Located just over an hour drive from our home in Cape Town, just beyond the imposing Hottentots Holland Mountain range, Elgin is an area synonymous with apple farming. However, in recent years the area is also becoming well known for their production of delicious, crisp cool climate wines. And what’s followed is a burgeoning tourism industry that is welcoming guests to explore the Cape Winelands, off the beaten track.
In need of a weekend getaway, we recently ventured up Sir Lowry’s pass, through Grabouw, and past those laden apple trees, where we decided to make South Hill Vineyards our home for the weekend. This unique owner run establishment is part of the Cape Country Routes, a selection of properties dotted around the Western and Eastern Cape all offering a unique charm and authentic offering to visitors.
The estate itself is home to a large six-bed, 12 sleeper villa as well as a houseboat (currently out of action due to the recent storms), but our choice of accommodation would be a quaint converted pump house. It is now a luxury self-catering unit with a separate lounge area, indoor fireplace, equipped kitchen, and large en-suite bathroom with claw-foot tub.
The pièce de résistance is however waiting outside where you’ll find a protected courtyard with a boma braai and hot tub (where we would soon find ourselves spending the evening), a private garden with large sprawling lawns (perfect for impromptu picnics) and a private jetty with a canoe just waiting to be used (ideal for some fun on the water on a hot summer’s day).
You’d be forgiven for not wanting to leave this unique country retreat and indeed once we were there, we didn’t feel like venturing too far. So, our days were spent enjoying long lazy breakfasts in the on-site restaurant – which is also an art gallery, sipping on the farm’s locally grown cultivators at the wine tasting area, strolling around the vineyards, and of course lounging in the hot tub, just dreaming the day away.
On the odd occasion where we found ourselves running low on supplies, the well-known Peregrine farm stall was not too far away for some delicious pies while the Elgin Railway Market served up some of the best market food we’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting, and of course a myriad of wine farms awaited with chenins, chardonnays and MCCs on offer.
So, if it’s a weekend of wine, good food, and simply putting your feet up that you’re after, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, raise your glass, and make your way to this hidden gem in the wine world. Your South Hill Vineyards experience awaits – a toast to life, love, and exceptional wine.