Spanning a distance of 850km, Route 62 is said to be the longest wine route in the world, stretching from Cape Town, Constantia, to Port Elizabeth. Seeing that we were already heading that direction to get to the Garden Route, we decided that visiting the wineries along the way was a necessary evil (touch of sarcasm). The green mountains, rolling vineyards, charming towns, and some of the world’s best wine made this drive a true highlight in our South African adventures.
To help us mentally prepare for the journey ahead we spent three wonderful days at the historic Steenberg hotel and vineyard in the Constantia region. Built in the Cape Dutch style in 1682, Steenberg was originally a farm during Cape Town’s ship refueling station days and has gone on to be one of the most prized vineyards in the area.
At the top of the Steenberg vineyard is where the wine is made and enjoyed. We took a private tour though the cellars then were treated to a wine tasting and ridiculously good tapas at Bistro Sixteen82. Everything about this place was cool—this giant grape-inspired chandelier included.
Wine legend Graham Beck actually bought Steenberg Hotel recently and his latest addition to the property is the champagne bar Gorgeous. We’d never done a champagne tasting before but it’s as fun as it sounds. Note: If you ever see Graham Beck Zero on the shelves, scoop up a few bottles, you will not be disappointed.
After we had soaked up our lucky share of luxury at Steenberg, we bid farewell to Constantia and made our way toward Route 62. Rugged mountain peaks, endless vineyards, and numerous varietals of South African wine were in our sights.
Stellenbosch is the big-time wine producing region of the country and has too many vineyards to visit so we had to pick wisely with a stop at the Delaire Graff Estate. Savignon Blanc is what the region does best but their Coastal Cuvee was said to be amazing and proved so. Enjoying each sip of our flight in their cozy modern lounge was just the thing for this rainy day.
When we asked our Twitter followers what was the must-see vineyard in the Franschhoek region, the resounding answer was Boschendal. With many of the original farmhouses still intact, this winery from 1685 was such a treat to explore and relax in. If you like slightly sweeter wines, their Le Bouquet is delish!
We spent the night in the town of Montague, which we came to find out is the dried fruit capital of South Africa. Needless to say we left town a few kilos of dried mango heavier. Though for something a bit more substantial in our tummies before continuing on the wine route, we stopped at the adorable De Oude Kombuis cafe for some scrumptious pancakes and their signature dish, the “Die Plaasjong.”
Boplaas, deservedly famous for their port and brandy, is situated in the village of Calitzdorp, nestled in the Little Karoo region of the Southern Cape. Our sommelier was such a jovial chap, we had a hard time peeling ourselves away from this dizzying array of wines, ports, brandies, and his private stash of unfiltered wine (we are huge fans now).
What would a visit to the longest wine route in the world be without a traditional “hand-held” photo looking out over the majestic wine-filled mountains of South Africa?
Are you a fan of wine? How about road trips? How about both at the same time?