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Stellenbosch Top 20 Wineries for YOU and your Tots

Stellenbosch Top 20 Wineries for YOU and your Tots
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Want to know what the best FAMILY-FRIENDLY Cape Wineland destinations are? Join @WineTots as we reveal our 20 best Stellenbosch Wineries for you to enjoy with your kids.

Twenty of our top family-friendly wineries on the Stellenbosch wine route for YOU and your kids (or ‘tots’)! The selection, which excludes the Helderberg Somerset West region, is based on our overall enjoyment and rating, as a family, taking into account beautiful surroundings, great wine, delicious food, excellent service, child-friendly destinations with varied fun things to do for the kids (and folks), art & sculptures, and nature & game viewing.

In no particular order, here are WineTots’ Top 20 Stellenbosch Wineries for 2018:

#1 Tokara

The Tokara “Deli Cat” or Delicatessen in the Simonsberg region, can be found on the road towards Franschhoek from Stellenbosch at the top of the Helshoogte Pass. The Tokara Deli Cat is definitely one of the best child-friendly venues in Stellenbosch and is open for Breakfast and lunch. The actual wine-tasting lounge and the formal Tokara Restaurant (which you pass on your way to the Deli Cat) do not particularly cater to the needs of children, but you could pop in for a quick tasting of their exceptional wine on your way to the Deli Cat. Once you arrive at the Deli, you will be able to sit back and enjoy some simple but great quality food and sip fine wine, while blissfully wallowing in relaxed views of vines & olive trees and jungle gyms – this spot was planned for the kids, and they effortlessly entertain themselves.

It is certainly one of our favourite family-friendly spots – incredible views, architecture, sculptures, food, wine and kiddie play area! Was voted by our son, at the age of 3, as his top spot to go to! It also has a tray of toys for the kids to play with next to the lovely big fireplace – great for those rainy days when the kids may not brave the jungle gym and wonderful human-sized bird nest outside.

#2 Warwick

Warwick Wine Estate is certainly a favourite for families with kids and serves one of the best picnics in the Winelands. Wonderful, relaxed setting alongside a dam with boules, jungle gyms and different private pods (named after their award-wining wines like Professor Black & The Blue Lady) for groups to book. Great spot for kids’ parties too, with tasty picnic boxes for the little ones. The kids love to play in the fountains and water features on a Summer’s day. You can join them on a Big 5 Vineyard Safari, where they will compare the ‘Big 5’ animals with their ‘Big 5’ grape varietals. Suitable for all ages.

#3 Dornier

Dornier Wines is one of our family-favourite local wine farms. This is a fabulous farm to relax at for an extended and delicious lunch on the terrace at Bodega Restaurant with the magnificent Stellenbosch Mountain in full view, while the kids play on the large pirate-ship jungle gym. They also have a great tapas menu from 15h00 to 18h30 in Summer, which comes with a bottle of wine from their Cocoa Hill range. Perfect for enjoying the beautiful pink glow over the mountain while the sun goes down.

#4 Eikendal

Eikendal is a relaxed, delightful family-friendly farm with consistently superb wine, in the Helderberg region of Stellenbosch. Perfect for a sunny afternoon or summery evening to sit outside near the dam while the many local kids run around, climb the jungle gym and munch some fine pizza and pasta. The estate currently has the Cucina di Giovanni restaurant onsite, serving delicious Italian food. (Open for lunch, serving till 3:30pm, Tuesday-Sunday and dinner from 6-9pm Tuesday-Saturday.) They also have a great kiddie milk & cookie pairing, which involves the kids decorating their own cookies. For the further adventurous, there is a fun tractor ride (mostly for the kids!)

#5 Mont Marie

Truly a ‘Top Spot for Tots’! Just around the corner from Dornier in the Stellenbosch Mountain region, is the newer and also very child-friendly Mont Marie. This is especially good young kids (2–8 year olds), with lots of aesthetic, wooden jungle gyms and tables in an enclosed area. The restaurant serves fabulous food all day, overlooking their dam and the mountains. For a more formal setting, you can sit inside and join for dinner. A perfect venue for a tot’s birthday or a kitchen tea in the Cape Winelands!

