Paarl – The Pearl of the Cape Winelands – Published by Janine Chapman (Gatro Traveller)


The Cape Winelands is amongst some of the most scenic in the world. It’s difficult to know where to start as you are spoilt for choice. Officially there are 18 wine routes and 2 brandy routes to choose from throughout the Winelands region. Each of the wine routes has its own personality and has a host of options to explore.

The Cape Winelands is a year round destination. In spring the new growth emerges a vibrant limey green in colour, in summer the vines are a verdant green. Autumn  turns the leaves to reds and gold, a  photographers dream, whilst in winter the vines provide a stark contrast to the landscape. Harvest normally takes place January to March depending on the type of grapes being harvested.

Most of the wine estates are open Mon – Sat, but some may be closed on weekends so check in advance.


The Paarl Wine Route is known for is legendary red wine. There have been many prestigious international awards given to wines produced in this region. It lies to the north of Stellenbosch, and stretches to the town of Wellington and the mountains of the Groot and Klein Drakenstein and the Franschhoek ranges to the south east.


Our day in the Paarl Winelands started with a visit to the KWV Wine Emporium. They offer a huge range of tours and tastings. A daily tour is on offer of the Cathedral  Wine Cellar or you can also do a tour of their brandy cellars. If you are wine fundi then there is even an “expert tour” available.

A tour of the cellars was not on my agenda on the day of our visit. I was far more interested in their unique take on pairing wine and food. How could I resist a TASTE OF FIZZ?  When it comes to bubbles you don’t need to twist my arm to partake! For R 60 (USD 4.50) we were treated to no less 4 bubblies and 4 specially developed nougats to compliment the bubbles. All were totally delicious. I could not decide what I enjoyed the most.

We ended up buying the all the bubblies we had tasted and a selection of nougat to take home so we could try and find a favourite. The tasting we had at home a month later, with friends, was just as enjoyable as the one we had done at the Emporium. The KWV Wine Emporium offers 5 other interesting tasting so I am sure that you will find one you like. I’m already thinking about what I might try on my next visit….. maybe the TASTE OF EXCELLENCE?




My husband loves a good beer and we were told about a craft brewing company in the area. Stopping there was really a no brainer! While they don’t do guided tours you are free to wander about the facility and ask whatever questions you would like answered about their beers and the process used in manufacturing them. The tasting on offer is good value for money at a cost of R 30 (USD 2.25) for 3 beers and R 40 (USD3.00) for 6 beers all in sample size portions. Even though I am not a beer drinker I did enjoy the tasting. The staff was enthusiastic and informed and there was a vibey atmosphere around the tasting counter. I discovered the citrusy taste of the Craft Krystal Weiss was very much to my liking. Naturally a case or two found their way home.




By now my rumbling stomach was telling me that it was time for lunch. Fortunately Fairview Estate was less than a 5 minute drive away. I love visiting Fairview. Not only do they produce an amazing array of wines they embody ideals that are close to my heart. Their focus on sustainability is demonstrated in their artisanal cheeses, olive oil and their exceptional wines.

They have a fab-u-lous deli showcasing the cheeses they produce as well as a bakery. Could you think of anything nicer? Fresh bread, cheese and wine spell perfection as far as I am concerned.

Dining al fresco in the Goatshed overlooking the goat tower and the vineyards is a must! They serve country style food always freshly made and always delicious.  We normally share a cheese and meat platter as a starter. You can choose from a large selection of their cheeses which are served as generous tasting potions. The daily specials are also usually scrumptious and I rarely look at the menu and normally just opt to have the seasonal special. So far I have not been disappointed.

After lunch a wander through the deli is essential. It’s hard to choose from all the produce available, but if you’re anything like me you’re bound to find something you like.

If you still have the stamina after a chilled lunch then don’t forget you can do a wine tasting in the cellar as well. If you have skipped lunch then you can try the cheese and wine paired tasting which includes 6 wines and cheese for R 40 (USD 3.00).

Fairview also produce a wonderful olive oil. You can also create your own personal blend of olive oils once you have done a tasting and found your favourites. This is a perfect and totally unique gift for any of your foodie friends.


And so our day of indulgence came to an end. We left the vineyards and headed for the city, happy, relaxed and laden with goodies we had purchased already planning our next visit.