 2006
Durbanville Hills Wine Pairings
The Chocolate Wine Pairing – A chocolatier from Knysna created artisan chocolates specifically to complement the aroma, flavor and overall mouthfeel of specific wines.
The Cheese pairing combines full-bodied wines with strong and flavorful cheeses. The Biltong pairing is a very uniquely South African food experience. Biltong is a type of cured meat from different origins, usually beef or game. This tasting pairs dried fruits and biltong with well suited wines.
Activities at Durbanville Hills
Table Mountain Wine Safari – During this wine tasting tour you are taken in a safari vehicle on some winding routes around table mountain on lesser driven roads closed to the public to some special spots for great views of the ocean, mountains and Cape Town area tasting wines with a selection of snacks on the route.
Cellar Tour – a tour of the cellar is available including a Crystal tasting.
For children Durbanville Hills has an outdoor kids play area, with a jungle gym and big lawn to run around and play while you enjoy your tasting.
Restaurant at Durbanville Hills
The award winning Durbanville Hills Winery Restaurant is known as Tangram (the name of a flagship wine made here). Fine dining with spectacular views of Cape Town showing off at sunset. The contemporary setting offers beautiful panoramic views of Table Mountain, Table Bay and the vineyards of the Durbanville wine valley. Book ahead.
Book a tasting or table – Durbanville Hills +27 (0)21 558 1300
For a unique wine tasting experience on the Durbanville wine route don’t miss Klein Roosboom Wine Farm. The boutique winery describes itself as ‘Cape Town’s best kept secret’, I am not going to argue with them. It is difficult to stand out on this wine route; blessed with excellent terroir, many farms producing phenomenal wines, plenty of great views of Table mountain and many high quality restaurants. The wine tasting in old cement fermentation tanks turned into private little tasting rooms, beautifully decorated is a truly special experience at this wine farm. They extend the unique experience to Jéan Restaurant where you can have a table set inside the vineyards of Klein Roosboom.
Wine tasting at Klein Roosboom
We really enjoyed the wines made by Karin De Villiers, winemaker and owner at Klein Roosboom winery. Most of the wines were named after a family member with letters written to that specific person as back labels, take some time to read them, it is really nice. If you want something to nibble on there are some nice platters available, you can also order a picnic basket for 2 packed with goodies to enjoy somewhere on this beautiful estate.
The wines at Klein Roosboom are great, but the star of the tasting was the experience of the private tasting in the old fermentation tank uniquely decorated. Each room is an old concrete wine vat converted into a stunning little tasting room. You can still experience the wine and see and feel old wine crystallization on the walls.
Every room is uniquely decorated with a different theme. Other than the wine tank rooms there are tables inside and outside for tasting. The tasting was well presented by the friendly, knowledgeable staff. It gets busy on weekends and in season, so if you want a cosy private wine tasting room at these times book your Klein Roosboom wine tasting ahead.
Award winning wines to taste – Klein Roosboom Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2019
The location and style of this glass building in the vineyards of Klein Roosboom is stunning. Named after Karin’s late husband, the décor is imaginative and relaxed, reviews of Chef Lorianne Heyns and her team’s dishes and creativity are fantastic. The restaurant focuses on local, farm-fresh and organic produce. There are some tables and umbrellas in the vineyard which would be a great experience to sit and enjoy a glass of wine or food from the restaurant.
Things to do at Klein Roosboom Winery
Go on a Party Bike Adventure – the bike is actually a 12 seat car with a combination of pedal power and an electric motor. Cruising through the vineyard for 2 hours you can take a snack box or some wine and there will be several tasting points on the cruise.
Make a booking- Klein Roosboom
When it comes to amazing views of Table Mountain, seeing our favorite mountain behind the vineyards of the Durbanville wine valley from the wine farm De Grendel was our number one choice. This beautiful venue is still a real farm, driving to the tasting room you pass cattle grazing on flower strewn meadows. De Grendel is blessed with sea views, cool ocean breezes and misty nights; perfect conditions for producing top quality Sauvignon Blanc wines.
Wine Tasting at De Grendel
Wine Tasting at De Grendel Wine Estate is a great experience. The relaxed, but upmarket ambiance and friendly, knowledgeable staff creates a great atmosphere for wine tasting. The wines are fantastic. De Grendel has two tasting areas, a beautiful tasting room with big windows, as well as a lovely deck, both offer amazing views of Table mountain.
I can recommend the flagship tasting, the ‘Op die berg’ Chardonnay and the ‘Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc’ were fantastic and well priced (we took a Koetshuis home) and don’t miss the Rubayat Bordeaux blend.
