A Self-Guided Wine Tour: 4 Must-Visit Vineyards in Franschhoek, South Africa

As I've said before, a visit to Cape Town is not complete unless you've visited their famed wine country. I prefer Franschhoek to Stellenbosch (although I can't leave out Paarl) only because it's a smaller town and it was the first wine region in South Africa that I visited so it holds a special place in my (wine-loving) heart.

Since that first trip, I've been to Franschhoek a few times including with friends and on the Franschhoek Wine Tram. However during my most recent trip to Franschhoek, I was alone and didn't want to feel restricted by an official tour. I ubered from my hotel in Sea Point near city center out to Franschhoek, which cost me about $36 one way. Considering it's a 45 minute drive from the city out to wine country, I thought this was a fair price to pay. He decided to wait for me at each winery because I needed a ride home and he didn't want to accept another fare in fear it would take him back to the city. Nice guy.

On my quest to see more of Franschhoek and after much research, here are the wineries I decided to visit on my self-guided tour:

Stop 1: Delaire Graff Estate

This is the ultimate stop for luxury and wine. Not only can you taste Delaire Graff's wines, but you can stay in one of their luxurious rooms overlooking the mountains and relax at their estate spa. It's one of the most beautiful estates you'll find anywhere in the world.

Delaire Graff has a great variety of white and red wines to choose from; however, they also have a Brut MCC, otherwise known as South Africa's version of champagne. I don't really care for champagne in general; however, theirs was delicious and a choice not all other wineries offer.

Favorite Wine: Delaire Graff Franc Rosé

*Note: Technically Delaire Graff is in Stellebosch but it neighbors Anthonij Rupert Wyne Estate (below) and is only about a 10-15 minute drive from Franschhoek. I recommend starting here as you make your way further into Franschhoek.

Photo Credit: Delaire Graff's website

Photo Credit: Delaire Graff's website

Stop 2: Anthonij Rupert Wyne Estate

Nope! I didn't misspell Anthony or wine. "Wyne" is wine in Afrikaans and is pronounced "vin." (Don't say I never taught you anything.) I made sure to visit the Anthonij Rupert Wyne Estate because it was highly recommended by a colleague. Since I visited on a Monday morning, it was completely empty except for an American couple on their honeymoon (who actually paid for my tasting unbeknownst to me. Thank you if you're reading this!), so I had the run of the place mostly to myself. 

It's a beautiful sprawling property and makes you fall further in love with Cape Town. Anthonij Rupert wines are the flagship of Mr. Rupert's vast wine portfolio, offering both red and white varieties. To note, there's another winery on the property, Terra del Capo. Its wines encompass Mr. Rupert's love of Italy, its wines and food, through three wines.

Favorite Wine: Anthonij Rupert Syrah

*Note: I would call to schedule an appointment before showing up. Their security was unusually tight. I didn't make an appointment but luckily they let me in. Also, their restaurant is not open on Mondays so go another day if you want to try their food. 

Stop 3: Eikehof

The next stop I recommend is Eikehof (pronounced "eye-coff"), a small family-owned winery with beautiful grounds and views of the mountains to boot. It sits right at the beginning of Franschhoek's main town area. My first time at Eikehof was actually Valentine's Day 2016 and they were offering wine and picnic basket specials to enjoy with your loved one. 

It's much smaller than Delaire Graff or Anthonij Rupert; however, I love the idea of a family-operated business. Not to mention they make delicious wines. They offer six wines: three reds, two whites and one rosé. 

Favorite Wine: Chardonnay

Stop 4: Leopard's Leap 

Last but not least, the final stop on your self-guided wine tour is Leopard's Leap.  They offer wine tastings, food, and even cooking classes. For wine tastings, you can choose from Family Collection, Classic or Lookout ranges, at R25 per person, or about $2.

Favorite Wine: Grenache Blanc

It's a long day but it's well worth it to taste a variety of Franschhoek's wines. Each vineyard is different so it gives you an idea of what Franschhoek has to offer. The vineyards are also near each other so you won't spend much of your day in the car going from one place to the next. But even if you did, Franschhoek is gorgeous and it'll be a day well spent.

DC "DCocktail" Series: Etete Restaurant

The DC “DCocktail” Series highlights the food, ambiance, and most especially the cocktails at restaurants in and around the District of Columbia.  We find out how the restaurant uses its menu to make a mark on the nation’s capital.  

Here at Will Drink For Travel, we strive to keep our readers up to date on eateries and bars offering worthwhile experiences. So I was looking forward to sampling the revamped menu at Etete (1942 9th Street NW 20001) in the heart of U Street.

The restaurant has been a mainstay on the 9th & U street strip for as long as I’ve been in the area (10 years). I even made a stop there during my food tour with Carpe DC Food Tours a while ago. As an Ethiopian food fanatic, I can attest to the fact that Etete does not disappoint.

Chef Christopher Roberson has kept true to the restaurant namesake’s traditional spices and flavors with the addition of his small plates. With influences from across the globe, he provides options for patrons with varying pallets. His injera tacos were definitely the stand out for me, packing all of the Ethiopian flavors I adore into a colorful taco filled with berebere chicken, pickled peppers, greens and ayib farmers cheese.

For those a little undecided about injera, a spongy flatbread made of teff flour, they also provide crispy lentil rolls, sweet chili wings, and fish & chips. Etete wows patrons with a crispy whole fish that looks too good to eat and a prawn gumbo, which you will most likely can’t find in any other Ethiopian establishment.

Along with the amazing food are the creative cocktails. The Fire & Spice was a standout with the chili gin and cayenne guaranteed to give you the energy to fill your belly. If the food and drinks don’t inspire you, the décor alone will encourage you to become a happy hour regular, and is open for private events.

If you check out this D.C. mainstay, be sure to tell them we sent you! For more information on Etete, visit Eteterestaurant.com.

- Nyasha Chikowore