The Walker Bay Wine District’s most important T road, the Hemel-enAarde R320, winds its way through South Africa’s premium cool climate wine region. Not only does it offer visitors to the area the opportunity to experience world-renowned Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but also some of our country’s best Sauvignon blanc and Shiraz, as well as innovative blends.
The R320 Wine Route unites the passion and reputation of many wineries, each producing small volumes of uncompromising premium quality wines. With vineyards deriving maximum benefit from the high elevation and cool sea breezes, this region has become well known for its unique terroir and maritime climate, which continues to result in countless local and international accolades and awards for its wines.
Carefully and sustainable managed vineyards, the unspoiled natural beauty of the mountains, ocean and blue skies of Walker Bay, guarantee visitors an unforgettable and memorable experience. You will be warmly welcomed at the tasting venues on the various wine estates along this route, with each of them offering one or more of the following – wine tastings, platters, meals, nature walks and cellar tours.
The wine route is reached by way of the Sandbaai traffic lights, where the R43 to Hermanus and the R320 to Caledon intersect. Turning towards Caledon, you can look forward to a smooth ride – the gravel road is a thing of the past and the whole route has now been tarred.
At the entrance to the wine route is The Village, where you will find the first two wineries, as well as the Wine Village. This iconic wine shop is owned by Paul and Cathy du Toit, who have built up one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of South African wine over the past 19 years. Together with their friendly and knowledgeable staff, the Du Toits will assist you in finding the right wines to suit your taste and pocket. They also offer daily tastings and can deliver to your door worldwide. The Wine Village is open 7 days a week, Monday to Friday from 09:00 – 18:00, Saturday from 09:00 – 17:00 and Sunday from 10:00 – 15:00. Call 028 316 3988 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Whalehaven was named after the protective bay that shelters breeding Southern Right whales in the cool Cape winter months. Their wines are made with grapes from the Bottega family farm, Da Capa Vineyards in Somerset West, and vineyards in Hemelen-Aarde. At their Wine Experience centre in The Village they offer interesting pairings – try the artisan chocolate pairing or the jam pairing for something different. This season, Whalehaven is also offering an exclusive tasting experience by pairing three vintages of their Conservation Coast Chardonnay and Conservation Coast Pinot with three canapés each. Booking is required on 028 316 1633. They are open for tasting and sales, Monday to Friday from 09:00 – 17:00; Saturday & Sunday from 10:00 – 16:00. Closed on Christmas Day, but open on 1 January.
Hermanuspietersfontein, also at The Village a little further down the road, is best known for its remarkable Sauvignon blancs, Bordeaux and Rhone-style blends, and its iconic Afrikaans wine names. The cellar’s Wine & Food Market every Saturday morning from 09:00 – 14:00 comfortably seats up to 400 guests and is a popular meeting place among the locals. During the holiday season they also host an evening market on Wednesdays from 17:00 – 21:00, and daily cellar tours starting at 11:00 and 15:00, followed by a tasting, until the end of December. To book, contact 028 316 1875 or email@example.com. Hermanuspietersfontein is open for tasting and sales Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00 and Saturday from 09:00 – 16:00.
Southern Right produces a popular Sauvignon blanc and Pinotage with labels depicting the Southern Right whale. A portion of the proceeds of the sales of these wines goes to the conservation of their namesake. The cellar is open to the public Monday to Friday, from 09:00 – 17:00 and Saturday from 09:00 – 13:00. Call 028 312 1318.
Wijnskool is the new home of Bartho Eksteen, situated opposite the entrance to Southern Right. Widely known as ‘Monsieur Sauvignon blanc’, Bartho and his family focus on wine training and education, wine production, tastings and sales. Wijnskool’s signature range includes wooded and unwooded Sauvignon blanc, different styles of Methode Cap Classique and a ShirazMourvèdre-GrenacheViognier blend. They also prepare picnic baskets to be enjoyed on their farm with the characteristic Eksteen hospitality. Make a booking on 028 312 4612.
Hamilton Russell Vineyards receives credit for planting the first vines in the Hemel-enAarde Valley in 1975. The famed estate specialises in producing two acclaimed wines – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Their elegant and highly individual wines are worldrenowned and can be tasted on the stoep of their charming tasting room overlooking a dam. Open for wine tasting and sales, Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00 and Saturday 10:00 – 14:00. Taste five wines at R50 pp. Call 028 312 1791.
Bouchard Finlayson’s flagship wine is the Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, for which celebrated winemaker Peter Finlayson has won many awards. Repeated vintages of this path-blazing wine continue to reflect a true celebration of Pinot-crafting. Other varieties include Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, a popular white blend and hearty reds. Charcuterie and cheese platters are available for a nibble between tastings or after a hike on the fynbos trails. There are three route options and energetic holiday hikers can choose between a guided or self-guided walk, but be sure to pre-book. The tasting room is open Monday to Friday 09:30 – 17:00 and Saturday from 10:00 – 13:00. Call 028 312 3515.
