Ever woken up one weekend-morning and felt like going for a wine tasting, but the family is visiting and Grandma or Uncle Sam doesn’t drink wine and so you think all hope is lost? Think again! Lucky for you, these days wine farms and estates offer so much more to do than just the usual stuff like wine tastings and restaurants. Here are a few things you can keep the family (or dry friends) busy with whilst you’re tasting some wines… Chances are, you will probably enjoy them too.
- Cellar Tours
More and more wine farms are opening up their cellar doors to the public to give them an insight as to how their wine is made and what exactly goes into making an outstanding bottle of wine. Each winemaker and winery has their own way of going about their daily task and no two wineries are the same, therefore you will always learn and experience something new on a cellar tour. Make sure to phone the winery beforehand to hear if they do offer cellar tours and make a booking or appointment if needed.…
- Take a Hike
Given the beautiful setting we find most of our wine farms in, a lot of them now have hiking trails that are open to the public. Trails differ in length, but are usually not extremely difficult and even the most inexperienced hikers will find trails that they are comfortable with. In the Western Cape, we are also spoiled for choice as to what kind of scenery we can enjoy on our routes. Choose from the scenic mountainous routes, darker forest trails or simply take a stroll through the vineyards- just check with the tasting room staff which vineyards you are allowed to move through.
- Ride a Bike
If walking is not for you, mountain bike (MTB) trails on wine farms have also risen in popularity. Beautiful trails wind past lusciously green vineyards and through natural veld and fynbos fields. Several farms now host regular MTB events, which you can enjoy as a spectator or participant. And if you’re not ready to compete in a race yet, get the family pedalling together on a Sunday afternoon.
- Take a Boat Trip
If you find yourself in a wine region that is close to a river, chances are that there will be a farm or two that offer boat rides on the river. What better way is there to enjoy the natural surroundings with a delicious cheese platter and maybe a bottle of wine (or grape juice for Grandma). Boat rides are usually scheduled on the hour so make sure to get there early to make your reservation and shop for lovely goodies to enjoy on your cruise. No seasickness guaranteed.
- Visit an Art Gallery
A lot of wineries have recently started to support local artists by displaying their work in art galleries or sculpture gardens at various wine farms. Be it beautiful landscapes or abstract paintings, interesting sculptures or blown glass art- there is something for every cultured soul to enjoy and admire.
- Go Fishing
Some wine estates that are located close to a river or maybe have a large dam on the farm even offer their patrons the opportunity to have a go at catching their own fish. These wineries are ideal for Dad and Uncle Sam to “wet their lines” while the ladies enjoy a glass of Chardonnay- even the kids will have something to do other than play on the same old boring jungle-gym. And for those more adventurous fisherman, certain farms even feature fly-fishing as one of their attractions. Be sure to phone the farm first to make sure their fishing season is open and make a reservation if needed, as it is quite a popular sport.
- Go on a Game Drive
If you would rather sit down and relax while enjoying the beauty that is our winelands, try visiting one of the many wine farms that offer game drives. Experience an informative tour of some of South Africa’s greatest and most beautiful wild animals from lions and cheetahs to springbucks and wildebeests. There are also wine estates that have more exotic animals like reindeer (yes, in Africa). Reservations are usually essential, so make sure to make a phone call to avoid disappointment.
- Relax with a Spa Treatment
Nature not so much your thing? Head on over to the spa for a tantalising facial or a well-deserved pedicure. There are few things more satisfying than receiving a relaxing foot massage whilst enjoying your favourite glass of wine (or a fruit smoothie)- even Uncle Sam could probably do with an invigorating body exfoliation treatment. Every second wine estate now has a day spa so your options are endless and there are spas to suit everyone’s needs and pockets.
- Play a Game of Boules
Long gone are the days where boules were considered to be a sport for old people. It can now be enjoyed by the whole family on your next visit to a wine farm. It is a great way to get up and get active and it is also ideal for your next team-building exercise at work. You can even enjoy a wine tasting and light lunch at the restaurant after you’ve all worked up a sweat on the greens and had a few good laughs. Many farms also have other fun lawn games that can be enjoyed, free of charge.
- Test Your Aim with Clay Pigeon Shooting
And for those looking for a bit more excitement in their life and power in their hands, you can always have a go at clay pigeon shooting. This age old tradition is now being offered at a few wineries around the Cape and is great fun for both participants and spectators. You won’t be bringing home a duck for Sunday’s lunch, but at least you will be able to get rid of some of your frustrations.
Clearly there is something to do for everyone at a wine farm and there should never be an excuse not to visit one- not even the complaints from Gran and Uncle Sam. There are loads more fun activities and attractions at our wineries, but who really needs to be convinced if there is wine to be drank?