After our epic two-day journey on the Rovos Rail, my mother and I embarked on an epic weeklong road trip from Cape Town to Joburg. Our first stop was the Robertson Wine Valley.
Before I start talking about wine I need to give a shout-out to Around About Cars. Renting cars normally gives me huge anxiety, but Around About Cars was so easy to deal with and we couldn’t have made this journey without their assistance. Also we loved our little white car, which was perfect for wine country photo-ops.
Anyway, back to the wine. The Robertson Wine Valley is about two hours north of Cape Town, consisting of about 50 wineries in and around the towns of Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor, and Robertson. (This area is also commonly referred to as the Langeberg.) I’ve been wanting to visit for ages and I thought this would be a great time to do it because Mom loves hanging out in small towns.
Robertson Wine Valley, Day 1
First we went to the Rooiberg Winery, home of the Biggest Red Chair in Africa.
The Robertson Wine Valley is known for a sweet wine called muscadel. I’m personally not a sweet wine fan but Mom (who is normally not much of a drinker at all) really likes it — even more reason for us to visit this particular wine region.
I confess that even I enjoyed the red muscadel we tried at Rooiberg. It’s a very photogenic wine, too.
From Rooiberg Mom and I headed to the tiny town of McGregor, where we would sleep that night. We checked into Rose House, one of several self-catering houses available in McGregor through McGregor Country Getaways.
Rose House is delightful, as is the entire town of McGregor. There are only a few streets, most of them unpaved, and the town is ringed by beautiful mountains. I think Mom would move to McGregor tomorrow if it weren’t so far away from her adorable grandson in America.
We had an amazing dinner in McGregor at a restaurant called 51 (named for its address: 51 Voortrekker Street), which is only open for dinner on Mondays. We were very lucky to be in town on a Monday and snag one of the last tables available at 51, especially because the restaurant’s theme for that night was American Southern cuisine. We feasted on spicy fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread, sweet potato pie, and apple crumble.
If you find yourself in McGregor on a Monday, don’t miss this place. 51 doesn’t have a website or Facebook page (it’s very new), but contact Philip via WhatsApp at +27-83-675-0403 to book a table. 51 is also open Thursday through Sunday for breakfast and lunch.
Robertson Wine Valley, Day 2
The next day we left McGregor and drove 20 minutes to the vineyards around Ashton. We visited the huge Excelsior Wine Estate, where sales manager Ernest Reyneke took us on a tour of the factory and the farm. I’ve never watched wine being bottled before, which was really cool.
Mom and I also got to try making our own red wine blends. My 2Summers Road Trip blend was 50% cabernet, 25% merlot, and 25% shiraz.
If you live in South Africa and shop at Woolworths, then you probably know how delicious Clemengolds are.
We had a fantastic wine tasting at Zandvliet — pairing the wines with Clemengold-flavored chutney, chocolate, biscotti, and other goodies — followed by a lovely lunch outside the tasting room.
Finally, we visited the hundred-year-old Weltervrede Estate near Bonnievale.
We were feeling pretty burned out on wine-tasting at this point but wound up having a great time with Weltervrede marketing manager Steyn Fullard. The highlight was a candlelit tasting in the old underground cellars beneath the estate.
That night we stayed at Enon House, the guesthouse on the Zandvliet farm, and watched the sun set over the grape vines. Perfect. The end.
Our accommodation (and some of our food and wine) in the Robertson Wine Valley was complimentary, and we received a discount on our hire car. Opinions expressed are mine.