www: W-arm W-olseley W-elcome
Accommodation Experience 5.0 Wine Tour Wolseley

www: W-arm W-olseley W-elcome

Wednesday 22 February to Thursday 23 February 2017


Experience: 5/5

This was my first mini wine tour and also my first time exploring the Wolseley area. My partner was running a social media workshop for the Wolseley Tourist Office and so it made sense to do some tasting while she was working. It was an opportunity too to continue my wine studies ahead of the next Cape Wine Academy Course. I could also research and select wines for the March tasting meeting of the Society. The tourist website listed five wine farms. How could I not visit them all?


All the wine farms were open to the public except for Seven Oaks Wines, so I arranged to taste here first. Tastings are held in the owner’s home which was not the easiest to find. My persistence paid off handsomely as Jacqui could not have been more pleasant and hospitable. Her warm welcome was the taste of things to come and oft-repeated over the two days. The wines were good too and they really opened my eye to a style different from those I am accustomed to drink from the Constantia Valley estates near Cape Town. I did not think I ever would have bought a wine for R20 but the bargain 2016 Chenin Blanc tasted good. It will be interesting to see how it fares in my ‘blind’ tasting of low and high priced wines at the next Society tasting evening.


Waboomsrivier Wynkelder and Bergsig Estate could not have been more different, to each other and to Seven Oaks Wines. They were located barely a few kilometres from each other beside the Breede River to the South of Wolseley. Contrast large-scale cooperative production with seven generation award-winning family estate. Both had their charms and merits and equal friendliness. The wines from each served their individual markets, clients and occasions. Waboomsrivier was unstated and functional; Bergsig overstated and formal. I bought from both, my favourites being the 2014 100% Shiraz Cape Vintage (R45) and the 2013 Cape LBV Port (R85) from the two estates, respectively. I cannot wait to taste them side-by-side to compare.


The scenery surrounding the Breede Valley was worth the visit to the area alone. Rocky outcrops of the Waterval and Witzenberg mountains rose tall in a huge horseshoe. The dry heat was noticeable for a Capetonian more used to cooler and moister air due to the surrounding ocean. February is an excellent time to visit Wolseley with the grape harvest being gathered in apace.


My partner and I stayed at Arum Lily Cottages & Log Cabins on the R46 to the East of the town. The self-catering cabin provided unexpected luxury and was equipped to the highest standard. No detail of high quality was spared to allow a relaxing stay overnight. The highlight for me was the wood-fired hot tub on the deck overlooking the dam. This was a first for me and I could easily have been a little doubtful as to how it would function. Lit by the owner before I arrived, the fire was really efficient to make the water warm. Indeed, after returning from Waverley Hills organic estate for dinner, the water was almost too hot. It was the best way to end a day after work and tastings – and to see the stars and Milky Way before bed.


We ate nearby at Waverley Hills where I had tasted their fruity organic wines in mid-January. I booked a table but need not have done so as there was plenty of space in the airy and tastefully decorated restaurant (open Wednesdays and Fridays). It was good to return and to experience their food. My partner ordered pan-fried sea bass with buttermilk pea pureé, wild garlic couscous, butter fried mange tout and peas. I opted for the lamb shoulder, slow-cooked with herbs, smoked yoghurt, roast onion foam, potato mash and green beans. The two main courses were overcooked for my liking but this did not harm the meal.


The menu lists paired wines for each main course – a nice touch – and I chose the recommended 2012 Shiraz/Mouvèdre/Viognier (77% Shiraz, 19% Mouvèdre, 4% Viognier) that was included in the price, at R198. It was a perfect full-bodied, plummy, spicy accompaniment to the lamb. My partner chose a glass of the zesty 2014 Pinot Grigio, at a ridiculously low R20. If only wine restaurants sold wine in their restaurants with the same value.




We ended with home-made ice cream – gloriously creamy strawberry and an unusual carrot cake – before coffee. As we left afterwards, we realised we had spent two-and-a-half hours for dinner. Wolseley really is somewhere to unwind and let time pass by.


The cabin at Arum Lily left me utterly rested for the final day of the wine tour. We popped into nearby Tulbagh in the morning before heading back to Mountain Ridge Wines for my last tasting. Mountain Ridge was fun and very different to the formality of Bergsig. Again, I was very well-hosted. I sampled wines from the entry De Liefde, middle Mountain Ridge, and premium Romansrivier Reserve ranges. This was a farm that has embraced the old and the new: late-1940s concrete tanks and ultra-modern centrifuge technology. The star of the tasting was the privilege to taste a tank sample of the 2017 Chenin Blanc under the watchful eye of Christo, the winemaker. The grapes were picked just a month ago and I learned so much from Christo in such a short time.