#6 Mulderbosch

Mulderbosch Vineyards offers a superb venue for both adults and kids. Adults get to ‘chill’ on comfy couches, sipping wine and enjoying a game of boules, while the kids play on the jungle gym, grab some pizza and have a try at their version of boules too. Fantastic wines, platters and pizza & wine pairings on offer as well. Open Tuesday – Sunday from 10h00 to 18h00 for tastings, and lunch is served between 12h00 and 16h00.

#7 Jordan

Jordan Wine Estate is a fantastic wine farm overall – superb wine, food, service and location. The Jordan Bakery is probably more suitable for kids, while the food at Jordan Restaurant is one of the best in the Winelands. It is well positioned at a large dam with a most wonderful view looking back at the Stellenbosch, Simonsberg and Helderberg Mountains in the distance.

They also do lazy picnics on the large lawn, allowing the kids to run free in your view. A tour of the vineyards in their open safari-style game-viewing truck, with stops to experience the spectacular views of False and Table Bay as well as the flora, fauna and geology of the Cape Winelands, is also a must! They have recently added beautiful luxury suites in which you can stay on the property. Open daily for tastings and lunch.

#8 Stark Conde

Stark-Condé Wines has undoubtedly one of the most phenomenal settings in the Cape Winelands, with postcard views towards the Jonkershoek Valley. The perfect place to take tourists too.

The tasting of their excellent wines is currently done in the cellar, while they are renovating and expanding their spectacular tasting venue on the lake overlooking the Jonkershoek Valley. This can be preceded by breakfast or followed by a delicious lunch at the PostCard café – our kids last enjoyed lasagne and some delectable Cape Velvet cake.

#9 Peter Falke

Peter Falke is the perfect place to relax all afternoon long on the lawn and enjoy some fine wine – like their Pinot Noir or Ruby Blend (or for the more serious indulgers, the Syrah or Exclusive Blend) – with friends in a beautiful setting to take you into the early evening. They now also serve fantastic cheese and meat platters, nachos and one of the best ice-creams for kids at a wine farm!

We discovered this Cape Wineland gem in the Stellenbosch Berg region long before most people – being the first place to be open until 7pm that is not attached to a hotel. It used to be quiet, but now bookings are advised at busy times if you would like to secure a spot with bean bags on the lawn.

#10 Spier

Spier Wine Estate, hotel and conference centre in Stellenbosch valley offers a variety of fun-filled options for both adults and children. You can visit the Eagle Encounters with the kids and then picnic on the lawns overlooking the Eerste River (after preordering or buying your goodies from their Farm Kitchen). The gardens have numerous enormous granite rocks, which the kids love to climb on, as well as a large jungle gym and a big swing in front of their Restaurant called Eight.

Their wine tasting centre is open late and even has a little kiddie table with a super, educational activity book to keep the kids occupied! There is also a new restaurant (since November 2018) called the Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery, which serves lovely free-range slow-cooked meats and further produce from their eco-friendly farm. Our kids enjoyed the mini-fountain outside!

Also check out their Spier Light Fest on until the end of January 2019!

#11 Vergenoegd

Vergenoegd Löw Wine Estate is famous for their Runner Duck Parades! The perfect family-friendly destination if you are coming out of Cape Town or from the Airport towards Stellenbosch. Come with your kids and watch the flock of more than 1200 Indian Runner Ducks parade across the farmhouse back to their yard, after they have finished their shift doing natural pest and snail control in the vineyards. The kids can then get to feed the ducks too – your tots will really love this.

Follow this with a picnic or bite to eat from their relaxed Cellar Kitchen, or do a wine tasting. Join them on a Saturday for their market, or on a Sunday for MyRun, a 2.5 or 5km run or walk with a pram, dog on a leash or with your kiddies and their bikes. Also look out for their Live Summer concert lineup on a Sunday afternoon. Weddings and kids’ parties can also be arranged.

