A venture into the Cape Winelands usually summons images of Stellenbosch or Franschhoek, and while these routes offer both scenic landscapes and exceptional wines, it’s the lesser known routes that can’t be matched with their charm and unpretentious generosity. The Breedekloof Wine Valley, just past the Huguenot Tunnel Worster-bound, is an adventure rich in character, incredible hospitality and, being at the foot of the Slanghoek mountains, beautiful vistas.
The picturesque wine route is situated between Worcester and Paarl in the Breede River Valley, and includes Rawsonville, Slanghoek, Goudini and Breërivier. Walled in by the Slanghoek and Du Toitskloof Mountains in the west and south-west, and the foothills of the Hex River Mountains in the north-east, it’s the ideal ground from which to hike, mountain bike, fly fish, horse ride, bird watch, canoe, white-water raft, eat, sleep, drink and explore – and all just two hours outside Cape Town.
The majority of estates have been in the farmer’s family for generations, fostering a sense of pride and strong family values. Summer (from November to March) is the ideal time to visit, with harvest season starting late February. Rainy season runs from May to late August, and although this period is not ideal for outdoor pursuits, its winter charm – chilly nights around a fire sipping red wine – is cosy and nostalgic. Majority of the farms have been in the
When in the valley, be sure to tick these highlights off your travel list…
Stay in a log cabin at Platbos
Overlooking a small dam, and hugged in by the Slanghoek mountains, the Platbos cabins are situated in a majestic secret valley. With only three properties spaced out around the water, the cabins feel intimate and isolated – inspiring rest and tranquillity. To get to the cabins, one has to drive along a rugged dirt road, so a 4X4 is advised (the owner will lend you his should you not have your own). The self-catering home-away-from-home can sleep up to six people, with a fully equipped kitchen, braai facility and fireplace. Enjoy sundowners on the balcony overlooking the dam and mountain ranges.
For the adventurous, enjoy a hike up to the waterfall, a walk dominated by the Breede River’s indigenous Yellowwood trees.
Book at platboslogcabins.co.za.
Bosjes Farm, Kombuis and Chapel
Bosjes Farm is garnering noted attention, not just for its breathtaking chapel but for its gourmet food offering too. Bordering the Breedekloof Wine Route, the restaurant, like the chapel, was designed by Coetzee Steyn from Steyn Studio, and is a complementary contrast to the old manor house next to it.
Opstal Wine Estate and Restaurant
Situated at the heart of the Breedekloof’s Slanghoek Valley, Opstal Estate is a seventh-generation family-run estate, known for its hospitality and friendliness. In the farm’s chic but non-fussed tasting room one can try the farm’s Carl Everson range (including a Chenin Blanc and Cape Blend), which has received Platter attention. Adjacent to the tasting room is the restaurant, boasting beautiful views of the expansive valley.
Jason’s Hill Winery
Despite farming grapes for six generations, it is only in the latest generation that Jason’s Hill farm got its own winery. Established in 2002, the winery features picturesque views, a tasting room and bistro serving breakfast and lunch. Try the Eggs Benedict – it’s a treat, and pick up a bottle or two of the award-winning Izak Bordeaux Reserve Blend.
Botha Kelder, between the Waaihoek Mountains and the Breede River, is one of South Africa’s largest private cellars. The extremely ambitious winery has a capacity of 38 000 tonnes and produces 30 million litres of wine a year, a large portion of which is sold to Europe, the UK and other parts of the world under private labels. Enjoy a flight of the Botha Kelder wines, entry level and flagship, in the tasting room. To gauge more understanding of winemaking and the magnitude of the farm’s production, book a tour with winemaker Annamarie van Niekerk.
The second oldest wine estate in South Africa owned by the same family (since 1822), Deetlefs is situated at the foot of the Du Toitskloof Mountains in the Breedekloof’s small town of Rawsonville. The elegant Cape Dutch tasting room, hidden under dappled oak tree light, features the farm’s five different wine ranges. Each with its own unique story and purpose, the wines are made sustainably with terroir, tradition and consistency in mind.
There is one word to describe Kirabo Private Cellar, and that is: characterful. The Le Roux family, the fifth generation to farm the land, is passionate about wine – and everyone is involved in the wine making process. The boutique red wine cellar works in harmony with the community and nature, producing small quantities of red cultivars. All the grapes are handpicked and wood matured (up to 24 months) in the cellar.
In the tasting room (booking recommended), one can enjoy a wine and cupcake pairing, as well as wine and ice cream pairing. Co-winemaker and owner Karén Le Roux whips up the cupcakes and ice cream by hand, using the wines featured in the pairing as an ingredient. It’s quirky, fun and entirely different from anything experienced in a winery before.
Gin, bubbly and craft beer tasting at Stofberg Family Vineyards
Well established in the Breedekloof and working with a ‘pay-it-forward’ attitude – keeping community upliftment always at the fore – the Stofberg family are passionate about viticulture and winemaking and offer a varied selection of quality vintages as a result. Mariette, third generation winemaker and a natural at her craft, decided to make her own wine from the farm’s exceptional grapes, while her husband, Deon, heads up the craft beer and gin distillery.
Stofberg, together with masterbrewer and owner of Triggerfish Brewing, Eric van Heerden, joint forces to establish the new, exciting Country Craft brewery. The first four beers were launched in December 2015 when the brewery was opened – and went on to produce the Raw Craft beer range too.
The building, known by locals as ‘Die Ou Stokery’ (Old Distillery) is situated on the old N1 road. In 1913 it was used as a brandy distillery; since, this heritage has been re-introduced and today the distilling continues with both potstill gin and brandy production. The wines, bubbly (Mariette’s favourite), craft beer and gin are available to taste and to purchase in the tasting room, which has recently also expanded into a restaurant and events venue.
Fly Fishing at Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway
Just outside Rawsonville along a winding dirt road you’ll find Dwarsberg Trout Haven, a working fruit and wine farm and hidden escape in the heart of the region’s wine area. Here, the Holsloot River flows through the Stettynskloof valley and is cupped by mountains, which provide a breathtaking backdrop to one of the most highly regarded dry fly venues in South Africa. Enjoy silence and tranquility in the spectacular suroundings while fishing in the shallow, babbling shores.
One can also book accommodation or take out a camp site for longer stays.
For more information about the Breedekloof, accommodation, activities, wineries and hiking trails, visit breedekloof.com.