The Darling Wine Route
Did you know?
The town of Darling has a speciaist wine shop dedicated to promoting and selling the region's wines.
The Darling Wine Route, off the R27 West Coast road, between the towns of Yzerfontein and Malmsbury, is historically a dairy-producing area. Wine of Origin status, wines of unusual character, scenic beauty, and the West Coast’s laid-back vibe are fast ensuring the Darling Wine Route a place on the quality-conscious wine lover's map.
Darling’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the vineyards' elevation, particularly in the high-lying Groenekloof ward, have a significant effect on the grapes grown here, prompting some winemakers from other Western Cape wine-growing regions to set up source vineyards in this coastal wine region.
Darling is well suited to the production of cool-climate wines. Hot summer mornings ensure phenolic ripeness, while late afternoon sea breezes cool the vineyards.
Despite the region’s predominantly dry land terrain and sparse rainfall in winter and spring, winemakers have succeeded in encouraging moisture retention in Darling’s lime-rich, red-clay soils. A typical early morning ocean fog contributes to providing moisture to the vineyards.
On this West Coast wine route, lovers of sauvignon blanc, shiraz and pinotage will be most-rewarded.
Begin your Darling Wine Route at Cloof Cellars, whose wines include their award-winning Crucible Shiraz (single-vineyard), Very Sexy Shiraz, Cloof Pinotage and some unusual red blends.
At nearby Darling Cellars, wines include the premium Onyx range, easy-drinking Flamingo Bay wines, and Zantsi low-alcohol, natural sweet wines.
Next, visit Ormonde Cellars located in Darling town. This estate offers three wine ranges: the easy-drinking Alexanderfontein, Ondine, and their flagship range, Ormonde.
If you’re not in a hurry, spend time exploring the centre of Darling.
Otherwise, head out on the R307, to Groote Post’s wine estate. Groote Post wines are at the pricier end of Darling’s wines, and they produce the only Cap Classique and noble late harvest wines in the ward.
Groote Post has won a slew of local awards, notably for their sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, Old Man’s Blend and shiraz wines.
The wines of Tukulu and négociant Withington’s Wines are only available from The Darling Wine Shop in town.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Pastorie Street, Darling
Tel: +27 (0)22 492 3361
How to get here
From Cape Town, take the R27 North in the direction of the West Coast. At the Yzerfontein/Darling intersection, take the R315 and drive approximately 16km to the town of Darling. Follow the Darling Wine & Art Experience signs.
Best time to visit
The Darling Wine Route is open all year round; Darling's wild flower season is September.
Around the area
While in the area, visit the West Coast National Park, the Tienie Versveld Wildflower Reserve, the Hildebrand Anglo-Boer War commemoration site, the Groenkloof and Renosterveld reserves, the Buffelsfontein Game and Nature Reserve and the Darling Golf Club.
Tours to do
It's worth touring the !Khwa ttu San Culture & Education Centre.
You will need a car or the services of a Cape Town-based tour operator, as there are no car rental companies in Darling.
Length of stay
Two days to explore the wine route.
What to pack
Darling’s rainy winter season is from June to mid-August, so avoid that time if possible, unless you're happy to risk spending some of your visit here indoors.
Where to stay
Farm accommodation, guesthouses, B&Bs and self-catering options are available in the area.
What to eat
Hilda’s Kitchen and Lelieblom Farm serve the most authentic country cuisine in Darling. Try Evita se Perron for over-the-top dining, and sample micro-brewery Darling Brew’s ‘slow’ beer.
Darling hosts an annual wildflower show in September; a 'Rocking the Daisies' music festival and the Renosterveld Mountain Bike Race in October; the Darling Half Marathon in May, and a cultural 'Voorkamerfest' (a voorkamer is the living room in Afrikaans) in June.
Wine, olives from Darling Olives, orchids from Duckitt Nurseries, homemade goods from the Vyge Valley farm stall.