Franschhoek is one of the two main towns in the Cape Winelands. Just over one hour’s drive from Cape Town, the town is positioned between the mountains that form the staggeringly beautiful Franschhoek Valley and surrounded by vineyards. As well as being one of the most picturesque places in the country, it’s also steeped in history: Franschhoek is one of the oldest towns in South Africa, established by French Huguenots at the end of the 17th century. Of course, most people visit for the wine – but with dozens of wineries clustered around the town, which are the best? We’ve picked some of our favourites to help you decide. Here are some of the top wineries in Franschhoek.
Details correct as of May 2018
This beautiful property is famous for its MCC (Méthode Cap Classique: South Africa’s version of sparkling wine). The tasting room is a plush lounge area hung with glittering chandeliers. Here you can sample some of the MCC varieties along with canapés to match the wines. The estate also has a restaurant called the Orangerie, and a guesthouse, Lily Pond House.
Opening hours – Mon-Thurs, 10am-5pm; Fri-Sun, 10am-6pm.
La Motte is probably the fanciest of the top wineries in Franschhoek, owned by one of the wealthiest families in South Africa. Their wines are excellent, especially the shiraz, which is known as one of the best shirazes in the country. Aside from wine tastings, you can visit the barrel cellar, their art gallery and their restaurant, Pierneef at La Motte.
Opening hours – Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm.
Wine tasting is by appointment at Boekenhoutskloof, and only on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am, so make sure you book ahead. They have four wine brands, including a very popular red, Chocolate Block, which is a blend of five varietals and is named after its slightly spicy, chocolatey taste.
Opening hours – Tues and Thurs, 11am (tastings by appointment only).
This winery is famous for its chardonnays, both unwooded and wooded. GlenWood are also part of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI), a guarantee of green, eco-friendly practises. There’s a tasting menu on offer, which is paired with their wines.
Opening hours – Sept-May, daily, 11am-4pm; June-Aug, Mon-Fri, 11am-3pm.
This is a little, family-owned and -run wine farm, the products of which include an MCC and a pinot noir. The pinot noir comes from a small one-hectare block on their estate, only producing a few barrels each year. Tasting are best when they’re led by one of the McNaught family, but their cute, cosy tasting room is worthy of a visit in any case.
Opening hours – Mon-Thurs, 10am-4.30pm; Fri, 10am-4pm; Sat, 10am-1pm.
Cabrière is one for lovers of bubbles (that’s everyone, right?), as they run an interesting tour on how MCC is made. Their MCC is under the Pierre Jourdan label, named after the French Huguenot who owned the farm in the late 1600s. The winery is also conveniently within walking distance of Franschhoek village.
Opening hours – Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm; Sat, 10am-5pm; Sun, 11am-4pm.
Getting around: the Franschhoek Wine Tram
An ingenious addition to the Franschhoek wine experience, the yellow Franschhoek Wine Tram is a hop-on hop-off service that allows visitors to tour the wineries without hiring a guide or requiring a designated driver.
Check out one of our example trips, featuring a stay in the Franschhoek Valley.