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Pack a cork screw, some vino glasses and dust off your grandfather’s driving gloves. We’re going on a grand tour of the best in the west wines.

With superb wines produced up and down the West Coast, you’ll be able to combine tastings with explorations of the region’s many other attractions. And due to the area’s climatic and geographic diversity, you’ll get to know a remarkable variety of wines. Hilly slopes inland enjoy mild nights and hot, clear sunlight, a marriage that makes for the finest merlots and cabernet sauvignons. Then again, coastal fogs and breezes are perfect for chardonnay and pinot noir.

If all you want is lunch in a winery setting, that’s easy: wherever you are, chances are there’ll be a winery not far away. But should you want to make wine a more serious part of your trip, remember the West Coast is vast, so exploring one wine region per trip rather than the whole region makes sense.

Darling

The flower pot that’s Darling not only has good restaurants, but also excellent wines. Definitely an experience you need to tick off your list. First up is Groote Post Winery (ph 022 4922825) off the R27. Open from 10h00 – 16h00 daily, you can sample Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Merlot and their down-to-earth The Old Man’s Blend in white and red. Hilda’s Kitchen is open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday.

At Cloof Wines (ph 022 4922839) on the Mamre Rd off the R315, vineyards cover nearly 400 hectares. These wines have superb fruit ripeness similar to top Australian reds merged with a European balance and elegance. The portfolio consists of entry level to premium categories and contemporary to traditional styles. Their signature range includes The Very Sexy Shiraz 2017, Inkspot and The Dark Side. The cellar is open from Monday to Saturday 10h00 – 16h00 and the ribs n chips at Cloof Kitchen are a hit.

Malmesbury

Established in 1948, Swartland Winery, (ph 022 4821134) on Trunk Rd off the R45, boasts a number of major awards. The extensive range includes Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinotage, Carignan, Mourvèdre, Roussanne, Viognier, Granite Rock White, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Bouquett and Blanc de Noir. Cellar hours are Monday to Friday 09h00 – 16h00 and until 14h00 on Saturdays. If peckish, no worries: generous platters are served in the cellar.

Riebeek Kasteel

Breathtaking views and personalised service heighten the tasting experience at Pulpit Rock’s stylish wine centre on the De Gift farm, 1.5 km outside Riebeek West on the left. Visitors also can join informal tours in the pressing and maturing cellars. Wines on offer are Pinotage, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Mourvèdre, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc. Hours are Mondays to Fridays 09h00 – 17h00 and Saturdays until 14h00. To fill hungry tums, the on-site Wine & Snack Bar will do the trick.

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(Photo: Michael Oliver) 

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    2 – 30 SA’s largest chef school holds masterclasses for amateur home cooks who want to expand their repertoire, CAPSICUM MASTERCLASSES FOR CAPE FOODIES. A ticket includes ingredients, apron and goody bag. 2nd 5-7pm: Sustainable Seafood with Isabella Niehaus; 3rd 6-8pm: Top to Tail Cooking with Shannon Smuts; 30th 6-8pm: A Salty Sweet Dessert with Bas & Suga – Capsicum Culinary Studio, 263 Victoria Rd, 6th Floor, Rex Trueform Office Park, Salt River, ph 021 4420600. Cost R750

    5 – 6 Italian extravaganza at FESTA ITALIANA: food, wine, cars, fashion, music, arts & crafts with tastings & cooking demos – 10am, Italian Club, Donegal St, Milnerton, ph 021 5115757. Cost R55-R80

    10 – 12 Hundred+ gins from around the globe at THE GREAT SOUTH AFRICAN GIN FESTIVAL with live cocktail demos – Fri 7pm, Sat 1pm, Sun 6pm, Castle of Good Hope. Cost R209 – R231

    11 NEW YORK RUNWAY features show-stopping ready-to-wear and haute couture collections, plus food, cocktail and beauty bars – 7pm, Cape Town Marriot Hotel Crystal Towers, cnr Century Boulevard & Rialto Rd, Century City, ph 021 4420847. Cost R495-R2 000

    11 – 13 An all-inclusive weekend getaway of painting and pottery exploring different techniques and ideas at THE KLEIN KAROO ART RETREAT – 10am, FarmHouse, Buffelsdrift, ph 079 9235774. Cost R4 900

    12 – 13 The GROOT PLAASPROE promises an enjoyable farm experience with food, 300+ farm animals, braai and dance competitions – 10am, Sandringham Farm, ph 021 9754440. Cost R120

    18 – 20 Boats, yachts and luxury lifestyles at CAPE TOWN INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW – 10am, V&A, ph 010 599 6171.

    20 You can’t get better than the FOREVER SUMMER CONCERT SERIES ON THE MIRAGE, a 6-hour cruise around the Atlantic seaboard with light snacks, unlimited MCC, water activities and electronic band GoodLuck – 12pm, The Mirage Luxury Yacht, Pierhead, V&A, ph 071 4281126. Cost R1 200-R1 400

    25 – 27 The 4TH ANNUAL ART FRANSCHOEK promises fine food, wine, artworks and exhibitions – 10am, Franschoek Wine Valley, ph 021 8762861. Cost is free

    31 BLANKO’S LAST THURSDAY is an epicurean event of 3-course meals paired with wines – 6.30pm, Blanko Restaurant, Alphen Boutique Hotel, Constantia, ph 021 7956313. Cost R395

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