Award winning wines to taste – De Grendel Op die Berg Chardonnay 2018, De Grendel Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc 2019, De Grendel Op die Berg Pinot Noir 2017, De Grendel Rubaiyat 2016 (Red Blend)
Open for tasting – Monday to Saturday: 9am to 5pm, Sunday and Public Holidays: 10am to 4pm
De Grendel Restaurant
The De Grendel restaurant is a highly rated fine dining restaurant. The interior of the restaurant is beautiful offering stunning views through large windows, chef Ian Bergh is visible from behind the glass in his kitchen. Dishes are all designed to compliment wines of their excellent range and are prepared from locally sourced ingredients. The menu changes often based on the availability of the local farm sourced ingredients.
For lunch, choose from the two- or three-course options, with optional wine pairings.
The popular restaurant is often fully booked weeks ahead.
Reservation recommended – Tel: 021 558 6280 Bookings De Grendel
Meerendal is one of only a few wine farms in South Africa that can claim it has been bottling wine under the current name of the estate for more than 50 years. The farm is more than 300 years old and the first grape vines were planted here in 1714. Until 1969 all the wine however went into nameless barrels at the KWV cooperative cellar. In 1969 a Shiraz and Pinotage was bottled under the Meerland brand. Meerendal was one of the first farms to plant Pinotage and today they produce Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinotage, Shiraz, Merlot, and Pinot Noir grapes and wines.
There is plenty to do at Meerendal estate, it features two restaurants, a wine tasting room, some excellent mountain biking, and trail running trails and even a wine academy!
Wine Tasting at Meerendal
Meerendal has a small tasting room, with some tasting tables and a bar area. The tasting was well presented. There are two tasting options available.
Award winning wines to taste – Meerendal Intensio Pinotage 2017, Meerendal Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Restaurants at Meerendal
Meerendal estate has two restaurants and a farmstall selling all sorts of farm products, Meerendal merchandise and a great cup of coffee.
Il Tesoro is the fine dining restaurant on the Meerendal estate, offering a range of dishes, from wild boar ragu with spinach gnocchi to interesting beef or chicken dishes. All produce used is ethically and locally sourced from the surrounding farms
Carlucci’s is a popular deli restaurant franchise. The restaurant at Meerendal offers a variety of dishes from excellent burgers to pizzas, sushi and sandwiches. There is a great playground and big lawn for kids to play, great spot for a coffee.
Mountain Bike and Running Trails
Meerendal is home to a range of very popular mountain bike trails for all levels. Interntational events like the Cape Epic has been hosted here. The trails are graded from easy to medium and is designed and marked for different skill levels. The routes take 1-2 hours to complete depending on your pace.
There are three running trails at Meerendal with a combined distance of 9km.
Meerendal Wine Academy
Enter the Meerendal wine academy for an introduction to the wine making process. Experience all aspects of wine making from the vineyard to the cellar, learn from the wine maker, do official wine tasting courses.
Accommodation at Meerendal
Meerendal Boutique Hotel – Stay in this luxury 4 star hotel with beautiful, big room and bathrooms. Great location – easy access to the wine lands and the western coast beaches, Cape Town and the V&A Waterfront, and the Cape Town international airport (shuttle for pick up available).
The boutique winery Canto is the latest addition to the Durbanville Wine Route and only opened its doors in January 2018. The farm is well known for producing excellent MCC’s (champagne) and we were looking forward to the renowned MCC and macaron pairing.
Canto is an awesome place to go over weekends, go for a picnic on their huge lawn, order a delicious pizza or go for an MCC tasting!
The tasting room looks like a white chapel in the middle of a huge lawn surrounded by vineyards. Canto is located on the Vissershok road next to Meerendal.
Winetasting at Canto
The modern tasting room is stylish and comfortable with a bar and lounge area furnished with comfortable couches, tasting tables and chairs, with the winery in the background. There are two tasting options at Canto, the MCC tasting with 4 MCC’s and their standard wine tasting with a mix of 5 red and white wines. From the still wines Canto produce an excellent wooded Chardonnay and a very nice full bodied Merlot.
We do not often taste MCC so comparing the four Canto MCC’s was a bit of a novelty. Obviously we had to do the MCC/macaron pairing. First tasting the MCC’s on their own our favorite was the unusual Shiraz MCC with clear raspberry aromas. The Chardonnay/Pinot noir MCC was another favorite, more richness with some strawberry flavors.
Our favorite pairing was the Chardonnay/Pinot Noir MCC and the Salted Caramel macaron. The macaron is delicious and brought out the richness in the MCC. After this pairing we bought a bottle of the Chardonnay/Pinot Noir MCC and will buy salted caramel macarons when we have something special to celebrate!
The tasting room has a deli fridge stocked with a variety of cheeses, cold meats and condiments to build your own platter for the tasting room.
