In Their Words
Rickety Bridge History & Location
Situated 3 kilometres from the village of Franschhoek, the Rickety Bridge Wine Estate nestles against the hillside overlooking vineyards and the majestic Wemmershoek Mountains, with 14 of our 56 hectares under vine.
The land dates back to 1694 when Rickety Bridge was originally part of La Provence, one of the first seven French Huguenot farms in Franschhoek. Over the years the property was subdivided and in 1797, this current section of land was granted to the widow Paulina De Villiers. The farm then changed hands several times and in the 1980s became known as ‘Rickety Bridge’, due to the old railway sleeper bridge which crossed the Franschhoek River onto the property.
Today Rickety Bridge is home to a modern winery, a bistro-style restaurant, luxurious accommodation and a countryside wedding and functions venue.
Rickety Bridge Operating Hours
Wine Tasting: open daily 10am-6pm (pre-booking recommended).
Paulina’s Restaurant: open daily 9am-5pm (pre-booking recommended).
Potjieskos Dining Experience: available on request (pre-booking essential).
Picnics: available year round (24 hours notice required).
Cellar Tours: available on request (pre-booking essential).
Wine Blending: available on request (pre-booking essential).
Closed 25 Dec and 1 Jan. All times, prices and facilities listed are subject to change. We recommend checking latest details directly with the farm and pre-booking experiences wherever possible, to avoid disappointment.
Rickety Bridge Wine Tasting
The Wine Tasting Centre is adjacent to the wine cellar, offering a glimpse into the inner workings of a working winery. It is housed on an elevated platform, offering views of the vineyards and majestic Franschhoek mountains.
On warm, sunny days wine-lovers can taste Rickety Bridge wines on the terraces, surrounded by vines. On cooler days, guests can gather around the wood-burning fireplace and soak up the warmth while enjoying Rickety Bridge’s fine wines. Rickety Bridge can accommodate parties up to 80 people for a wine tasting in the conference centre, by prior arrangement.
Wine Tasting Prices
The Standard Wine Tasting includes 5 wines for R60pp. The Printer’s Devil Tasting includes 3 wines for R65pp and our 3 wine Icon Range Tasting costs from R110pp. A Kids’ Tasting is available for R80pp and for adults, we offer a unique 6 Panna Cottas & Wine Pairing option for R160pp. Bookings for all pairings essential.
The Wine Tasting Centre offers a small selection of wood-fired pizzas from Fridays to Sundays as well as cheese and charcuterie platters. Please contact the estate for prices.
Rickety Bridge Restaurants
Paulina’s is the Estate’s flagship restaurant, offering a variety of elegant bistro-style dishes. We also offer picnic baskets which can be enjoyed on the grass in front of the Wine Tasting Centre or at a table at Paulina’s (24 hours’ notice required).
Should you be looking for a meal with a difference, Rickety Bridge also offer a ‘Potjieskos’ experience. Translating to ‘little pot of food’, a Potjie is a proudly South African dish traditionally made when friends and family gather. We offer a 2-3 hour dining experience where you can make your own potjie alongside your friends and family. Priced from R460pp.
Menus & Pricing
At Paulina’s, sample breakfast items may include omelettes, a full farmhouse breakfast and bacon flapjacks, with lunch including salads, pastas, curries, grilled meats and fish. Mains from R125pp and a small kids’ menu is also available.
For picnics, Rickety Bridge will supply you with a blanket, picnic table, glasses, cutlery and a fabric-lined wine crate filled with a variety of delicious treats. Priced from R350pp or R600 per couple. Pre-booking essential.
Rickety Bridge Tours & Activities
Rickety Bridge offer a number of activities for you to enjoy. In the grounds of the Estate, guests can also enjoy scenic walks, beautiful gardens and boules in the vines.
Our 30 minute Cellar Tour includes an in-depth session in our 500 tonne cellar where knowledgeable staff will explain the winemaking process from vine to barrel. R50pp, booking essential (please note not available during harvest time).
Our interactive 1.5 hour Wine Blending session is aimed at wine novices and enthusiasts alike. Here we will coach you through the process of making your own bottle of wine, along with a personalised wine label. R270pp, booking essential.
