Franschoek is in the heart of South African wine country. It is an endlessly adorable town, surrounded by mountains on almost all sides, with a main street lined with shops and cafes.
Of course, the main attraction is the wineries. As we learned while we were in Cape Town, South African wine is quite good, so we were looking forward to tasting some at the source. We had been wine tasting in the United States before, but no where as beautiful as Franschoek.
Our first winery was Vrede en Lust – roughly translated from Dutch into Peace and Passion. They sat us on our own section of their veranda to take us in the fabulous views, and brought us a variety of wines to taste. Our current lives are very tough, I know.
We then had lunch at Dieu Dionne Winery, which also has a microbrewery. There, too, the views are amazing.
After lunch, we already had quite a buzz, but it was still early…so why not go to another tasting? We stopped by the Rickety Bridge Winery. At Vrede en Lust, they had given us 1 ounce samples, which was more than enough to taste the wines. At the Rickety Bridge, we practically got whole glasses. By the end, all the wines were tasting delicious.
When we arrived back at our guesthouse, I had trouble opening the front door. I assure you, this is from my natural inability to open locks, and had nothing to do with the amount of wine consumed. The owner came to open the door, and looked at us with amusement. She asked us where we were dining that night. When we told her that we were planning on going to Allora, an Italian restaurant recommended by the host at Rickety Bridge, she looked REALLY amused. Oh, right, Allora, she said, with a knowing smile. The restaurant where they pick you up and take you home! (This is true – they really do!) I am sure she thought we were three sheets to the wind…which, if I am being completely honest, was not entirely untrue.
The crazy part is that all of the tastings are free. (Or, as my high school economics teacher Mr. Bender would say, there is no such thing as free, because in our tipsy state, we purchased two bottles).
Needless to say, we really enjoyed Franschoek. It is only about an hour and a half from Cape Town, and is a great place to spend a few days relaxing. We’ll definitely keep our eye out for South African wines in the future, particularly the reds.