Award winning wines to taste – Canto Merlot 2018
Picnic at Canto
Canto has a massive lawn, the perfect place for picnics which are available on Saturdays and Sundays. To picnic at Canto a minimum purchase from the deli for R180 (about $11) is required (excluding wine and beverage purchases). Ten spots are available with a maximum of 4 people per picnic spot, this is on a first-come first-served basis.
Nitida is an award winning boutique winery known for their excellent Sauvignon Blanc wines only established in 1990. The farm has produced some award winning Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon wines as well as excellent reds with award winning Merlot and Pinot Noir vintages.
Nitida Wines are named after the protea nitida which grows in the endangered Renosterveld Flora. The local flora is important to Bernard and Peta Veller that incorporates the endangered vegetation into their beautiful, carefully designed labels.
Wine Tasting at Nitida
Tasting here is a unique experience on the Durbanville wine route, you feel part of the wine making process. The tasting area is small and inside a cellar surrounded by wine barrels where staff are tasting, blending and going on with their wine making duties.
There are three tasting options; a classic tasting), artisanal tasting of 4 more expensive and limited wines and a Sauvignon Sensory Tasting.
The Sauvignon Blanc Tasting at Nitida
We did the Sauvignon Blanc Sensory Tasting, it was a fun experience. You get to taste 4 of Nitida’s award winning Sauvignon Blanc wines and get a goodie basket filled with an assortment of components you can sniff and even taste to awaken your senses. We played around with the dried fruits, flowers, herbs, spice and other components, exploring the wines for an hour or so, a great idea in Sauvignon Blanc country. Our host was friendly and knowledgeable, but we would have preferred labeled components and more guidance to turn it into a better learning experience.
Award winning wines to taste – Nitida Golden Orb 2018 (Sauvignon Blanc), Nitida Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Nitida Wild Child 2018 (Sauvignon Blanc), Nitida Semillon 2018
Restaurants at Nitida
There are two restaurants owned and managed by Warren Swaffield on the estate, Cassia Restaurant and Tables at Nitida.
Cassia serves a diverse menu described as ‘contemporary, rustic cuisine’. Book a Table
Tables at Ntida is a family bistro, preparing simple food using locally produced and sourced ingredients that complement the cuisine.
Bookings – Contact Nitida Wine Cellar +27 21 976 1467 Tables at Nitida +27 21 975 9357
Sharing a cheese platter and tasting excellent wine at a great venue we really loved the wine farm D’Aria. The farming history of this land goes back about 300 years, D’Aria was however established in 1998 and the first wine vintage was produced ten years later. Today the wines produced here by winemaker Rudi von Waltsleben are top notch with several award winning whites and reds. They pride themselves on excellent terroir, minimal handling of the grapes and doing the vinification process by hand as far as possible. The location is beautiful with a open Tasting Room that overlooks a small dam and fountain from the rear deck. There are several bench tables under the trees on the grass next to the water. The atmosphere in the tasting room is great, it is a self help set up. The award winning Poplars Restaurant is located at D’Aria.
You can enjoy good burgers and a wine tasting on the wooden deck between tall trees overlooking the dam.
Wine tasting at D’Aria
The tasting is served one glass at a time at the counter inside the tasting room, we enjoyed our tasting under the poplar trees with a cheese platter. Rudi, owner and wine maker, is a music man and many of the wines names are music related. From the Premium Range we really enjoyed the Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot with rich red fruit (we took a bottle home). The wooded Sauvignon Blanc ‘The Following’ is something different.
Award winning wines to taste – D’Aria Songbird Sauvignon Blanc 2018, D’Aria Wild Thing Sauvignon Blanc 2019, D’Aria Soprano Shiraz 2018
Restaurant at D’Aria
Poplars restaurant is a beautiful large house with many interesting rooms inside, this divides the restaurant into more intimate dining areas. There is a large veranda overlooking the gardens which is a great place to sit in summer.
Poplars has a modern European grill menu that pairs well with the excellent sauvignon blancs and rich reds from D’Aria.
The farm Maastricht was established in 1702 producing grapes for many years, but producing wines under the Maastricht label only started recently. The early Dutch settlers named the farm Maastricht because the clay soils reminded them of their home town with the same name. We had a great tasting and I will recommend you visit the new tasting facilities at this beautiful wine farm. The Louw family have been making wine here since 1982, establishing the Maastricht wine farm in 2010. The farm is planted with about 100 hectares of vineyards, mainly Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon with a small block of Pinot Noir.
Wine tasting at Maastricht
The entrance to the tasting area is really nice with a flower filled path leading up to the old barn that has been converted into a tasting room. The new outside tasting area overlooking the vineyards is perfect for a summers day and we enjoyed our tasting here. We enjoyed the Maastricht Pinotage 2018, with red fruits, black cherry, and a big juicy mouthfeel. The Wooded Chardonnay 2018 was excellent and will have us coming back to this little boutique winery. Some light meals or snacks are available for purchase at the tasting room.
