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Franschhoek Wine Farms – Wine Tasting Guide

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!

wine farm Franschhoek
Wine farms in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley.

French Huguenot refugees that settled here in the 1600s 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.

Summertime 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 a wine tasting in Franschhoek are 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 and stopping at 31 different wine farms!

franschhoek wine tram
Tasting wine on the Franschhoek wine tram is a fun way to explore this beautiful wine area.

This is a fun and easy way to do a wine tasting with a Cape Town pickup 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 a 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 to 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 reputable companies.

For car rental we highly recommend using Discover Cars

Franschhoek Wine Farms

There are more than 40 wineries in the Franschhoek Valley, ranging from small and rustic to large boutique estates. Franschhoek is surrounded by several well-known wine routes including the Stellenbosch, Durbanville, Breedekloof, and Constantia wine routes.

Boschendal

  • 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, offers wine tasting, restaurants, and other visitor attractions.

Boschendal wine tasting
Wine tasting at the beautiful Boschendal winery in Franschhoek.

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 at 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 bottle 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

Babylonstoren

On the Wine Tram Purple and Orange lines

One of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in the Franschhoek wine valley dates 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.

wine tram tasting franschhoek
Going wine tasting with the Franschhoek wine tram.

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 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

Chamonix

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.

chamonix wine tasting
Chamonix is the place to go to taste Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines.

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.

Dieu Donne

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 are 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.

franschhoek dieu donne
View of the Franschhoek sign while wine tasting at Dieu Donne.

Accommodation – Maison Montagne offers 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.

Grand Provence gardens wine tasting
Grand Provence gardens offer an excellent space for fine dining and wine tasting.

A fantastic tasting venue with award-winning wines at The Winery, but the gourmet cuisine at The Restaurant is one of the highlights of 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 – a variety of excellent tasting options. Enjoyed tasting at one of the tables in the beautiful garden. The wine-nougat pairing was fantastic. The flagship 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.

Haute Cabrière

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 1980s. Similar to the French Champagne houses, the noble cultivars of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were planted to produce the Champagne equivalent, known in South Africa as Cap Classique.

Haute Cabriere wine tasting
The beautiful tasting venue at Haute Cabriere offers some fantastic photo opportunities.

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 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

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.

wine tasting leopards leap
Leopard’s Leap is a family-friendly wine estate with excellent 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 is called The Wine Studio. The Mullineux wines are made in the Swartland wine region, 60 kilometers north of Cape Town, and 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.

Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines
The Wine Studio at Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines

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 the 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.

franschhoek rickety bridge winery
The Manor House on the beautiful Rickety Bridge wine estate.

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 is 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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