AAR: The Western Cape, South Africa, June 2017 (Part 3)
Greetings, Fellow Travelers!
BLUF: This six-part AAR covers the journey, the destination, and activities of our trip to
South Africa (our second!) while stationed in Germany. This trip focused almost
exclusively on wine and food. While far from almost everywhere, the Winelands outside
Cape Town have one of the largest concentration of wine estates for both seasoned
and novice wine drinkers. It’s much more affordable than France and has better
mountain views than Germany.
Today’s AAR takes us to the Western Province of the Republic of South Africa.
Part 3: Tip it!
Food and wine (and sometimes beer), are why I put so much effort into hunting for great
travel deals at exciting destinations. Franschhoek sits at the heart of South African wine
country. From here, in less than a two-hour drive, you can reach upwards of 30
amazing wine estates and tasting rooms. Estates do charge for tastings, and while this
may be different from European and California estates, paying does keep the riff-raff
We began our first full day on the Franschhoek Wine Tram. The tram is a combination
of rail and truck transport with the ability to hop-on and hop-off at eight different wine
estates throughout the day. We, however, chose the “Curated Wine Experience”—a
half day tour, tasting, vineyard walk, and three course lunch at a wine estate with two
additional wine estate tastings to round out the day.
Our short rail ride took us to the Rickety Bridge Winery. Here, we sat for a vintner-
hosted wine tasting and three-course lunch. With the assistance of an aroma wheel, we
rookie oenophiles testified to our assessments: “violets with suggestions of cabbage
and butterscotch” and “cedar with clues of tar and baker’s yeast.” It was, obviously, a
tasty and tipsy way to spend the lunch hour. We concluded our Rickety Bridge stay with
a walk through the vineyards where we learned roses are used by wine makers as early
warning systems to announce the presence of harmful diseases and parasites.
Over the next few days, we ventured to amazing estates to partake in lovely wines and
– Babylonstoren – a pergola-framed garden walk and elegant farm-to-table lunch
– La Petite Ferme – perfect for a meal as it sits atop a hill overlooking the valley
– DeMorgenzon – a Stellenbosch estate home to award winning wine blends
– Lynx Wines – a small but bold estate where the winemaker joined us for a private
tasting featuring his celebrated Viognier and Grenache
– Leeu Estates – an Indian telecommunications millionaire’s wine estate with a lux
dining room and private cellar
– Jordan Wine Estate – a Stellenbosch estate recently honored in wine master Tim
Atkin’s 2018 South Africa Special Report with eight high scoring wines
– Tokara – with roaming peacocks and a topiary garden walk, the estate offers
amazing views of the mountains surrounding Franschhoek and Stellenbosch
In sum, during our wine touring as we found our “must-have” bottles, we ordered them
by the case from the estates. All the South African vintners we visited had distribution
centers in Europe, and many of those centers were in Germany. Placing our orders in
South Africa offered us incredible prices, and by having them shipped from within
Europe to Stuttgart, we paid little in shipping. Then, we drank some more.
Next, Part 4: “Food, glorious food!”
Albert Guerrero, USAF (ret.)
Follow my travels on Instagram: @albert_traveler