Western Cape Brandy Route
Did you know?
South African has some of the most stringent brandy production regulations in the world.
Explore the Western Cape Brandy Route, and you’ll soon discover why brandy is one of South Africa’s favourite drinks.
Brandy was first distilled in South Africa in 1672. Hailing from the Dutch word brandewijn, meaning 'burnt or distilled wine', back then, brandy was a means of preserving wine for long sea voyages.
Fast forward to 1998, when, the South African Brandy Foundation launched the first Cape Brandy Route featuring a handful of grape alchemists patiently nurturing their copper stills and French oak barrels. Since then, a Route 62 Brandy Route has also been introduced.
The Western Cape Brandy Route spans Worcester, Wellington, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl and Grabouw, with 14 different brandy distilleries for you to visit.
In Worcester, you’ll find the KWV House of Brandy. With 120 pot stills under 1 roof, it’s the largest facility of its kind in the world, and you can see their resident cooper at work.
If you plan to visit any of Wellington’s 4 producers – Upland, Oude Wellington, De Compagnie, or Sauvignac de Versailles, make an appointment. At these artisanal brandy cellars, you’re assured of generous brandy tastings and fulfilling interaction with the brandy master.
In Paarl, you’ll find heavyweights Backsberg, Laborie and Nederburg. Laborie makes alambic (hand-distilled) brandy, while Nederburg uses the solera, or fractional blending, maturation method. Be sure to buy a bottle or 2 before the angels come to claim their share.
Before touring Stellenbosch, head over the mountains to Franschhoek, to Haute Cabriére for traditional estate brandy, and their ratafia – a Chardonnay fortified with brandy.
In Stellenbosch, take the Van Rhyn's Cellar’s brandy cellar tour, followed by a chocolate, coffee, and brandy pairing. Here too, visit Louisenhof, Tokara, Uitkyk, Avontuur and Kaapzicht estates for brandy tastings.
Your final (or first) stop on the Western Cape Brandy Route is to learn about Rene Santhagens, the ‘father’ of brandy making in South Africa, and admire Big Bertha, the largest still in the Southern Hemisphere, at the Oude Molen Distillery in Grabouw.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
The South African Brandy Foundation
Phone: +27 (0)21 887 3157
Fax: +27 (0)21 886 6381