You don’t necessarily equate the Garden Route with great wines. But a number of top class wine estates are changing that perception and showing the world that Garden Route grapes make for wonderful wines.
And best of all, these wine estates are all within easy-peasy reach of Knysna. Book your base at Travel Knysna and explore the vineyards in Knysna’s backyard at your leisure.
While Boplaas is situated in the Klein Karoo town of Calitzdorp, it’s an easy day-trip from Knysna to visit their cellar. Or simply sample the best of their wines at their Garden Route tasting room between Mosselbay and George. Boplaas is known for world class table wines, ports and award winning pot-stilled brandies.
A bit closer to home, Herold Wines perches on the sunlit slopes of the Outeniqua Mountain range’s highest crest – Cradock Peak. At a height of between 650m and 700m, Herold’s vines are uniquely rooted at a much higher altitude than most South African vineyards. Combining this elevation with icy winters, cool summer winds, frequent mountain mists and year-round rainfall leads to a distinct vine, delivering exceptional wines. Make the most of your visit to Herold Wines by opting to travel the scenic and historic Montagu Pass from George.
Traveling east from Knysna you can fill a day with wine tasting and delicious eats. Towards Plettenberg Bay and The Crags you’ll find (in no particular order) Packwood Wine & Country Estate, Luka Wines, Plettenvale Wines, Newstead Lund Family Vineyards and Bramon Wine Estate.
Packwood Wine & Country Estate lies in a historical part of Knysna’s indigenous forest and offers the most delicious cheese and wine lunches – booking a day in advance is essential. Do also try the fresh milk from their dairy, as well as their scrumptious cheeses, herbs, crisp garden salads and, of course, a glass of bubbly or award winning wine.
Luka Wines may be a relatively young vineyard, having just produced 5 700 bottles from their third harvest, but they have already taken their fair share of ribbons and rosettes. Their first harvest in 2011 won a Veritas Bronze Award, the second harvest in 2012 took a Michelangelo International Silver Award and the 2013 harvest deserved its Vitis Vinifera Double Gold Award. Join the resident springbuck for a tasting session overlooking the Knysna Elephant Park valley.
Also harvesting for the first time in 2011 was Plettenvale Wines. Their boutique winery and cellars offer visitors a unique experience of the wine making process, as everything that happens in the winery is visible to visitors. But don’t get too engrossed in learning about making wine, or you might miss tasting their 2011 Brut Rosé Methode Cap Classique, a magical blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The Lund and Robinson families of Newstead Lund Family Vineyards believe that wine is very much like life, with their journey reflected in their grapes. Their welcoming, intimate tasting room invites visitors to relax and linger a while. And, of course, to sample their unique take on viniculture.
Enjoy lunch in the vineyards at Bramon Wine Estate. The first estate this far east of the Western Cape’s wine lands, Bramon is as well known for their award winning Methode Cap Classique sparkling wine as they are for the fantastic events hosted on the property. Bramon is also very proud of Vukani Wines, their empowerment vehicle for the local community. Through sales of Vukani Wines the Vukani Trust is able to manage programmes that train and develop local farmers in viniculture.
There are few things as enjoyable as a great glass of wine shared with grape – I mean great – company. But please remember to drink responsibly and to designate a dry driver. Or ask your accommodation provider for information on one of the many shuttle services available from Knysna.
You don’t have an accommodation provider yet? Find one at Travel Knysna. Go on, you do that while we uncork the wine.
For more information and to confirm tasting times, please visit: