For a safari of the vinous kind, visit the cellar doors of the nearby Cape Winelands district.

If you’re visiting Cape Town, you have to make it to Stellenbosch and its wineries, just 50 kilometres away. These “wine farms”, as South Africans call them, are awe-inspiring. The country has a great tradition of winemaking dating back to the 1650s yet, for some reason, I’m always surprised by how much I love its wines.

I dropped into Tokara, a beautiful vineyard and olive farm that has an amazing art gallery, a deli with simple food and a really good restaurant. Richard Carstens cooks up a storm with his Franco-Japanese dish of oyster, calamari, mussel and linefish. They come together to create a flawless assembly of little tastes of seafood. The bobotie-spiced springbok was another triumph. What to drink with such brilliant food? The 2013 Tokara Director’s Reserve White, a wooded blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon, was the ideal companion. 

While you’re in Stellenbosch, check out Terroir, at Kleine Zalze vineyard, often named one of the country’s top 10 restaurants. Indochine at Delaire Graff Estate is also worth a visit, its Asian-inspired fare offering a change of pace from the region’s European-influenced restaurants.

Neil Perry’s Favourite Wineries near Cape Town

I also enjoyed touring Waterford Estate in the property’s safari truck. The team offered me delicious snacks (I’m a biltong convert) and, more importantly, I tasted some great wines. There’s the signature Kevin Arnold Shiraz and the chardonnay is such a well-balanced wine. I was very impressed with The Jem, a fusion of Mediterranean and Bordeaux varieties made from about eight different grapes, depending on the season. It has spicy, rich fruit flavours but isn’t too intense so it goes well with food. There’s also the small matter of the view from the vineyard – it’s really quite spectacular. 

Top image: Waterford Estate

SEE ALSO: Neil Perry’s Guide to Dining in Cape Town

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