Long live the five hour lunch! That’s what I always say when summer comes around and I can contemplate my absolute favourite activity – a wine farm lunch.
My idea of perfection is sitting outdoors in enough sun to keep me warm, enough shade to stop me from burning, whilst people run around bringing me delicious food and lots of wine. There are so many good things about eating outdoors, so here are a few things to look for and a few of the best farms that offer an outdoor lunch.
Wine farms with a view
Haskell in Helderberg, Stellenbosch
The Long Table at Haskell offers beautiful food but it’s the breathtaking views from the stoep which make this place a winner. The vineyards simply fall away from your feet stretching down into the valley and then back up into the mountains at the back of the Banghoek Pass. Great wine, good food – I could sit here for ever.
La Petite Ferme in Franschhoek
This isn’t so well known as a wine farm but it does make some very nice wines which is why I’ve included it. It’s a slick operation with really good cooking and heaps of regulars who seem to spend every summer day on the lawns overlooking the Franschhoek valley. Try the hot-smoked Franschhoek trout – it’s delish.
Glen Carlou in Klapmuuts, Paarl/Stellenbosch
It’s easy to speed past this farm en route to Franschhoek, but trust me – you would be making a mistake. Elevated above the road, the views from the stoep sweep across to the Taal Monument and round towards Wellington. Chef Hennie makes consistently great, hearty, delicious food and the wines are excellent and more than reasonable.
Wine farms for families
I was going to list my top three under this heading but found it completely impossible! So instead, I am recommending my article from earlier on this year, Top 10 family-friendly wine farms – and am punting Middelvlei, Joostenberg, Warwick, Haskell, Dunstone, Van Loveren, La Motte, Allee Bleue, Laborie and Gabrielskloof. Ten farms for the price of only one suggestion – bargain!
Wine farms for DIY/picnics
Zevenwacht in Kuils River, Stellenbosch
If you have to braai wherever you go, then Zevenwacht is the place for you. They do very good value picnic baskets as well but lots of families go there to pick up a braai basket instead. It comes with wood, firelighters, meat, salads and breads so you just head out to one of the braai grids and get going! Great fun for big groups.
Mont Rochelle, Franschhoek
I hear ‘sur le grapevine’ that there is to be a revamp of the food offering here which I hope just means it’s going to get even better cos it was pretty good beforehand anyway! It’s a nice space outside with room for families and lots of secluded shady nooks if you want a bit of privacy. Good wines as well.
Wine farms for romantics
Delaire Graff, Banghoek, Stellenbosch
I nearly put this one into the ‘Views’ category because it actually doesn’t get much better than this. The reason I’ve called it romantic is because it isn’t really that child-friendly and, as we all know, not much kills the atmosphere like a whiny brat! It’s the epitome of sophistication elegance with always the hope that your partner might even book you both a room for a night as well. Fingers crossed.
Warwick, Simonsberg, Stellenbosch
Wait a minute – I included this in the ‘Family-friendly’ wine farms didn’t I? Well yes, I did, but there is plenty more to Warwick than just the kiddie angle. Book yourself one of the ‘Picnic Pods’, preferably one on the far side of the dam and enjoy a secluded, discreet picnic with your loved one in privacy, peace and quiet. Perfection.
Wine farms for foodies
Overture at Hidden Valley, Helderberg, Stellenbosch
There’s been quite a few changes at this winery but production continues with new releases coming soon. And, of course, the delectable food continues to flow from Overture. Bertus Basson is often cited by many as the best chef in the winelands so savour some of his amazing creations sitting outside in the sunshine.
Terroir at Kleine Zalze, Stellenbosch
My last visit to this restaurant was in the pouring rain on a very chilly evening but that doesn’t stop me remembering how fantastic it was the time before when we sat outside on the shady terrace and lapped up Chef Michael Broughton’s food. I say lapped up – and I mean that literally, with all plates being suspiciously clean at the end of the meal. Pretty much says it all, I think.
Other suggestions welcome!