The second-largest wine region in the country, there’s more to Paarl than the famous Taal Monument…
Decidedly one of the most underrated wine routes in the Cape, Paarl plays humble host to a goldmine of undiscovered gems. You might not find Franschhoek’s manicured gardens or Stellenbosch’s gastronomic flash here, but what you will find on the less-traversed winding gravel roads between the Drakenstein and Paarlberg mountains is generations-old tradition, proud heritage, and Boland hospitality at its finest. Not to mention fantastic wine made with a whole lot of passion, heart and soul.
Though it’s famous for its chenin blancs and reds (these grapes grow beautifully in the region’s hot climate), we urge sauvignon blanc and chardonnay purists to take a walk on the wild side and appreciate the prowess of winemakers in the area; some taking bold risks with lesser-known grapes; some sticking to tradition and producing world-class single varietals.
Wine aside, explorers can expect to find picnic spots with breathtaking views, family-friendly mountain-biking trails, mouthwatering food-and-wine pairings, and wonderful country accommodation… to name a few!
So make a date with your favourite wine-drinkers and join us on our journey through the forgotten valley as we unearth its undiscovered gems.
What do you love most about the Paarl Wine Valley? Let us know in the comments below!
Our top 10 undiscovered gems
Landskroon Wines: For lovers of red
On the southwestern slopes of the Paarl Mountain, this estate is well-known for its award-winning red wines and port. With the day-to-day running of the farm done by five family members (the same family who has owned the farm for more than 300 years), this is a passion project that exudes a welcoming and knowledgeable atmosphere.
- Wine tasting Stunning vineyard views set the scene for wine tasting, which takes place in a casual country setting. You can choose a standard tasting or up the ante with a food-and-wine pairing.
- Food Enjoy a pairing with your wine, with either the Heritage Food & Wine Pairing that includes five wines and a selection of locally produced cheeses, olives, droëwors and Turkish delight; or Paul’s Food & Wine Pairing, which includes six wines, cheese, olives, biltong and dark chocolate. Guests are also welcome to BYO picnic (R40 per person), which includes a wine tasting.
- Things to do A section of Paarl Adventure Trails’ mountain-biking, hiking and running trail runs through the farm, but you’ll need a day permit from Paarl Adventure Trails (R80). The estate is home to a permanent display of fascinating stone artefacts that guests are welcome to explore.
- Kids’ facilities There is a play area for children.
- Stay The Landskroon self-catering cottage is a charming, homely spot for four guests and has lovely views of the garden and farm. The stable door in the open-plan kitchen and living area looks out onto this view (above), and opens onto a stoep where you can braai, while enjoying a glass of the good stuff, and drinking in the valley yonder. The best part? When everyone on the farm has clocked off for the day, you have the estate all to yourself!
Contact 021 863 1039, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Suid-Agter Paarl Road, Suider-Paarl
Mitre’s Edge Wine Estate: For aficionados
This family-run boutique winery, named after the mountain adjacent to the farm that bears an uncanny resemblance to a bishop’s mitre, is undoubtedly one of the Paarl Wine Route’s hidden gems. With a grand Cape Georgian-styled manor and a vintage cellar, this estate is both beautiful and an award-winning wine producer.
- Wine tasting Wine tasting is by appointment only, and can be done in the cellar or the dining room with winemaker Lola Nicholls. Must-try wines include the viognier, the Bordeaux-style blend Shalto and the cabernet sauvignon.
- Things to do Book a wine-blending class for your next special occasion where you’ll get to create your own Bordeaux blend that will be bottled and labelled for you to take home.
- Stay Spend a night (or two) soaking in the old-world charm of the estate at The Pool House, a self-catering home with a sparkling pool and hot tub.
Good to know Mitre’s Edge is committed to sustainable and ethical winemaking. Taking responsibility for their carbon footprint and ensuring they contribute to reduced carbon emissions in their industry is an important objective here.
Contact 021 875 5960, email@example.com
Where to find it R44, Klapmuts
Perdeberg Cellar: For lovers of Cap Classique
Named after the wild zebras that once roamed the area and were mistaken for horses, Perdeberg Wines lies at the foot of Paardeberg Mountain. One of the most distinguishing factors of this cellar is the predominant use of unirrigated vineyards – dry-land vines – which yield concentrated-flavour wines. Well-known for its popular range of chenins, Perdeberg also produces a lesser-known selection of Cap Classique (made from chenin grapes) and sparkling wines.
- Wine tasting Tastings can be enjoyed indoors in a comfortable setting or our outside in the family-friendly seating area. Try a unique tasting paired with a braai picnic or chocolates and marshmallows!
- Food Perdeberg offers delicious country-style family dining in its restaurant, Eat@Perdeberg, or more casual meals can be taken outside on the lawn, such as the braai picnic for two.
- Kids’ facilities Little ones will be kept busy in a fun garden play area and (on weather-permitting weekends) a jumping castle. There is also a Kiddies’ Busy Box, with a selection of treats and activities for children to enjoy while parents are wine tasting.
