When I think of a wine weekend away, the things that come to mind are fancy restaurants, haute cuisine, opulent estates and, of course, lots for drinking wine. Normally, the last thing on my mind would be family and fun with kids, but on a recent family trip to Stellenbosch courtesy of Visit Stellenbosch, with our two-year-old, we discovered that this popular wine lover’s destination has plenty to do to keep all ages entertained.
A great start to a weekend in Stellenbosch
Our journey started at Le Pommier wine estate, our home base for the weekend. This intimate country lodge is situated at the top of the Helshoogte pass with amazing views of the mountains and valleys, a stunning pool, suite style or self-catering accommodation (perfect for a weekend away with kids) and rolling lawns complete with a cute jungle gym.
Once we had settled into our accommodation, it was time to go and find something for dinner, so we ventured into the town to see what it had to offer.
Here we came across De Vrije Burger, owned by the legendary Bertus Basson, which was the perfect option for us with our little one having just spent an hour in the car. The restaurant keeps it simple with just a few choices of different burgers on the menu, set up in a takeaway style but there is also the option of sitting down with inside and outside seating. We placed our order at the counter, grabbed our drinks of choice from the self-service fridges and found a spot close to the kiddie’s sandpit to sit. While the menu is simple, the homemade, free-range burgers are delicious and it’s no wonder they won the 2019 Eat Out Everyday Eatery Best Burger Award in the Western Cape. To end of a great meal, we were offered a soft serve ice cream much to our little one’s delight (complimentary for every burger bought).
Our Winelands adventure continues
The following morning, we enjoyed breakfast at the Le Pommier restaurant alongside a roaring fire before heading back into the town for a guided bike tour of Stellenbosch with The Adventure Shop. The tour took about three hours with a stop for a wine tasting along the way. Not being cyclists at all, we erred on the side of caution, opting for an e-bike but were delighted to discover that the tour was mostly flat, taking us through the main town of Stellenbosch to some of the historic sites before heading to Lanzerac wine estate where we sat down for a morning wine and chocolate pairing including a special non alcoholic option for our little one.
But all that cycling had worked up an appetite and it was time to think about lunch. The family friendly Middlevlei wine estate turned out to be perfect for us with wide open lawns, a large sand pit, and plenty of farm animals to see and feed.
Here we enjoyed a wine blending experience, crafting our own blend of wine which we even got to cork and label ourselves. This was followed by a traditional Boerebraai lunch cooked over the open fire, including a special snack box for our daughter who even got to braai some marshmallows over the coals for dessert.
With a full tummy, it was back to La Pommier for a bit of down time for the whole family. A nap, and an hour or so enjoying the playground followed before we headed to the tasting room for yet another fabulous food and wine pairing! The really great thing about the wine tasting here is that they even had an option for our daughter with four different flavoured milks, each paired with a selection of sweets which went down extremely well.
After some more fun at the playground to burn off all that sugar, and more wine of course for mom and dad, it was back to our room to freshen up for dinner which was to be enjoyed at the restaurant on site. With a full a la carte menu, plenty of great value-for-money winter specials and even a special kid’s menu, we were not short on options.
Our final day as a family in Stellenbosch
The next morning, we headed to Blaauwklippen estate, one of the oldest wine farms in Stellenbosch. Our plan was to let our little one have some fun at the toddler bike track and play on the extensive wooden jungle gym, while we grabbed a cup of coffee and took a stroll through the indoor market.
Once those little feet could pedal no more, we headed off to the tasting room for a pizza and wine pairing including a sparkling grape juice and pizza pairing for our daughter and even more play time on the jungle gym next to the restaurant.
To end off the Sunday afternoon and our weekend, we then headed off to our last stop, Vredenheim. Here we enjoyed a delightful picnic lunch and a visit to the animal farm and play park. We snacked on an array of tasty cheeses and cold meats while watching the turkeys and chickens wondering around the jungle gym, sand pit and bike track before heading off to feed the pigs, goats, and even a miniature horse and two llamas. Once lunch was done we decided that we could not leave Stellenbosch with out doing one last wine tasting so it was off to the tasting room for a few more sips, before heading home. A fabulous ending to a fantastic weekend for the entire family!