#12 Blaauwklippen

Blaauwklippen has a long history dating to 1682 and is home to some of the first vineyards planted in South Africa, dating back to 1688. It is also one of the first members of the Stellenbosch Wine Route, which was founded in 1971. The Stellenbosch Wine Region is now home to over 150 wine farms.

A visit to Blaauwklippen presents many alluring possibilities. From enjoying their standard wine tasting, to their chocolate or macaron pairing, to gin tasting and sharing a platter at the Bistro! Blaauwklippen is a fantastic farm for families and kids – they can run free and play outside on the jungle gym and interact with the farm animals, including the goats and alpacas, while you, the folks, can relax at the bistro or under the shade of the trees.

The delightful Blaauwklippen family market is also on every Sunday from 10h00 to 15h00, with lots on offer for the kiddies and you, including pony rides.

Watch the space for new exciting things taking place in 2019 at Blaauwklippen!

#13 Middelvlei

Middelvlei is a lovely rural, child-friendly and relaxed family-owned wine farm. It is a great wine farm for a treat tasting of wine that was authentically made using traditional open fermentation. Blending experiences can also be arranged – we loved our experience a few years back with the Heartfelt Project!

Their wines include the fantastic free-run Pinotage, which can be paired with a genuine South African boerebraai. The kids can play jenga, run free on the lawns, play in the sandpit and feed the farm animals.

#14 Guardian Peak

Guardian Peak Winery is another one of our all-time best-overall Cape wineries (and was our son’s last in-utero wine farm over 7 years back!) In a beautiful position facing the picturesque Helderberg and Stellenbosch mountains, serving awesome wine (quite a collection) and excellent food (with various steak options, including local venison for meat lovers, like Springbok or Gemsbok). They have a small jungle gym outside for the children and a few tables there as well.

When dining, you have the opportunity to enjoy top-class wine at cellar prices at your table (no markup at all). [Most wine farms serve their own wine at the restaurants with less of a markup than would normally be the case at a general restaurant, but some are more generous than others – be sure to check the menu.]

#15 Hidden Valley

Hidden Valley is an impressive modern winery with exquisite views over to Table Mountain and Cape Town in a stunning setting perched on the Helderberg mountain. Overture restaurant serves fine dining paired with first-class wine, with beautiful plating, where one can enjoy the fantastic views at sunset across to the Mother City. A wonderful chocolate and wine pairing can be enjoyed out on the terrace. A relatively new addition, ‘The Deck’, is a casual eatery overlooking the beautiful lake, which serves burgers and fish & chips – and of course some fine Hidden Valley wine to go with it. Picnics can also be arranged for a more romantic or relaxed afternoon with the kids in their indigenous gardens. It is highly recommended to take a stroll around the lake with the kids, while enjoying the enchanting fynbos garden, local birds and butterflies.

#16 Vredenheim

Vredenheim is one of the oldest farms on the Stellenbosch wine route. Its owners are originally from Kwazulu-Natal in Dundee where they were game farmers – that’s where their love of wine and animals comes from.

If you have limited time to visit the Game reserves and parks while visiting Cape Town and South Africa, you could simply visit the Big Cat Park at Vredenheim where they currently have five lions, two tigers, a leopard and a caracal to see. Just be sure not to confuse the tiger’s cage and play gym for a kids’ jungle gym! They also have an Animal farm, which is perfect for young children – where they can play and get a chance to feed the animals and run around.

They have two restaurants, Barrique and Hudson’s. Barrique is more traditional serving hearty food like oxtail and great kiddie pizzas. Hudson’s is more suitable for families, serving great kiddie burgers and has a lovely lawn and play area for the kids with fantastic views beyond. Both of the restaurants host weddings and birthday celebrations too.

While the adults taste any five of their wines, kids can enjoy a yummy kiddies’ pairing, which consists of toffee, candies and chocolate with which the kids make different shapes. These are then paired with 100% pure Vredenheim grape juice.