La Vierge specialises in producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from their grapes that are grown in Hemel-enAarde Ridge. Their range also includes Bordeaux and Rhônestyle blends, Shiraz, Sauvignon blanc and Riesling. The Restaurant and Champagne Veranda offers breath-taking views – ideal for a romantic sundowner and a game of boule. They are open daily for wine tasting from 10:00 – 17:00 (a selection of six wines at R30 pp), and the restaurant is open for lunch 7 days a week from 11:00 – 16:00, and for dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings. Call 028 312 2007 to make your booking.
Sumaridge Estate Wines, owned by the BellinghamTurner family, offers views of the Atlantic Ocean responsible for the cool maritime climate, which helps them to create wonderfully balanced wines that age beautifully. Production includes Sauvignon blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinotage, Syrah and Wayfarer Cap Classique. The tasting room enjoys a picturesque setting overlooking a dam and is open for wine tasting and sales 7 days a week, from 11:00 – 17:00. Platters are available daily between 12:00 and 15:00, including a Tiny Taster’s Platter for kids, and can be enjoyed under the shady trees on the sprawling lawn. Vineyard and cellar tours by prior arrangement. Self-catering accommodation available at The Lodge. Sumaridge hosts regular art exhibitions and will be the venue for a concert on 28 December, featuring popular musician Jesse Clegg. Call 028 312 1097 to book.
At Newton Johnson Vineyards, brothers Bevan and Gordon have taken the family cellar to new heights in exploring the nuances of their vineyards. The tasting room above the cellar is situated on the mountain slope with spectacular views of the valley and ocean beyond. Be sure to taste their Pinot Noir, which has been awarded 5 Platter stars for eight years in a row, and other award-winning wines crafted by husband-and-wife winemaking team, Gordon and Nadia Newton Johnson. Open for wine tasting and sales Monday to Friday, 09:00 – 16:00 and Saturday from 10:00 – 14:00. The Restaurant at Newton Johnson is open for delicious platters and light lunches from Wednesday to Sunday, 12:00 – 14:30. They will be open on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Call 028 312 3862 or 021 200 2148 to book.
Restless River has some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay vineyards in Hemel-en-Aarde. Owners Craig and Anne Wessels hand craft siteexpressive wines from vineyards farmed as naturally as possible to develop depth and complexity. Their highly acclaimed wines have their own distinctive personality and character, shaped each year by the conditions of that particular vintage. For a private tasting on the farm, contact 028 312 2881 or 082 650 3544.
Spookfontein enjoys a beautiful setting with some of the best views in the area. The attractive restaurant adjacent to the winery recently opened under the new ownership of Vaughan van Blerk and Francois Barnard of Harbour Rock. The cellar is run by winemaker Hannes Storm, who has gone solo after 12 vintages with Hamilton Russell wines. Hannes uses the facilities to produce his highly acclaimed Storm Wines (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), as well as the Spookfontein range that includes Sauvignon blanc, Rosé, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and a red blend. The Spookfontein Restaurant is open for lunch and wine tasting Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 – 17:00. They will be closed on 25 December, but open on the 26th, and open on 1 January but closed on the 2nd. Call 073 067 7936 to make a booking. Hannes can be contacted on 082 325 4517 for a private tasting of Storm Wines by appointment in the intimate barrel cellar.
Further up the R320 is the final stretch of the Hermanus Wine Route – the Hemel-enAarde Ridge. This is home to Ataraxia, Creation and Domaine des Dieux.
Ataraxia is a boutique wine estate producing a range of hand-crafted wines that include Sauvignon blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a red blend. Their Wine Lounge® is situated in a small chapel at the foot of the majestic Babylonstoring and affords spectacular views. It houses a permanent art exhibition and has an old bell at the entrance which visitors ring to announce their arrival. During the holiday season guests can book a platter of local produce to enjoy with their tasting. Open Monday to Friday from 09:00 – 16:00, and Saturday from 10:00 – 17:00. Call 028 212 2007.
Creation offers informative vineyard and cellar tours, relaxed wine tasting and innovative food and wine pairings. The dynamic owners, Jean-Claude and Carolyn Martin, are producing an impressive portfolio of wines that include Sauvignon blanc, Viognier, Semillon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah Grenache. Creation has won multiple awards including the KLINK Yin and Yang Award for Best Food and Wine Pairing at the Cellar Door and the Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Award for Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences. The tasting room is open 7 days a week, and between 16 December and 6 January they will stay open until 19:00, adding a special sunset Tapas menu to their extensive offering. On 24 & 31 December they will close at 16:00. Closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Booking is recommended. Call 028 212 1107.
The last wine farm on the Ridge, right next to Creation, is Domaine des Dieux. They produce a small range of award-winning wines that are vinified with the same fundamentals as the great European wines and cellar aged in order to reach their full potential. Their range consists of two signature Cap Classiques as well as Sauvignon blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah Mourvèdre. Over the holiday period their charming little tasting room set among the vineyards is open 7 days a week from 11:00 – 17:00, for wine tasting and sales. Platters can be ordered to enjoy with your tasting. Closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Call 028 313 2126.