KwaZulu-Natal may be famous for its culture, blue flag status beaches and delicious cuisine, but the province is also home to a number of wine estates.
If you a wine lover and want to plan a trip, here are a few ideas:
Abingdon Wine Estate
Where: Located in the KZN Midlands, Abingdon was the first farm to produce a certified estate wine from KZN grapes with their maiden vintage in 2007. The three-hectare farm bought in by Ian and Jane Smorthwaite in 2000 produces certified single vineyard Estate wines from 100% KZN grapes.
Why visit? Abingdon is a family run business that feels like your home away from home. You are bound to meet one of the members of the Smorthwaite family who are ever so passionate to share their wine knowledge with you. Father and daughter duo Ian and Laurie are the winemakers who make certain that every last drop of wine is created flawlessly, while the charming Jane offers visitors the warmest welcome.
Wine offerings? They offer 6 wine options, which include Abingdon Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Chardonnay 2018, Viognier 2017, Blanc de Noir 2018, Syrah 2017 and the Cabernet Sauvignon 2017. Abingdon opens for tastings over the weekends from Friday to Sunday. They also open on Public Holidays for tastings and lunch. Wine tastings take place from 10.30am-4 pm.
Price: There is no fixed rate. Tastings are charged between R15 - R25 a glass.
Food offerings: Abingdon offers a range of delicious foods, including their famous harvest boards in vegetarian, cheese and mixed variants. Also, try their tapas-style menu that features Crispy Tempura Prawns, Pork Belly Bowl with crispy crackling and fresh apple sauce and Chargrilled Rare Beef Fillet. If you have space, their dessert is a must indulgence.
Contact details: Call Jane on 083 463 8503 or email [email protected]
Highgate Wine Estate
Where: Highgate Wine Estate is a family-run estate situated in the heart of the scenic KZN Midlands. It is a place where you can experience a unique KZN certified wine tasting and cellar tour on their beautifully built wine cellar at Piggly Wiggly.
Why visit? This is an outstanding location with stunning views. We had a tour of the cellar, and enjoyed a wine tasting with Thomas who explained the wine making process in great detail. It was a very enjoyable experience.
Wine offerings: Highgate Wine Estate offers wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinotage, Merlot, Syrah, and Rosé.
Price: The wine tasting is R60 per person, and you taste four different wines. The cellar and vineyard tour is R200 per person.
Food offerings: The wine estate has two different food options you can indulge on. One is a food and wine pairing, and the other one is a set menu option. The food and wine pairing menu includes a vegetarian option of sesame seed cambert that can be paired with a glass of chardonnay, a patas bravas that can be paired with a glass of rose, and a spinach and ricotta balls paired with a glass of syrah. This costs R320 per person. For the meaty option you can have calamari paired with a glass of chardonnay, spicy chicken wings paired with a glass of rose, and skinny lamb chops paired with a glass of cabernet sauvignon.
Contact details: 033 234 2002 or email [email protected]
Cathedral Peak Wine Estate
Where: Cathedral Peak Wine Estate is situated deep in the Drakensberg mountains.
Why visit? What makes this wine estate really interesting is that you can have your wine tasting from the veranda overlooking the vineyards. And of course you can also take a tour of the wine-making process with the cellarmaster.
Wine offerings: The wine estate offer wine like the Pinotage, Cellar door, and Merlot.
Price: The wine tasting is R10 per person per tasting.
Food offerings: The venue also serves great cuisine, and it makes sense to come and sit down and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. Some of their delicious offerings are Drakensberg smoked trout salad, homemade bobotie and cheese, and cold meat platters.
Contact: 063 075 1123 or email [email protected]
If you do not feel like driving, here are some places you could spend the night:
Near Abingdon Wine Estate
Granny Mouse Country House: Located at R103 Old Main Road in Balgowan. Call 033 234 4071 or visit www.grannymouse.co.za/
St Ives Lodge & Venue: Located at R103 Midmar Road Lions River in Howick. Call 033 234 4490 or visit www.stives.co.za/
Highgate Wine Estate
Old Halliwell Country Inn: Located at Old Currys Post Road in Howick. Call 033 330 2602 or visit www.halliwell.co.za/
Fern Hill Hotel: Located at 3255 R103 in Howick. Call 033 330 5071 or visit www.fernhillhotel.co.za/
Cathedral Peaks Wine
Cayley Mountain Resort: Located at D184, Cathkin Park. Call 0861 269 846 or visit www.cayleyresort.co.za/
Champagne Sports Resort: Located at Central Drakensberg. Call 036 468 8000 or visit www.champagnesportsresort.com/