The Barrel Art collection at South Hill wine estate. Pic: Sarene Kloren
We set off from Cape Town on a chilly Friday afternoon to explore the Elgin Valley and what it has to offer.

Almenkerk Wine Estate

Our first stop was at the small, family-owned wine estate of Almenkerk. Natalie and Joris van Almenkerk are from the Netherlands and Belgium, and together with patriarch Joop van Almenkerk, in just over 10 years they have already created a number of top quality, award-winning wines. 

Their first vines were planted in 2004 and their first vintage was 2009. This 15ha boutique winery is a must to visit. 

The brief to the architect who designed the tasting room was to make it feel like a living room - and this is exactly how visitors feel when they arrive. 
The entrance area is a cosy lounge with couches and a fireplace, which leads into the dining/tasting area and kitchen.

Almenkerk is a family owned award-winning boutique winery in Elgin.
Almenkerk is a family owned award-winning boutique winery in Elgin. Pic: Sarene Kloren.

We were welcomed by Natalie, who immediately made us feel at home. They have created a cosy and welcoming family-friendly atmosphere.  There is ample room for kids to run around and there is a great kiddies play area for the children to enjoy.

It is a refreshing change from the larger, more commercial wine estate where visitors seldom have the opportunity to meet the winemaker and the people whose vision is to create elegant, award-winning wines.

The tasting area at Almenkerk is designed for visitors to feel at home.
The tasting area at Almenkerk is designed for visitors to feel at home. Pic: Sarene Kloren
The estate is a 5-minute drive off the N2 along the Vijoenshoop rd - and is definitely worth a visit.
For more details look at the Almenkerk website.

WATCH: the Almenkerk tour

South Hill Wine Estate

Award-winning wine estate, South Hill, is owned by Kevin King, whose passion for both art and wine is evident as soon as guests enter the estate. 

The restaurant and tasting area double up as an art gallery - displaying stunning pieces that are changed every month. His passion for art and wine led him to conceptualize the Barrel Art Collection with a selection of local artists creating their own theme and individual style on a wine barrel. The result is a stunning testatment to the imagination of the artists.

The menus consist of fresh, wholesome farm-style food of country platters and tapas plus a daily specials board.

We tried the cheese and charcuterie platters, both of which were generous portions of fresh locally produced tapas style foods all sourced from the region.

The Charcuterie plate at South Hill offers meat from local farms.
The Charcuterie plate at South Hill offers meat from local farms. Pic: Sarene Kloren

There is a kids menu and dessert options include Elgin apple and blueberry crumble, Eton Mess and Vanilla Pannacotta - the perfect way to end a delicious, wholesome meal.

The Cheese platter at South Hill is a selection of local cheeses. Pic: Sarene Kloren

The estate offers breakfast, lunch and wine tastings 7 days a week.

The estate also has a stunning self-catering guesthouse with 6 en-suite bedrooms, and separate loft and cellar apartments.

For more information take a look at the South Hill website.