Venturing Into the “Gourmet & Wine Capital” of South Africa: Franschhoek

by Sandy Salle on September 27, 2012


This Article was written by Pamela McOnie who contributes to the foodie side of this website and also offers private guiding services and gourmet & wine tours of the Cape region.

See below for Pam’s guest blog post, spotlighting the best wine estates in the Franschhoek region of Cape Winelands:

Franschhoek, a quaint village in Cape Winelands, is one of the most gorgeous wine valleys in the Cape.  It is known as the “gourmet capital” of the country and it is well worth settling in here for a few days to taste wine and enjoy some of the country’s top restaurants.

To check out the map of the Franschhoek region, visit:

Lynx Wines: This is a small boutique wine farm and tastings are only done by the winemaker or assistant winemaker; therefore, you’re guaranteed a highly personalized tasting tour.  It is, however, best to call ahead of time to let them know you are coming, as they may be off doing deliveries (but even if you have not called, it is really worth popping in if you are driving past). I enjoyed their wines – it is almost as if you can taste their passion in each bottle.  They have an interesting range including a really nice viognier. >> Tel +27 21 867 0406

Image above taken from the Lynx website

L’Ormarins: For boys into cars, L’Ormarins is a must-visit estate! Very few of us will ever be privileged enough to see a car collection like this one. There are four halls of cars and they range from the first cars ever developed to a collection that reflects the most significant changes in style over time. I would highly recommend visiting this estate. Check out the website for more details of the car collection. The Rupert family of South Africa owns this collection.

La Motte: Wow! La Motte has just undergone a revamp and the property is now going to be a huge draw card for visitors to the region. On the estate, they have a wonderfully warm and welcoming tasting area with very friendly staff.  The wines are excellent – so it is well worth a stop. My favorites are the sauvignon blancs (one is organic) and the shiraz.

They have an art gallery with a huge collection of Pierneef – a very famous South African artist, and have opened a beautiful restaurant called Pierneef on the property. There is also a really lovely country store, giant chess pieces that you can play with, and a demarcated hiking path around the farm. There is no lack of money here, as the estate is owned by Hanneli Rupert. The Rupert family is one of the most wealthy families in South Africa. Make sure you add this one to your “must do” wine farm list.

Screen shot above taken from the La Motte website.

Graham Beck: As a complete contrast to the Lynx estate, Graham Beck is a large commercial winery that produces large volumes. Graham Beck’s estate in Robertson produces some of the best champagne in the country. His full range can be tasted at the Franschhoek winery.

The building hosting the tasting room is a really interesting piece of contemporary architecture. The décor inside is equally slick and gorgeous and overlooks the bottling machinery. The staff members are very well-trained and the tasting experience is good – but be prepared for a lot of people visiting the tasting room during summer season.

Note that the range offers something for everyone – from whites to excellent reds and excellent champagne (note that champagne is referred to as MCC in the Cape due to EU regulations.)

Moreson: This estate has a nice little tasting area, a fabulous little deli where chef Neil Jewell sells his chucuterie meats, and a lovely restaurants called Bread & Wine.  It is one of my favourite spots to sit all afternoon in the sun, eating, drinking, and relaxing. I would highly recommend the restaurant. Note that they also do bread-making lessons and give you an opportunity to cook with the chef – but only on specific dates – so check their website out for the details.

To see some of Pam’s other posts about the wineries and wine estates in Cape Winelands, click the links below:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII


Part IX

Have a question for Pam or want to have Pam guide your next tour to Cape Winelands? Contact us today.


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