Should you be planning a special event, Rickety Bridge offers the ideal setting for weddings, events and conferences. With a beautiful Cape Dutch Manor House, popular restaurant and large wine tasting centre, we can arrange the ideal large or small celebration for family, friends or colleagues. Please contact the Estate for more details.
Want to visit Rickety Bridge but don’t want to drive? We are currently featured on the Franschhoek Wine Tram which allows you to immerse yourself in the wine culture of the town without having to worry about your car. Please refer to www.winetram.co.za/ for more information and prices.
Rickety Bridge Accommodation
Rickety Bridge offers two accommodation options: our historic Cape Dutch Manor House, or Basse Provence Guesthouse, located at our sister estate Basse Provence, across the Franschhoek River.
The Rickety Bridge Manor House is a 5 star rated guesthouse, offering 3 Deluxe Rooms with magnificent views of the vineyards and mountains. Facilities include a swimming pool and two lounge areas.
Basse Provence Guesthouse is a 4 star rated guesthouse situated on the neighbouring estate. Accommodation includes 3 rooms in the Manor House, 5 rooms in the Country House, plus a 2 Bedroom Cottage, with valley and mountain views.
Rooms at the Rickety Bridge Manor House start from R2800 per room per night. Rooms at Basse Provence start from R1600 per room per night. All rates include breakfast for 2 people sharing and are based on low season (winter).
Please contact the Estate for specials including tours and activities.
When Lucy Visited
One of the most popular wine farms in Franschhoek, Rickety Bridge boasts jaw dropping mountain views, a variety of excellent wines and plenty of unique experiences for people of all ages. It’s the ideal spot for a fun and friendly afternoon in one of South Africa’s most beautiful wine valleys!
So What Makes Rickety Bridge Stand Out?
Rickety Bridge is an all-encompassing wine farm, suitable for couples, families and groups of all sizes. Boasting accommodation, a bustling restaurant, heritage buildings and a truly spectacular setting surrounded by vineyards and mountains, what impressed me the most was the quality of their wines – something to suit all palates. It’s a busy, bustling spot due to its popularity on the Franschhoek Wine Tram, however they’ve carved a number of dedicated spaces for wine tasting and dining, ensuring everyone can enjoy this little piece of paradise.
So What About The Farm Itself?
Located under 1 hours’ drive from Cape Town and just 3 kilometres from the centre of Franschhoek, Rickety Bridge is a household name here in SA, with origins dating back to 1694. Originally part of La Provence farm (one of the first French Huguenot farms in the valley), the estate was eventually subdivided and guests can now visit what we know and love as Rickety Bridge, or if needing overnight accommodation, Rickety Bridge’s sister estate next door: Basse Provence.
Basse Provence solely features a Country House with 4 star accommodation (so only overnight guests permitted), however for wine tasting, dining and more luxurious 5 star accommodations in their historic Cape Dutch Manor House, head to Rickety Bridge itself. Unfortunately I didn’t see any accommodation this time, however day visitors are still spoiled with Rickety Bridge’s magnificent setting. A well-established estate, expect row upon row of vineyards and panoramic views of the valley and mountains from both Paulina’s restaurant and the dedicated seating areas within the Wine Tasting Centre.
Aside from the Manor House, most of Rickety Bridge’s main public buildings appear to be more recent additions, with a surprising number of nooks and crannies inside. From the Wine Blending room complete with fireplace and views of the cellar, to the tasting room bar and gift shop with its French decor and multiple terraces with spectacular views, there’s a spot for everyone. Pre-booking is strongly recommended as they are very popular – and the staff will allocate you a table based on your group size.
In front of the Tasting Centre are also large lawns with a jungle gym and outdoor boules – great for families and there are a limited number of tables in view of the jungle gym. It is also here that you can pre-book a picnic! Keep scrolling for more family related info.
What About The Wine Tasting?
Firstly it’s worth knowing that Rickety Bridge can get hundreds of visitors every day from the Franschhoek Wine Tram, and they carefully manage the flow of these guests by reserving tables for them as a priority (especially relevant with COVID 19 limitations and restrictions). This means if you’re visiting under your own steam, I cannot stress enough… PRE-BOOK!
As I was just with my husband, they allocated me a quiet table in the main modern tasting area, which worked well. They have 3 wine tasting options (priced between R60pp and R110pp), plus a kids’ tasting, wine and panna cotta pairing, ice lollies, wine infused ice cream, a range of soft drinks, platters and between Fri and Sun, wood-fired pizzas. Excellent value all round.
