After a week in Stellenbosch and visits to a total of 9 wineries, I have to say, this place knows how to keep things interesting!
One of the first things that struck me about Stellenbosch’s vineyards is the fact that they are very innovative in terms of how they showcase their wines. Over the course of our stay, we visited wineries that offered unique wine and dessert pairings, wineries that combined wine and art, and wineries that allowed us to create our own blends.
You’d think that a week of vineyard hopping would get repetitive, but on the contrary, every day we had something new to look forward to and no two wineries felt the same.
Today I’m continuing with that theme of unusual winery tours by highlighting 3 fun ways to experience Stellenbosch’s vineyards, because it turns out, you can get around via segways, safari-vehicles and sidecars.
Now let’s roll!
Segway ride at Spier Wine Farm
Spier is one of the oldest wine farms in Stellenbosch dating back to 1692, and it’s also a massive vineyard which would be impossible to cover on foot with limited time.
How do visitors tackle the place?
With segways, of course!
I have to admit, I was a little unsure about riding a segway at first. I was quite wobbly during the training session and it took me a while to find my balance, but it didn’t take that long before I was feeling like a pro.
Our tour of the Spier Wine Farm had us ripping down dirt roads, learning about the different grapes the farm grows, and soaking in the beautiful scenery. It was so much fun!
Just to clear things up, there was no wine consumption during the tour – imagine trying to keep your balance on a segway after a few glasses! – however, we did do a wine tasting afterwards, and that was followed by lunch at the Hoghouse, which I would highly recommend.
Hoghouse BBQ & Bakery is located on the Spier Wine Farm, and they specialise in American BBQ (not braai!), craft ales, and baked goods, so you can enjoy a delicious meal after your Segway tour.
Wine Safari at Jordan Wines
What comes to mind when you first hear the words ‘wine safari’? Wine and a game drive, am I right?
Well, not quite!
The name may have fooled me (ahem, I blame that on jet lag!) but it was a really fun experience nevertheless.
This particular tour took place at Jordan Wine Estate, where we hopped aboard a safari-style vehicle and toured the vineyard in style.
Jordan Wine Estate has a vast property that offers panoramic views of Table Mountain and False Bay, so we drove up to a few different lookout points and opened some bottles of wine along the way. The terrain on the property is quite varied with plenty of slopes, so there was quite a bit of hooting and hollering from our rowdy gang. Forget spotting the Big Five and hand over the Sauvignon!
It was about mid-morning by the time we finished the safari and we were all feeling at bit peckish, so we went straight to The Bakery, which is located on the estate and serves more than just baked goods.
We had a lovely spread of cheese, bread, deli meats, fruits, jams, and juices, all with some of the vineyard’s own wines. That’s right, we drank more wine after the wine tour, because when in Stellenbosch!
Sidecar tour of the Winelands
For a different look at Stellenbosch, we took a sidecar tour with Cape Sidecar Adventures. They run tours all over Cape Town, the Cape Peninsula, and the Cape Winelands, but you can also arrange for custom tours to get you from one point to the next, which is what we did.
We rode from Tokara Vineyards, where we had brunch, to Stellenbosch Wineries, where we squeezed in our final wine tasting.
Riding a sidecar may not have been a winery tour per se, but it did get us from one winery to the next, and visitors do have the option of doing a winelands tour and requesting certain stops along the way, so it’s a fun option to add to the list.
We took the scenic route doing a bit of sightseeing around Stellenbosch Town and waving at passers-by along the way. I think my fellow passenger made me quite popular, because did I mention I was riding with a dog?
Yes, Cape Sidecars has a resident dog by the name of Brody, who loves the riding life!
He had a little bandana and goggles, and he was a real champ. We sat together in the sidecar – I rode in the front and he rode in the back – and Brody rested his little head on my shoulder for a good chunk of the ride. It was amazing and I took far too many selfies to remember him by.
Riding sidecars is the best, and when you have a fur friend with you, it’s even better.
So that’s a look at some fun and unusual ways to experience Stellenbosch and a few of its wineries. As someone who has done many traditional vineyard tours in the past, it was so refreshing to discover a different way of doing things. If you’re looking to add a dash of adventure to your next vineyard tour, Stellenbosch is a good place to look!
Which experience do you think you’d most enjoy?
I visited Stellenbosch as part of the #Stellenblog campaign organised by Destinate.