Too much wine, too little time

wine intellectual part of a meal

I don’t understand something and no-one has been able to explain it in a way that makes any sense. Many people have agreed with me but I don’t see anyone making an effort to pressure the industry to change this.

Here’s the thing: wine estates in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek close much too early in summer.

There are plenty of other wine regions (where establishments also close early) but I’m mainly concerned with these two because they’re the ones tourists want to see the most and they’re the ones that are all over social media begging us to bring visitors. They hire expensive PR companies, they arrange great events, but for a simple wine tasting with the potential sales that this will encourage, it’s strictly short hours. Most open at 10:00 which makes sense because who wants to taste wine any earlier, but they almost all close at 17:00 and some even earlier.

Many visitors don’t realise how vast the regions are so they only set aside one day for wine tasting. This means that if you remove the time it takes to have lunch, visit the towns themselves – which would be crazy to miss, and get around, you have at most 3 hours for wine tastings and cellar-tours. Yet, by the time most places close there are 3 to 4 hours of daylight left!

Of course there are some estates that stay open later than others but there are too few of them and they’re not always the ones that clients want to visit – many visitors arrive with a bucket list of wines to taste after having researched in advance.

I need a place with magnificent views of the sunset where my clients can have a last tasting before heading back to town. It can’t be on Hellshoogte Pass because that’s too middle-of-the-day – closer to the N2 would work. I might have to build it myself.

Fairview goats blog pic

The most photographed goats in the Cape – at Fairview where the best cheese is made. A cheese and wine pairing is the highlight of a wine tour – but the latest booking is 15:30!


Chocolate and wine tasting at Waterford. Good wines, great setting, but the last full tasting (8 wines) is done at 16:30. Oh well, have a look at the gorgeous old vine in the background.

ken forrester blog pic 2

I love the casual setting for tastings at Ken Forrester – closes at 17:00.

Ken Forester blog pic

Sneaking in another one from Ken Forrester – this tiny house in the middle of the parking lot is too cute for words.

delaire graaf

Couldn’t resist sneaking in a pic of the fabulous view on Helshoogte Pass from Delaire-Graff, where it’s more about opulence than anything else.

About Francoise Armour

I run a small touring company (Tours du Cap) at the bottom of Africa, to show visitors the beauty and vibrant culture of the country I have lived in since my parents brought me here from France as a child. I enjoy taking photos and wish I had learnt to do it properly. I enjoy writing but don't do enough of it. I enjoy walking in the mountains that surround me and I marvel over the views and the flowers and the amazing rock formations. I have a small, cute, clever, black dog of indeterminable breed, named Vida, who reminds me regularly that walking and getting out is not only for when tourists want it.

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A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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