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TThe Darling Wine Route comprises a handful of independent wine estates and is known for producing some of the country’s stellar sauvignon blancs. Add country-dining, wild flowers in season and a thriving artistic community into the mix and you have a memorable wine experience.
The Darling Wine Route, off the R27 West Coast road, between the towns of Yzerfontein and Malmesbury, 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 Wine Estate, a WWF-SA Conservation Champion and home of some memorable shiraz. Then head over to nearby
Darling Cellars, whose wines include the Chocoholic pinotage and Old Bush Vines range.
Next, visit Ormonde Private Cellars located in Darling town. This estate offers 3 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 wine estate. Groote Post has won a slew of local awards, notably for their sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, Old Man’s Blend and shiraz wines.
Other notable estates are Tukulu and Withington, whose wines can be purchased at the legendary Darling Wine Shop in town.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)22 492 3361
The Darling Wine Shop
Tel: +27 (0)22 492 3971
Tel: +27 (0)74 194 1711
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. The 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
Things to do
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
Take 2 days to explore the wine route.
What to pack
Pack plenty of water and your camera as there is lots of beauty to capture.
Where to stay
Farm accommodation, guesthouses, B&Bs and self-catering options are available in the area.
What to eat
Try Evita se Perron for over-the-top dining and sample micro-brewery Darling Brew’s slow beer.
Wine from The Darling Wine Shop and olives from Darling Olives.