“Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards;” Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.” That sentiment is something that beams out of us whenever we spend time in the Cape Winelands. The vineyards, the food, the mountain views, the wine! All of it has the touch of the divine in it. The Cape Winelands is a great cathedral of earthly pleasures, and we are believers.
Many think the best time to visit the Cape Winelands in South Africa is during the summer, but each season in the Winelands brings something special. For example, the vineyards look best at the change of the seasons and winter, with its roaring fireplaces and big red wines, is also a fantastic time to visit (and our personal favourite).
With a leafy, green and mountainous landscape, The Winelands – with Stellenbosch and Franschhoek as the main destination towns – provide the perfect backdrop for sampling the country’s best wine and some of the finest cuisine found in South Africa. There’s something for everyone within these wine valleys.
Summertime and the drinking is easy. The Cape Winelands has some buttery Chardonnays and dry Chenins that are perfect to sip in the shade of an old oak tree while enjoying a light lunch. This is peak tourist season – a combination of Christmas holidays and summer – so January is a busy time of year to explore this area. Weatherwise, this is the best time to visit the Cape Winelands in South Africa in terms of guaranteed sunshine and pleasant evenings. With longer daylight hours and warm temperatures, you can bask in the sun-drenched vineyards a little longer. Many wineries organise outdoor events, like concerts and sundowner sessions, allowing you to sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
February and March remain hot, with pleasant balmy summer weather prevailing. It can get very hot during this period in the inland areas, but these conditions are perfect for enjoying a chilled glass of dry white or rosé. Harvest season generally begins around the same time, and is an ideal opportunity to learn the ins and outs of winemaking, perhaps get your hands dirty in the vineyards, and experience the South African wine country differently The days are warm and there is little to no wind over this period.
Autumn in the Winelands brings a stunning array of changing colours, with the vineyards so picturesque that they can leave you awe-struck.. You see, South Africa’s wine regions reveal their autumn splendour in the months of April and May. The lush green vineyards transform into a tapestry of red, yellow, orange and gold, creating a stunning backdrop for your wine tour. With fewer crowds, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a more intimate experience at wineries and savour the delectable flavours without the rush. The weather is still pleasant, with warm days and cooler nights, making it an ideal time to explore vineyards and indulge in wine tastings.
Cape Town is known as the Cape of Storms for a reason, but nevertheless it generally only rains for eight days in June, which is one of the more rainy months – and there’s even a chance of some snow in July and August. Don’t expect heavy snowfall, the mountains surrounding the Cape Winelands are generally just snowcapped for a few days.
The winter chill creates a romantic ambience, where cold winter afternoons and evenings are spent by a roaring log fire, sipping local vintages. This is the perfect time to escape with your partner. And then there is the light: the sharp winter sun gives the white Cape Dutch buildings an almost golden hue never seen in the summer. The air is crisp and clean, the smell of the fynbos shrubs is strong and watching the morning mist roll over the vines is a classic winter experience.
Spring blossoms in September and the first shoots of next season’s harvest pop up on the vines. This is a time of renewal and rebirth. The landscapes burst into life with vibrant wildflowers, creating a kaleidoscope of colours against the backdrop of rolling vineyards. Delight in the crisp, refreshing white wines, including Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, as you indulge in picnics amidst the blooming beauty.
This is a great time to visit the Cape Winelands if you’re looking to avoid the crowds before the busy summer season. Both September and October experience pleasant temperatures during the day, but not the extreme heat of summer. It can still be a little cooler in the evenings.
Scintilla Top Tip: Why not include a stay on a working wine farm, where you really can get stuck into farm life and get your hands dirty! There aren’t many wine farms around where you can head out to harvest early morning, or spend time with the winemaking team, observing the seasons in the vineyards – from pruning to budding, harvesting and blending – learn the ins and outs of winemaking (if you wish) without feeling like you’re intruding, or you can simply kick back and enjoy the freedom of space and solitude. Reach out today and allow us to plan your Winelands escape.
Embark on an unforgettable journey through the Cape Winelands with our expertly curated tours. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, a lover of gastronomy, or a seeker of breathtaking landscapes, our tours offer the perfect blend of discovery, relaxation, and indulgence. Get in touch and let the adventure begin.