Contact 021 869 8244, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Vryguns Farm, Windmeul, Paarl
Painted Wolf Wines: For niche-varietal enthusiasts
In 2006, Emma and Jeremy Borg decided to create a wine company to raise money for the highly endangered painted wolf. Apart from their incredible conservation efforts that have raised over R2.5-million in donations, the duo has created three distinctive and award-winning ranges of wine from a variety of grapes from vineyards all over South Africa. As they don’t have their own farm, winemaker Jeremy is able to create new, niche types of wine – such as Roussane, a grape peculiar to the Rhône region, not common in South Africa.
- Wine tasting The Den (tasting room) is located in a beautiful old building on Paarl’s historic Main Road, where you can join a guided tasting and find out more about the endangered wolves.
- Food Painted Wolf shares its premises with Sit Café, a casual eatery in front of The Den where you can grab a light meal while you enjoy a glass of wine. If you’re not into wine, there’s a brewery next door, so you can grab a beer.
Contact 021 863 2492, email@example.com
Where to find it 125 Main Road, Paarl
Druk My Niet: For discerning connoisseurs
Situated on a biosphere reserve, among 24 hectares of endangered fynbos and several species of proteas, this boutique winery is known for its environmentally friendly farming methods and scenic surrounds, which are host to a view-drenched tasting room and luxury self-catering cottages.
- Wine tasting By appointment only, visitors are taken on a private tour of the boutique winery, learning about the area and production methods before enjoying a tasting at the newly built tasting room that overlooks the Paarl Valley.
- Stay Those looking to spend the night can rest their head in farm-style luxury at one of the four modern self-catering cottages, three of which boast a shared infinity pool for cooling off in the hot Paarl summer. The Olive and Protea cottages sleep two respectively, while Guava (sleeps four) and Fynbos (sleeps six) are great options for larger groups. Each cottage is fitted with a spacious open-plan kitchen and living room with a TV, complimentary wifi, an open fireplace and private terrace with a braai overlooking one of the farm’s dams, the vineyards and mountain ranges.
Contact 021 868 2393, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Bodal Road, Daljosafat, Paarl
Mellasat Vineyards: For history lovers
This boutique cellar, founded by the Richardson Family in 1996, enjoys a spectacular position under the dramatic Klein Drakenstein mountains, where sweeping vineyards and panoramic views over Paarl and its famous granite domes set the scene for a variety of attractions and a unique wine-tasting experience.
- Wine tasting Sip on a selection of award-winning wines (including the one-of-a-kind white pinotage) at the tasting room that boasts stunning views of the Paarl Valley and the craggy Klein Drakenstein mountains.
- Food The tasting room offers a selection of cheese and charcuterie platters, while gourmet picnics are available during summer.
- Things to do Visit the Cemetery of Forgotten Wines in their underground cellar, host to an interesting and bizarre collection of museum wines reflecting South African historical wine culture that visitors can interact with.
Contact 021 862 4525, email@example.com
Where to find it Keerweder Road, Klein Drakenstein, Paarl
Rhebokskloof Wine Estate: For wine lovers with kids
In a secluded valley between the granite hills of the Paarl Rock mountains, Rhebokskloof Wine Estate is a quintessentially family-friendly Winelands experience. With rolling lawns and 100-year-old oaks – and the scent of jasmine and lavender wafting through the air Rhebokskloof is known and loved for its warm hospitality and a slew of exciting offerings for children and adults alike.
- Wine tasting Spend an hour or two tasting the exceptional red and white wines in the estate’s tasting room, under the guidance of the knowledgeable (and extremely passionate) wine advisors. Tastings cost R50 and include five wines of your choice.
- Food The rolling lawn is the perfect spot for a picnic, while the outdoor restaurant offers delicious farm-fresh food and estate wine pairings. Those looking for a more relaxed dining experience will love the recently opened pizzeria, that serves crispy, wood-fired pizza.
- Things to do Go mountain-biking, running, hiking, horse-riding and quad-biking, or explore the surrounds with a nature walk. There’s also a jungle gym to keep the little ones entertained.
Good to know Hosting an event? Book The Rhebok or The Cape Dutch venues, while kids’ summer parties can be hosted next to the dam.
Contact 021 869 8386, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Noord Agter-Paarl Road, Windmeul, Paarl
Ridgeback Wines: For scenic sipping
Named after the dogs that live on the property, this farm is loved for its wonderful wines and magnificent setting, perched on the northern slopes of the Paarl Mountain in 64 hectares of untouched fynbos and a dotting of proteas.
- Wine tasting Enjoy award-winning wines at the popular wine-tasting centre, overlooking the gardens and dam, where exotic waterfowl and swans paddle.
- Food Open for breakfast and lunch, the Deck Restaurant shares the scenic space with the tasting centre, and offers a more child-friendly wine farm experience, with home cooking and an array of platters.
- Stay Ridgeback House is a stylishly decked-out five-roomed B&B surrounded by beautiful gardens and views of the vineyards. A swimming pool beckons on hot summer days.
