Plan your next visit to the valley of wine and roses and discover many off-the-beaten-track destinations. The biggest attraction is the annual Wacky Wine Weekend when scores of wine enthusiasts descend on the valley to enjoy all its spoils. With its relatively low rainfall and high summer temperatures, the region is ideal for making great Chardonnay, MCC, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. The district of Robertson incorporates several wards, including Agterkliphoogte, Bonnievale, Boesmansrivier, Eilandia, Hoopsrivier, Klaasvoogds, Le Chasseur, McGregor, Goree, Zandrivier, Ashton, Goedemoed, Goudmyn and Vinkrivier.
The foodie’s Robertson
The Kuip, the underground cellar at Esona Boutique Wine in the Bonnievale area, takes you back to a bygone era of winemaking. Wine tastings include tasting wine in Riedel or conventional glasses. There are also wine pairings with chocolate, fruit preserves, music and art.
Weltevrede also has an underground cellar where you can listen to local stories while tasting the MCC by candlelight. McGregor is home to Lord’s Wines, viticulturist Jacie Oosthuizen’s tribute to the famous cricket grounds in London. At 500 metres above sea level, the estate is the highest in the Robertson Valley and boasts beautiful fynbos. Cellar tours and picnics are on offer.
Bemind Wyne is a garagiste cellar in McGregor. After dreaming about her own cellar for years, Ilse van Dijk Schutte now makes wine to share with family and friends.
For understated elegance, lunch at Just Amy, the restaurant at Jan Harmsgat Country House. Situated in the foothills of the Langeberg Mountains, the farm dates back to 1723 when it was known as Jan Harmansz Schat. Besides fresh produce there are also specialties such as duck confit and handmade pasta on sale. The pecan pie is made from the farm’s organically grown pecan nuts and is served with homemade ice cream. You can also taste the single-block JHG Wines or book a picnic lunch under the pecan trees.
In Montagu, owner-chef Bernard Hess runs Mimosa Lodge, winner of the 2017 World Luxury Hotel award. The lodge is renowned for seasonal produce and the menu, which changes daily, complements the range of boutique wines.
Platform 62 in Ashton is a popular Route 62 pit stop. Here you can browse around the arts and crafts section and wine boutique and stock up on padkos at the farm stall. The Shed offers light meals and drinks and is pet and child friendly.
At Café Maude on Bon Courage you can enjoy a lazy lunch under an old pepper tree in summer or snuggle up next to the big fireplace in winter. Mo & Rose, situated in a renovated barn, specialises in Cape Winelands cuisine with a European twist.
Tanagra, another boutique cellar in the McGregor area, makes wine from 12.5 ha noble variety grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Pinotage. Be sure to try the grappa, which is made in a pot still from Germany. Tanagra, Khoisan for a well-shaded place, owes its name to the farm’s wild fig tree.
At Kranskop Wines visitors can taste wine from the barrel in the company of renowned winemaker Newald Marais. Remember to bring along a picnic basket. Kleinhoekkloof at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains not only sells wine, but the winemaker is also a charcutier who makes prosciutto, smoked ham, salami and other artisan cured meat. Enjoy these on a tasting platter with bread and cheese.
Mont Blois in Robertson’s De Hoop area is home to Cape Wine Master Nina-Mari Bruwer and husband Ernst. Their wines have quirky names such as Kweekkamp Chardonnay, Hoog en Laag Chardonnay and Pomphuis Muscadel.
Bon Cap has been hosting guests since 1991. Today, in addition to its eight cottages, the farm boasts a wedding venue, the Bon Rouge country bistro and coffee shop where you can order traditional dishes such as waterblommetjiebredie and bobotie. The bistro, which is closed to the public on Saturdays, serves a traditional lunch buffet on Sundays with everything from soups and salads to mains and dessert. There’s also a play park for kids.
Marbrin is a small family-run boutique olive farm. They produce award-winning extra-virgin olive oil and a range of table olives and tapenades, which can all be tasted at the farm. An interesting tour informs visitors about the processes involved to produce olive oil. Igadi Ye Oliva, which sells olive oil and products, also offers cooking classes and tastings. Visit the Igadi shop at the Olive Garden Country Lodge.
Tucked away in Klaasvoogd West Valley is Vredelus, home of the Wentzel family’s Exdiem Wines and Olives. Daughter Jana runs the luxury Galloway Guest House on the farm.
The adventurer’s Robertson
Promotional material for the Wacky Wine Weekend always includes a photo of a merry crowd aboard Uncle Ben 2, Viljoensdrift’s flat-bottomed riverboat that cruises the Breede River. Take along a picnic lunch and bottle of wine from the self-service deli for a great outing. The Viljoensdrift team is passionate about conservation so passengers will be treated to beautiful indigenous vegetation.
Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the landscape with Skydive Robertson. Based at Robertson Airfield, they’re open over weekends and on public holidays. Everyone’s welcome, from first-time jumpers to sports skydivers. They offer training and skydivers can camp at the drop zone. If you’re not keen on skydiving, try hopping onto the back of a Harley Davidson for a guided tour of Route 62, offered by Cape Motorcycle Tours.
Ornithologists will delight in the abundant bird life on the banks of the Bon Cap farm dam. The estate is also popular for fishing. Animal lovers will thoroughly enjoy a visit to Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary where abused, neglected and elderly donkeys can live out the rest of their days in a protected, natural environment. This initiative was started by Dr Johan and Annemarie van Zijl when they adopted Vaal and Japie, two neglected donkeys. Kids love Bird’s Paradise where they can interact with birds from all over the world and view many other animals, including monkeys and crocodiles. There’s also a play park for youngsters.
The whole family can trek to the top of the Langeberg Mountain on Protea Farm’s famous Montagu Tractor Trip. From here you can enjoy views of the Koo and Robertson Valleys. View the more than 18 game species at Melozhori Game Reserve near Bonnievale on horseback. Alternatively your can opt for a more conventional game drive. The more energetic can enjoy a Saturday morning run on Excelsior Wine Estate. Dogs are welcome.
The Cape winelands are a treasure trove of precious experiences and hidden gems. If only you knew a local to show you around! Our Insider’s Guide is like your long-lost best friend in each of the Cape’s 10 wine-producing regions. And you’ve been invited over.
The art lover’s Robertson
Rooiberg Winery is renowned for its striking red land art. Whether it’s a lane of wrapped trees or a larger-than-life chair, the art is visible from Route 62. Visitors often stop to take photos after lunching at the Bodega de Vinho.
Ceramic artist Rial Visagie moved his factory to the family farm, Clairvaux, near Robertson. His art and functional ceramic pieces are found in homes across the globe. Open by appointment only.
Pamper your body and soul with a luxurious treatment at the Rosendal Spa or simply relax in the swimming pool and steam bath.