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Niels Verburg, winemaker at Beaumont
Wines, in front of the old wooden de-stalker

Full day tour

This tour takes a full day and gives the opportunity of seeing a little more of the wonderful Cape scenery and ends at one of the Capes top rated wineries, high in the cliffs above Hermanus.

Two ways to start, the slow way is to go on the M3 to the coast at Muizenberg and follow the coastal road along miles of white sand beaches until the road joins the N2 at when you turn right on it towards Somerset West. The fast way is to use the N2. Past Somerset West the motorway ends and becomes a normal road with one lane in each direction. You'll start to climb high on twisting bends over Sir Lowrys Pass. At the top is a viewpoint with staggering views over False Bay. But close your car windows and be careful of your possessions because there are wild baboons that might snatch cameras or bags.

Continue on the N2, and exit when you come upon Bot River. This tiny town comprises not much more than a hotel that serves excellent lunches and a supermarket. If you come to the railway level crossing, you've passed it. Opposite the hotel is Beaumont Wines. Stop to taste. They make a full range of wines, including a rare Tinta Barocca. If the pourer is a tall young man with a huge grin and a mop of blond hair, that'll be winemaker Niels Verburg. Ask him for a tour of the winery. It is small and ancient with an intriguing library of old wines under thick dust in a barred cellar and open concrete fermentation tanks. And notice the ancient wooden de-stalker under the hatch in the wall into which the grapes are emptied.

Follow route 44 from Bot River, turning onto Route 43 towards Hermanus. Just outside Hermanus there is road to the left, sign posted to Hamilton Russell Vineyards (HRV). Follow the sign up into the hills till you reach Hamilton Russell. Next to a tranquil lake with black swans is the wine cellars and tasting room. As you enter the tasting room you'll see large stone bowls holding samples of the soil in their various vineyards. Owner Anthony Hamilton Russell is a firm believer in terroir and spent 10 years looking for the correct terroir before choosing this location, the most southerly vineyard in South Africa. Unfortunately this area was not approved for wine growing by the wine authority. The stifling hand bureaucracy was overcome and HRV makes world-beating wines. Hamilton Russell focuses purely on the Burgundy varieties of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Their Pinot Noir was the first SA wine to cost more than 100 Rand, but visitors are poured a generous measure, which can be enjoyed on benches next to the lake where trouts jump for flies. You can drive up the hill to the top of the cliffs where you can see for miles along the coast past Hermanus. Around September the Southern Right whales come to False Bay to calve and can be clearly seen from Hermanus's shoreline.

Hamilton Russell bought a neighbouring farm and the wine made from these vines is sold under the Southern Right label. These can be tasted at the tasting rooms at the junction with the R43.

Heading back to Cape Town you can go the fast route back to the N2, or turn onto the R44 which takes a picturesque winding coastal route past the towns of Kleinmond and Bettys Bay and ending at Gordons Bay where you can rejoin the N2 or stop for dinner. There are several small restaurants, such as 'Cafe 33' and 'Gazebo' where you can eat watching the sun going down over the sea.


Beaumont Wines
Tasting 09.00-12.30 13.30-16.30 M-F

Hamilton Russell Vineyards
Tasting 09.00-17.00 (Sat 09.00-13.00)