Vredenheim also have the new Craft Gin bar and Classic Cars, perfect for the end of a long day with friends. They may have possibly more South African gin varietals on offer than any other bar in the World – well over 100! (A friendly competition with nearby Asara Wine Estate, which recently reported having to have around 140 South African gins from around 60 SA distilleries (after looking far and wide for more gins for their recent Gin Festival held on 8 December 2018).

#17 Haskell

A charming, peaceful setting awaits you at Haskell Vineyards, nestled in the golden triangle of Stellenbosch, known for its top-quality Cabernet and Shiraz vines. Longtable restaurant has beautiful views over the valley and serves delightful food plates perfect for sharing. Pair your lunch or dinner on Summer evenings with outstanding wines from the Dombeya and Haskell ranges. There is a small jungle gym on the side of the restaurant – better for the slightly older kids.

#18 Longridge

Enjoy a magnificent wine tasting at one of our all-time favourite local wine farms, Longridge. A really fantastic spot for enjoying a chilled afternoon and a magical evening dining outside on their terrace as the sun sets over Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance.

They have the most splendid organic herb garden in front of the tasting room, which kids can run through and discover the sights and smells of a host of edible plants. This garden provides for the restaurant, as do their very own free-roaming farm animals. Make a point to check out Longridge’s winter specials at therestaurant, which creates and serves consistently excellent food!

Longridge’s wine is also sublime and now all organic and naturally fermented. Why not start with their MCC or lightly-wooded Chardonnay, followed by pairing one of their heavier reds, like the Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, with your meal! The kids also really enjoy their bottle of Konkelberg homemade grape-juice bubbly!

#19 Brenaissance

Relax under the shade at Brenaissance while enjoying delicious thin-based pizzas, salads, a wine tasting and milkshakes served in a divine, casual setting overlooking the stream and vines. The large black & white jungle gym is great for slightly older kids, while little tots will need to be monitored carefully. This also holds true for the little stream that runs through Brenaissance.

#20 Villiera

A visit to Villiera is truly something different.

Following a joint venture with a Champagne specialist in the ‘80s, Villiera produces a variety of some of the finest Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) wines in the country. (MCC being South Africa’s equivalent of Champagne i.e. being produced with the same method as Champagne.) MCC’s include Villiera non-vintage Tradition Brut and Tradition Rosé Brut, Starlight, the vintage Prestige Cuvee Villiera Monro Brut, and the additive-free Villiera Brut Natural.

One of our favourite days out in the Winelands is going on a game drive with our friends and kids through the Villiera Wildlife Sanctuary. The first time we experienced this our youngest was only 10-months old! The two-hour game drive takes you through the 220ha wildlife sanctuary, where you can expect to see a large variety of birds and a number of mammals, such as Giraffe, Eland, Gemsbok & Zebra, that have been reintroduced. The land is slowly being restored to its natural state and well over 100 000 indigenous trees have been planted already!

A tour currently costs:

Adults: R240pp, which includes a tasting of Villiera’s wines;

Children under 15 years: R120pp.

*Please note that early booking is advised at most restaurants in the Cape Winelands over the Summer season. If you cannot secure a booking, you could try around 2:30 pm and see if a table has become available. (Most serve till 3pm, a few a bit later until 4pm.) It is fortunately not necessary to book for most wine tastings (except for some food, cupcake or chocolate & wine pairings) – generally the wine farms are readily open to the public. We advise that you further check menus online and the latest opening times as a few spots are closed on public holidays, Sundays, Mondays and/or Tuesdays.

There are so many more incredible wineries for you as a family to visit, just on the Stellenbosch Wine Route alone.

Watch this space for information on new developments to bear in mind in 2019, like at Simonsig Wine Estate with their new Movie nights with food and popcorn for the kids upstairs, while you, the folks get to relax downstairs at Cuvee Restaurant for a ‘date night’ not needing to worry about your little ones!

It is always best when taking the kids along is to pack a little activity bag for them, with some books, art, toys and a ball; his way you can be sure they will be further entertained.

We hope that you enjoy our recommendations and your winery adventures in the beautiful Stellenbosch valley!

‘If you enjoyed this make sure to take a look at the Winetots Blog or follow them on Instagram @winetots

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