Award winning wines to taste: Maastricht Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Maastricht Pinot Noir 2017
Bloemendal Wine farm was established in 1702 and is one of the largest wine farms in the Durbanville region, stretching into the Kanonberg Mountains. The first wine cellar on Bloemendal was built in 1920, but the farm was only registered as a wine estate in 1987. A producer of quality award-winning wines, best known for excellent Sauvignon Blancs typical for the Durbanville wine valley. The popular family restaurant, Bon Amis is located on the estate. This is a very family friendly venue with sprawling lawns, a jungle gym for the kids, a cycling track, wood fired pizza oven and even kiddies juice and ice cream tasting!
Wine tasting at Bloemendal
Bloemendal has an extensive range of wines you can taste and offer some interesting food pairings. The small tasting room and terrace is nice for wine tasting, but there is not much of a view from the tasting center. Don’t mis the Suider Terras Sauvignon Blanc. We enjoyed the wine and nougat pairing, really something different and interesting. The Sally Williams Nougats were all fantastic, I loved the Macadamia nougat paired with a barrel fermented and aged Chardonnay (2016), for us the nougat accentuated caramel and hazelnut tones in the wine that we loved. Another interesting pairing is the wine and ice cream pairing consisting of 3 wines paired with ice creams from Nina’s Ice Cream.
Award winning wines to taste – Bloemendal Waterlily Sauvignon Blanc 2019
The popular family restaurant Bon Amis perched on a hill has fantastic panoramic views of the vineyards in the Durbanville wine valley, Table mountain and Lions head. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bon Amis has a lot of potential with an amazing venue wood-fired pizzas and freshly made sushi. We have not eaten here, but the reviews vary from fantastic to very negative, I would recommend you check out some recent reviews before making a booking.
Things To Do at Bloemendal
Bloemendal is home to the awesome Biosport mountain bike trails for all skill levels. Biosport is a mountain biking cycle track situated on the estate they also provide bike hire and host biking events. The Bloemendal and Hillcrest trails are a network of diverse trails in the beautiful Durbanville hills offering the rider a selection of trails, great jump runs, and flowing picturesque trails. Open 8am – 5pm Monday to Sunday
Bookings – Bloemendal 021 976 2682
Altydgedacht Estate is one of the oldest farms in South Africa, a family farm established in 1698. The historic farm has been in the Parker family for since 1852, a legacy spanning six generations. You can feel the history in the 300 year old cellar with its white washed walls.
Wines at Altydgedacht
Altydgedacht make some fantastic wines, some unusual cultivars and styles for this part of the world. We enjoyed the Italian variety Barbera, not often seen around here with berry and liquorice aromas, a great red wine not to miss. They offer a great dry Gewurztraminer with Turkish delight and rose petal aromas. Dry Gewurztraminer is another wine that is not very common, we loved this wine and bought a bottle. The Old Vine Chennin Blanc 2018 is a terroir driven wine made from 46 year old single vineyard vines. A unique Chennin with lots of apple and citrus notes and hints of oak, it was matured in french oak.
Tasting hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 11:00 to 16:00, Sunday and Monday: Closed
Accommodation near the Durbanville Wine Route
When choosing accommodation look for well rated places with many reviews. The following facilities are all well rated, less than 10km drive from the Durbanville Wine Route with good reviews. I will recommend that you read some reviews before booking a place.
- 11 on Gull, Cape Town
- Blaauwberg Beach Hotel, Blouberg Strand
- Protea Hotel by Marriott Cape Town, Durbanville
- Meerendal Boutique Hotel, Durbanville
Wine tasting Durbanville – how does it work?
The wine farms on the Durbanville wine route that offer wine tasting all have a dedicated tasting room with well trained staff to tell you about the wines and assist you with the tasting. We found the tastings here cost a bit more than on some other wine routes, but includes more wines. This is an important fact to consider when planning your route, if you self drive I will recommend not more than 3 farms on a day. We often share a tasting between the two of us, since the amount they pour is sufficient for two people to taste and have never encountered a farm having a problem with this. Following the tasting we usually buy a bottle of our favorite to enjoy with a braai or some sushi back home.
Durbanville is located about 30 minutes drive from Cape Town, the farms are not far apart (look at our Wine Farm Map) and self drive is the most common way to explore the area.
Travel Resources for Cape Town
Need to rent a car in Cape Town? find the Best car rental deals
Staying in Cape Town for a while? The Durbanville Wine Valley is one of the many perfect weekend getaways from the city.
Enjoy hiking? – The Lions Head Hike is a must do!
Find out more about the best scenic drive in Cape Town!
The world-famous Garden Route is the most popular road trip in South Africa and we have driven this route many times, look at our highlight of the Garden Route for well-known spots not to miss as well as some lesser-known places you can thank us for later 🙂
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.