Many of the Cape’s verdant winelands date back to the late 1700s, when Dutch settlers tasked escaping French Huguenots with making wine to supply passing Spice Route ships. Hundreds of guided tours exist, particularly of Stellenbosch—South Africa’s premier wine valley—but for maximum flexibility, it’s a great idea to hire a private driver (try Imperial Chauffeur Drive). A terrific itinerary starts with two Stellenbosch valley winefarms (local-speak for wineries) about 45 minutes north of Cape Town: first, Warwick, known for its outstanding Trilogy Bordeaux-style blend; then Morgenhof , an estate dating back to 1692 that’s owned by the Cointreau family. The steep, windy road over Helshoogte Pass (meaning Hell’s Heights) brings you next to Franschhoek, where you can taste excellent white wines at Solms-Delta and top-notch sparkling wines at Cabrière. Then make a final stop at Dieu Donné, famous for its signature red Pinotage. Its outdoor terrace, set among Franschhoek’s lower mountain slopes, affords an unforgettable last view of this picturesque valley.
Insider Tip: For a more relaxed pace, turn this into a two-day trip and stay at luxurious auberge Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek or one of many cozy self-catering cottages right on working winefarms, like La Chataigne.