South Africa is a leading wine producing country and was the 8th largest wine producer in the world in 2017.   The majority of wines are grown in the Western Cape region with Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Constantia being the most renowned areas.   Constantia lies on the eastern side of Table Mountain and is only a 20 minute drive from Cape Town while the other are just over an hours drive out of town.

Our visit stop on our wine tour to Franschhoek and Stellenbosch was a slight detour to visit the Drakenstein Correctional Centre (previously called the Victor Verster prison) to see where Nelson Mandala walked out a free man after 27 years incarcerated.  A fitting tribute to this great man is a very large statue of him giving the famous clenched fist salute as he walked out with his then wife.  Of course we all had photos taken in front of the statue.

Franschhoek, nestled in a valley is one of the oldest towns in South Africa and was first settled by the French Huguenots in 1688 and many of these settlers started farming the area.  The early farms were named after the area the Huguenots came from and these names remain today, La Motte, Champagne, La Provence and Bourgogne and all of these are now wineries and worth a visit.  Before stopping at our first winery we spent a bit of time in Franschhoedk visiting the Huguenot Monument and looking at the beautiful Cape Dutch architecture which is very much unspoiled due to restrictions on new constructions and renovations.     Our first winery was Boschendal, an old favourite of mine and with a history of more than 300 years this beautiful property offers the visitor great wine to taste, wonderful vistas of the Drakenstein Valley and the chance to walk through an original Cape Dutch home furnished with treasures of the past.

From Boschendal we headed for Franschhoek and a small family owned and run winery called Delheim.  This winery high on the slopes of the Simonsberry Mountain has been in the same family for many decades and offers the visitor spectacular views down the valley back to Cape Town.   Delheim produces a number of good wines but for me their Pinotage Rose is an outstanding summer wine.

A wonderful day with a great tour group

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