Contact 021 869 8068, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Off R44, Windmeul, North Agter Paarl, Paarl
Under Oaks: For heritage and heart
This family-owned working farm, dating back to 1695, is as scenic as it is drenched in history. Sprawling lawns lead to a tranquil dam, where a slew of secluded spots creates the perfect backdrop to kick back and enjoy the natural beauty and watch the farm animals roam free.
- Wine tasting Enjoy an informative tasting of fine boutique wines (and a variety of wine-pairing experiences) in the welcoming, contemporary tasting room.
- Food The popular pizzeria, housed in the authentic old wine cellar under majestic oak trees, serves delicious wood-fired pizza. Booking is recommended, and children are welcome.
- Stay Spend the night in four-star luxury at one of the eight en-suite vineyard suites, stylishly decorated, with access to a small saltwater plunge pool and spectacular views of the tree-dotted lawns below.
Contact 21 869 8045, email@example.com
Where to find it Noord Agter-Paarl Road, Paarl
Windmeul Kelder: For classic country hospitality
This old favourite epitomises the traditional country warmth and hospitality that the Paarl Wine Route is known for. Although famous for producing high-quality, award-winning wines, the cellar welcomes aficionados and casual drinkers alike, making it a worthy stop when you’re in Paarl.
- Wine tasting Taste your way through the range of award-winning signature wines in their cheerful and relaxed tasting room where a knowledgeable team member will guide you(r palate) through some classics!
- Food The farmers’ market, held on the first Saturday morning of every month, is foodie heaven! Attracting local vendors and artisans, it’s the place to stock up on farm-fresh produce and homemade goodies.
- Shops The Parskuip Neighbourhood Marketplace, open daily, is an on-site deli that showcases a variety of locally farmed and produced goods. You’ll find an assortment of artisanal foods, fynbos honey, freshly baked goods and preserves.
Good to know Windmeul Kelder also makes an outstanding brandy: Reserve Brandy VSOP.
Contact 021 869 8100, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it R44, Windmeul, Paarl
Given its scope and pedigree, the Paarl Wine Route is home to a handful of well-known and well-loved wineries, namely:
Surrounded by rolling, vineyard-covered hills, this working cheese and wine farm is home to a variety of attractions including a fresh-produce deli for take-home goods, a bakery, tasting room, tasting classes and the popular Goatshed Restaurant.
Contact 021 863 2450, email@example.com
Where to find it Suid-Agter Paarl Road, Suider-Paarl
Enjoy a plethora of tasting experiences, including wine, brandy and tea, at KWV in the heart of Paarl – one of the world’s largest Cathedral Cellars.
Contact 021 807 3007, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Kohler Street, Southern Paarl, Paarl
Primely positioned just outside of Paarl, the captivating views of the Drakenstein mountains, verdant vineyards and stunning gardens at this estate create a perfect backdrop for tasting award-winning wines, enjoying lazy picnics and savouring delicious food at The Manor restaurant.
Contact 021 862 3104, email@example.com
Where to find it Sonstraal Road, Dal Josafat, Paarl
Spice Route Destination
Offering gourmet food, artisanal wine, chocolate, ice cream, shopping, and more, this popular farm is a one-stop-shop, a mere 45-minute drive from Cape Town. With beautiful views of the Paarl Winelands, the varied offerings in this self-contained village are a celebration of Cape flavours and talents.
Contact 021 863 5200, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Suid-Agter Paarl Road, Suider-Paarl
Voyage of discovery
While you’re there, set aside time for these lesser-known gems that are by appointment only.
One of the oldest farms in the Paarl area, Calais boasts breathtaking views of Paarl Rock and the surrounding valley and mountains. Their Bordeaux-style wines are delicious!
Contact 021 868 3888, email@example.com
Where to find it Waterval Road, Paarl
Olsen Private Vineyards
Owned by Dr Greg Olsen, an American scientist and entrepreneur who took a trip to the International Space Station in 2005, this family-owned winery produces wonderful wines in its boutique cellar.
Contact 021 862 3653, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Keerweder Road, Paarl
Freedom Hill Vineyards
Situated on the slopes of the Wemmershoek Mountain, Freedom Hill lies between Franschhoek and Paarl, and gets its name from the vineyard views of the legendary Victor Verster Prison (now the Drakenstein Correctional Services Facility) where struggle icon, President Nelson Mandela, took his first steps to freedom.
Contact 021 867 0085, email@example.com
Where to find it Wemmershoek Road, Paarl
This delightful farm, with its leafy old-Cape ambience and characterful tasting room, is owned by the Le Roux family. Produced by Jannie Junior (a 10th-generation Le Roux), Vendôme wines are naturally fermented and matured in French oak barrels.
Contact 021 863 3905, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Arboretum Avenue, Paarl
Pearl Mountain Wines
Originally established in 1747 as a blacksmith’s home and forge, Pearl Mountain Wines is situated on the northern slopes of Paarl Mountain, and is home to Blacksmith’s Kitchen – a bistro-style restaurant that makes great pizza.
Contact Bo Lang Street, Groenvlei, Paarl
Where to find it 021 870 1867, email@example.com
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