Groot Phesantekraal’s long heritage dates back to 1698, however it was the present 4th generation owner Andre Brink who planted vineyards covering 60 hectares of its 850 hectare expanse.
The farm is situated on the outskirts of Durbanville 35 minutes from the centre of Cape Town, producing only a limited number of wines per year of superior quality and singular character.
Known as Cape Town’s ‘Northern Vineyards’, the popular residential suburb of Durbanville sits around 20-30 minutes’ drive north of the city. Here, urban metropolitan development gives way to lush meadows and fertile vineyards, home to laidback farm-style restaurants and tasting rooms serving premium, award-winning wines: welcome to the Durbanville Wine Valley.
Farming began in the area now known as Durbanville in late 17th Century. Blessed with a fresh water spring, the area was a preferred resting stop for weary travellers. It was during this period of the late 1600s that the Dutch East India Company allocated lands here to European settlers, who began planting the first vines.
Originally known as a ‘Pampoenkraal’ (translating to English as ‘Pumpkin Corral’), the town’s name was changed in the 1830’s to ‘D’Urban’, in honour of Sir Benjamin d’Urban who was the Governor of the Cape Colony at the time. Several of these original farms still produce wines, so visiting Durbanville offers a unique insight into the rich cultural heritage of the area.
With some farms offering spectacular views back towards Table Mountain, Durbanville is an easy and worthwhile excursion from Cape Town. For those of you thinking of taking your little ones along for the adventure, you’ll find several of the estates cater to their needs as well, with activities galore and perhaps even a kiddies grape tasting!
Primarily located in the Tygerberg Hills, the wine farms within the Durbanville Wine Route (officially known as the Durbanville Wine Valley) lay close to the Kanonberg and Tierberg mountains, within just a few kilometres of the cold Atlantic Ocean.
Spanning a range of hilly terrains, this position produces a microclimate pocket offering a truly unique winegrowing terroir. Warm sun tends to bake the vines in the morning, until afternoon breezes waft in from the Atlantic, cooling the vineyards. This salty, cool air gives many of the wines from this area their distinct flavours.
Durbanville is renowned for its cool climate Sauvignon Blanc, however also grows a wide variety of other white and red cultivars including Pinotage, Shiraz, Merlot and Chardonnay. Many of the farms have been highly awarded, both locally and internationally.
With 13 estates located along the route, there is certainly no shortage of wine farms to visit. Easy drinking wines are a given, however the estates here offer many other experiences too. If you enjoy wine tasting with a twist, what about a bubbly Cap Classique and Macaron pairing? Or sampling wines inside an old winemaking concrete tank, in a swing seat?
Many Durbanville wine farms boast deli farm shops and serve food platters. Several also offer casual and fine dining restaurants, with a focus on rustic farm to fork dining. Kids are well looked after too, with many farms featuring jungle gyms, lawns and kids’ menus; some even have family-friendly bike tracks!
With its semi-rural backdrop surrounded by hills and meadows, Durbanville enjoys a beautiful setting, ideal for outdoor activities. Numerous world-class and family-friendly MTB bike trails meander through the vineyards, which are also accessible for runners.
During the summer months, many of the estates offer picnics on their lawns, with some also featuring walking trails. Beyond the wine farms, Tygerberg Nature Reserve is popular for its spectacular view of Table Mountain, and don’t miss the Durbanville Rose Garden or Durbanville Nature Reserve.
Year round, visitors can also visit some of the wine estate cellars on guided or self guided tours, or why not embark on an exciting wine safari. Here you are driven through the vineyards on the look out for small game, whilst stopping at a viewpoint for a wine tasting.
With it being a predominantly suburban enclave of Cape Town, there are very limited accommodation options in Durbanville itself, however with the city being just 20 minutes away, it’s easy to combine a stay in town with a visit here.
For more information, please visit www.durbanvillewine.co.za/.