They also offer Cellar Tours (R50pp) or for groups, a cool ‘Blend Your Own Wine’ experience (around R270pp). Definitely something totally unique! Check out www.ricketybridge.com/winery/wine-tasting-centre for more details.
You can choose wines from a large selection – they have 5 wine ranges and the cheapest is R60 for 5 which is great value. Garcelle my host was friendly and patient and between my husband and I we tried 9 wines, some from the estate and others from further afield, across their entry level Foundation Stone range, Rickety Bridge Range, Paulina’s Reserve Range and premium Icon Range. Overall I was incredibly impressed with the quality of the wines and there is literally something for everyone.
Firstly their Brut Rose, 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir – a luxurious mousse of Strawberries and Cream. Wow! An absolute favourite new bubbly! In terms of whites I tried the 2019 Rickety Bridge Chardonnay, unusual 2020 Paulina’s Reserve oaked Sauvignon Blanc and 2018 Icon Pilgrimage Semillon. What struck me overall was how delicate and balanced each wine was – a touch of sweetness and evocative aromas on the nose but really coming through with the right amount of acidity, body and flavour. Easy drinking wines but memorable too. I can still taste that lightly oaked Sauvignon Blanc now!
Over to the reds, I tried the 2020 Rickety Bridge Merlot, 2018 Paulina’s Reserve Cab Sav, 2019 The Bridge Cab Sav and 2018 Crossover Pinotage. They mostly use 1st or 2nd fill barrels for these wines so I was expecting pronounced tannins however again I was surprised – across the board bright, fruity and juicy with soft tannins and deliciously long, smooth finishes. The Pinotage was my fave.
What About The Food?
I was hosted for my wine tasting and we also enjoyed a couple of pizzas in the Wine Tasting Centre (available Fri to Sun) – great value at around R100 each. They also offer platters, this picture below was of the cheese and meat platter for around R200. Nothing specifically for kids here in the Wine Tasting Centre but there are 5 pizza options (incl 1 veggie) and this would be perfect for my two kids if we’d have had them in tow.
For something more substantial and formal, next door to the Wine Tasting Centre is Paulina’s bistro style restaurant – with several areas for different sized groups, from small intimate nooks by the fire to larger outdoor covered tables. It’s named after Paulina de Villiers, the original owner of the land and one of the first female landowners in South Africa. They also offer picnics which can be enjoyed on the lawns or in the bistro, however I didn’t see these so can’t comment much.
At the time of writing the restaurant is open daily from 9-5, so you can enjoy a hearty breakfast (think bacon flapjacks, waffles or a full English) or tasty lunches. They also have a kids’ menu, vegetarian options, cocktails, desserts and ‘Tasting Plates’ – where you can sample small portions of items on the menu which is a great idea! You can see they’ve worked hard to adapt their offerings to suit most types of people- it certainly seemed popular with groups and couples on the busy Saturday I visited.
Finally, in addition to picnics, they also offer a cool foodie experience which I didn’t get the chance to try – a ‘Make Your Own Potjie’ (potjie = pot of food). This is a great group activity where you can make your own South African dish (around R460pp) – check out www.ricketybridge.com/lunch/bistro-style-restaurant for more info on this and other food options.
Kids at Rickety Bridge
Although I didn’t see many kids here on the day I visited, I think it’s a good option for families in Franschhoek. You have the kids’ tasting in the Wine Tasting Centre (R80 per child with marshmallows, sweeties and flavoured milks), plus the kids’ menu in the bistro, loads of space for them to run wild outside on the jungle gym and boules in the sandy area. There’s also free wifi for more grown up kids who can’t tear themselves away from their screens!
A lively, fun and great all round option for those wanting to experience a wide selection of fantastic wines, tasty food and iconic views. It’s perfect for groups, couples and families who enjoy a wine farm with a sociable atmosphere and plenty going on. A fab afternoon come rain or shine and next time I want to stay over!
There can only be one top tip – PRE-BOOK! In spite of Rickety Bridge having lots of space, offerings have been designed for small and large groups so it can get busy, especially at weekends. Take the stress out of it and just call in advance to secure your table.