You’re ready to take your relationship to the next level. It’s time to pop the question. The real question however, is: where to do it?
Fear not, the winelands have you covered – from Plettenberg Bay to Doringbaai and beyond. Here’s a short list of suggestions to get your started. Remember that most need to be booked in advance.
1. Signal Gun, Durbanville
There are wineries with some amazing views of the Cape. Among them is Signal Gun. Book out the game drive vehicle for a ride to the top of Hoogeberg Hill. You’ll get to see a smattering of wildlife before summiting to a spectacular, 360°-view.
2. Emily Moon, Plettenberg Bay
Sunset over the Bitou River Valley is a memorable sight and even more so if taken in from the hillside eyrie of Emily Moon. The restaurant and upper level bar comprise a collection of artefacts collected by Mark and Christine Valentine on travels in Africa, Asia and Polynesia. The scale and diversity of wines on offer are a rare compilation for these parts. Visit the website to read the love story of how its name came about.
3. Take a hike
Van Loveren, Robertson
For a proposal that will pack a punch, take your significant other on the Fish Eagle Trail at Van Loveren. The 7,5km circular trail starts at the winery, crosses the Breede River and then follows a gentle climb to the top of a hill that overlooks a valley decked far and wide with vineyards. If you don’t get a yes, well at least the photographs will be amazing.
Tel: 023 615 1505; Website: https://www.vanloveren.co.za/make-a-booking
Waterford Estate, Stellenbosch
Only half the 120ha of land at Waterford Estate has been planted to vine. The rest has been left to wild fauna and flora. The estate’s Porcupine Trail allows you to explore the latter with three routes. A light picnic lunch is provided with your booking, plus there’s a wine and chocolate tasting to sweeten the deal.
Pulpit Rock, Riebeek West
If you like a good physical workout to go with your special element of surprise, then head for Pulpit Rock winery. The hiking trail opened last year. The walk to the top of the Kasteelberg Mountain may be steep, but it also means that the view of the vineyards and wheat fields becomes just more (ahem) breath-taking with every step. It’s a full 2km to the summit and there are plenty of stops to stop and turn-around if you want. Celebrate the happy occasion with a bottle of MCC when you’re back at the cellar.
4. Fryers Cove, Doringbaai
The winery on the pier is a chart-topper for so many reasons, including on this one. The bonus of the remote location means you’ll need to make at least weekend of it in this wonderful Namaqua West Coast bay. For the uninitiated, Fryers Cove is a harbour winery in a former crayfish factory. The factory closed in the 70s, but was re-born 15 years later with the dream of an aspirant winemaker holidaying in the area. Wynand Hamman shared it with his (now) in-laws Jan and Ponk van Zyl, and 14 years later Fryer’s Cove was born. The restaurant attached to the winery is largely a community project. Serving up traditional West Coast fare with bracing, delicious wines, it’s a place the angel’s sing at sunset. Think crashing waves, fresh sea air and rich, royal colours bleeding across a great big sky.
5. Leeu Estates, Franschhoek
If you’re going big, then there’s only one way to ramp it up. Do it with the trifecta: luxurious room, heavenly spa and champion wine. This plush setting in the heartland of high culture also tosses in fine art, splendid gardens and a mountain-setting that’ll make a couple of restful days feel like weeks. After brunch stroll over for a tasting at the winery of Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines; followed by a softening up massage, afternoon nap and the big-occasion dinner. Can you picture it yet?
6. Get intimate in an old wine tank
Weltevrede Estate, Bonnievale
When Weltevrede changed its winemaking ways, it put its old concrete fermentation tanks to different use. Rugged doorways were knocked through the thick walls creating a cave-like pathway that is candle-lit. It leads to a room lined with cushions and a low table, which can be booked for special events (hint hint). It’s a magical experience, plus you should ask winemaker Philip Jonker to tell you the love story behind The Ring MCC.
Klein Roosboom, Durbanville
As if the name of Karin de Villiers’ winery Klein Roosboom isn’t romantic enough and reason to visit, it has also converted old fermentation tanks. The individually-themed private lounges are part of the restaurant and tasting room. Note that the restaurant is undergoing renovations and is anticipated to reopen in July this year (2019). Owned by Karin de Villiers; Piti Coetzee is the winemaker.
7. Slanghoek Mountain Resort, Breedekloof
There are various types of accommodation on this wine farm that farms grapes for Slanghoek Winery, but it’s Platbos log cabins you’re after if you want to knock socks off. Each of three cabins sits at the end of a jetty that extends out over a large farm dam. Beyond lies a valley of vineyards and mountains often tipped with snow in winter. It’s what dreams are made of.
Tel: (023) 344 3138; Website: www.slanghoekresort.co.za
8. Guardian Peak, Stellenbosch
There are dozens of winery restaurants with a view. We randomly picked this one because it’s just as ideal for a small, special occasion. It’s a contemporary venue with cracking good wine and food. The views of the vineyards and Helderberg Mountain make it a popular destination, especially since it opened for dinner too.