My partner and I returned to Cape Town from Wolseley after two days of work and pleasure. She had enjoyed meeting the Tourist Office staff and local business owners for her Social Media Workshop. I had visited five utterly different wine farms and tasted so many different wines of every style and variety. I realised that there’s so much more to do in the area – hiking, mountain-bike riding, fishing and more – with its spectacular scenery. Even so, we had time to stop off at the Farmyard Honey Factory on the R46 and see one of the Wolseley blockhouses as we passed through. The old forts were built in 1901 by the British during the Anglo-Boer War to protect the railway bridges from Boer attacks.



We chose to return to Cape Town via Slanghoek rather than the beautiful Bain’s Kloof Pass. It took under 2 hours for the 115 kilometre journey that was so worth the visit. Wolseley is much closer to Cape Town than I had thought.


I have two reasons to return: to taste the 2017 Chenin Blanc and to visit the farmers’ market at Mountain Ridge wines. There are more vineyards to taste wines too, which are not shown on the Tourist Office map or website.

Another reason perhaps is to sketch out a Wolseley Wine Route for the Tourist Office. It is needed. I already have a name in mind. WWW again but not for the Warm Wolseley Welcome. It will be WWW for Peter’s Wolseley Wine Wanderings!


You Might Also Like

Peter Puts into Hermanus

New Branding for Old-enburg is Perfect

A Table Setting Fit for the Gourmet at De Grendel

The Bestbier Family produces Best Wines at Goede Hoop

This Vineyard Touched My Soul (aka, I Bought My First Bottle of Petrus)

A Hidden Gem of Rare Excellence

Book Launch and Rreview – Platter’s 40th Vintage is Aged to Perfection

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

Little Did I Know What I Had Started – A New Passion

Lothian Left Me Breathless – and Not Only the Wines!

Grape Fun – Stomping Well Worth the Journey!

1 Night, 7 Oaks, 3 Wine Tastings for Visit 2!

Rickety Tram Passengers at Rickety Bridge

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

Superb De Trafford Worthy of Being My 200th Wine Estate

Pedigree Stud Grub at Cavalli

Peter Has a Whale of a Time in Hermanus

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

Brut Force and Less Ignorance

Second Helping – and Tasting – at Oak Valley

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Joy at Really Tasting the Difference at Esona

Tram-Way to Heaven in Franschhoek

Late at Lateganskop

Wines to Love on Love Street

Lemberg Punches Above its Weight

Keermont Farmhouse Redefines Luxury

Lost and Found at Lomond – 100s!

Classy, Small and Precious Kleinood

House Wine from the Wine Tram

2018 Wacky Wine Ends at Le Roux & Fourie

Hard Graft without Grafts at Abingdon Wines – No Hail to the Monkeys

Superb Views of Guardian Peak

High 5’s All Round for Pride without Arrogance

Eksteen Experiments in the Lower Valley

Exciting, Excellent Keermont

Bizarre in Swazi

Cheers to Lemon Squirt Acidity and Puppy Dog Breath!

Elgin Valley is the Cool Wine Tour

Classic(al) to Barrique – De Morgenzon Hits all the Right Notes

Two Dam Good!

From South Africa to a Whole New (and Old) World

Syrah Pillars of Excellence at Haskell

Never too Early in the Morning for Wine Tasting!

More than Just a Destination

Excellent Unstated Wines and Service – Naturally!

Wine Passions Mounted at Cavalli

Log Cabin-et Sauvignon in the Hot Tub!

Waterf-ord More Ord-inary Than Extra-ord-inary



  1. Well and Truly Oaked! – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] ‘blind’, started my tasting. I had not tasted ‘blind’ since before my mini-tour to the Wolseley area. I expected a challenge and how I did. The ‘cool climate wines’ of Elgin were not like […]

  2. Proudly Keeping it in the Family at Paul Cluver – or Not? – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] myself to Ismain and asked her for ‘blind’ tasting. This was free, as with the wineries in the Wolseley area, and a welcome […]

  3. Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] South African winemakers. Just 3 weeks ago, for example, I tasted at the Waboomsrivier Wynkelder in Wolseley, an industrial scale producer that receives 16,000 tonnes annually from a cooperative of 22 […]

  4. A visit of Wolseley Wine Farms by the Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] Read the rest of the review on the Cape Wine Lovers Society Page […]

  5. The Italian Collection at the Vineyard – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] with a nice mouth feel and delicate fruity notes. I had tasted a South African one previously at Waverley Hills which I remember to be lighter in body and more zesty than fruity. Look out for more Pinot Grigio […]

  6. Decent Wines Rock from the Pulpit – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] Rock reminded me of my trip to the Wolseley area and of Mountain Ridge winery in particular. The tan concrete building set back a short distance […]

  7. A Night at 7 Oaks for 3 Wine Tastings for Visit 2! – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] tours are always fun! My first weekend trip was to taste the wines from Wolseley. I visited Bergsig Estate, Mountain Ridge Wines, Seven Oaks Wines, Waboomsrivier Wynkelder and […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *