Yesterday I told you all about our time in Franschhoek, but I left out a big gaping hole in the middle of our stay – when we were out on the Franschhoek Wine Tram. And it’s not because I have a big gaping hole in my memory of that trip either (I promise). It’s just that it deserves its own post because it was that awesome.
So before I get stuck in to where we went and all that, I want to just clarify something because we were hella confused when we first started planning this. When we first looked up the Franschhoek Wine Tram, the website that we looked at was talking about it being R1000 per person and only on a Saturday. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. That was for the Curated Tour where all the tastings are included and you get a person that will guide you through all the farms.
The normal hop on, hop off Franschhoek Wine Tram runs every single day and it’s only R220 per person. So it’s a great and responsible way to see all the farms without risking your (or other) lives on the road. You just have to pay at the farms for any tastings that you do when you get there. You can read more about it here (i.e. not the website we looked at when we were planning our trip apparently. It seems we need to learn how to live in 2018 still.).
There are quite a few different routes that you can go on and most of them have 8 farms listed. Of those 8 you can actually only stop at 6 of them for an hour at a time (or 5 depending on your route or if you stay for 2 hours at one for lunch etc). Which means it’s worth doing your homework on which farms you really want to see.
In our case we went for the route that had the most familiar names – the Red one. The even better thing is that the Tram stop is literally a 2 minute walk from the Franschhoek Boutique Hotel where we were staying. Which was super convenient – especially for the trip home if you know what I’m saying.
Our first stop was Maison.
We knew of this place as it’s apparently one of the top 10 restaurants in the whole of SA. At this point we were still feeling super fresh after our hearty breakfast and ready to kick of this day. Even though it was like 10am, we started with a tasting. We did the 4 taster but we each had the different wines so basically got to taste all of them.
All I really need you to know about this farm is that aside from its beauty, they are super generous with their wine tasting portions. It was like a full glass of wine for each tasting. And yes. I know that you are supposed to spit and what not, but like really? Really really?
No. We don’t waste money like that. So we enjoyed our wine and the hour went a whole lot faster than we anticipated. We also bought some of the Chardonnay and the other white wine that I can’t even remember the name of now. It was as delicious and refreshing when we had it at home as it was on the farm.
Our second stop was Leopards Leap
We chose to skip the next one of the list which was a smaller farm in lieu of Leopards Leap. I’m not entirely sure why. I think we may have short changed ourselves but that’s the hard thing – you have to give up two places on the list and if you struggle with FOMO like I do, it’s torture.
We did another tasting with a variety of the Leopard Leap wines. At this point we were really enjoying ourselves and asking the wine guy a whole bunch of questions. We were tempted to stay here for 2 hours and have lunch but it was only 11am and we were still pretty full from breakfast so we headed to the next farm.
But not before I casually looked over at Seth and found him like this…
My favourite part of wine tasting is the crap we come up with while we swirl the wine around our mouths.
“Mmm, yes, getting strong aromas of freshly mown grass with a hint of underarm deodorant and motor oil.”
“Crikey, it’s like a little rabbit caressed my tongue while singing a lullaby.”
(This is not what it really tastes like by a long shot but really, because wine mostly just tastes like wine. Except this wine we tried at home the other day. My gosh. It literally tasted like smelly feet. The other one of rat poison. And the last one was a clear and distinct moth ball! It was hilarious though – trying to come up with things that it really did taste like for a change.)
Our third stop was Chamonix
Gosh darnit. By the time we arrived at this stop we were feeling super freaking festive. But still keeping to ourselves, we found a table and ordered a platter of breads and cheeses. It was delicious and the perfect substitute for a proper lunch.
To be honest I didn’t find these wines that great and they were also quite over priced. I love a farm that really does give you farm prices as opposed to what you buy it in the store for. So if I had to go again, I think I would give this one a skip. Sorry Chamonix, it’s not personal.
Our fourth stop was Dieu Donne
Oh my gosh. I really thought I was able to keep my crap together. I’m not an alcoholic or anything but I can usually hold myself towards myself. Plus if you really think about it I hadn’t had all that much. Except my body didn’t think so. By the time we rocked up at Dieu Donne I was positively done. Not like falling all over the place done, but done knowing that if I had more it would end badly.
So we opted out of doing any tasting (because we are responsible even without our children nearby). Instead we went to the restaurant (that we should have had lunch at) and marvelled at the amazing view while sipping espressos and eating an amazing chocolate dessert. If we had more time, this place must be amazing at sunset! You literally have the view of the entire valley! I don’t have a picture because I think I was taking Instagram videos instead, but just go. Trust me.
Our fifth stop was, um… Uhhh, Oh yes. Franschhoek Cellars
At this point we just shared a chocolate and wine tasting. We also sat next to a couple that were visiting from Switzerland. Having not chatted to anyone the whole tour it was actually lovely to connect with other people. We should have done it from the start. Such a great way to really enjoy the experience. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.
At this point I sorta stopped taking pictures. Not on purpose. I struggle to balance the Instagram video verse the picture vs just being there in the moment. I know it sounds silly but there you go.
Our sixth and final stop was Rickety Bridge.
At this point we swapped over to the real Franschhoek Wine Tram. Because I forgot to mention, up to this point we were on the wine bus. That goes on the road. The tram only goes to Grande Provence or Rickety Bridge. The couple we met also decided to do Rickety Bridge over Grande Provence. It was lovely but after seeing the people coming back from Grande Provence with chocolates and all these other amazing things, I was sad again. Damn that FOMO.
I didn’t even try any of the wine at Rickety Bridge but the others said it was lovely. Although at this point of the tour can you really take anyone seriously? I don’t think sooooo. But I’m sure it really was lovely. I like where this venue is set though, nestled into a mountainside (or rather hillside) – very green and lush feeling.
Then it was time to head home. So we collected our goodies from the tram office (any wine you buy gets sent there and then you collect it at the end – pretty sweet).
We got back to the hotel and then I lay down. And that my friends was it for the night. I just couldn’t anymore. Lights OUT! I don’t know how, but Seth proceeded to go out to the nearby restaurant and have dinner all on his own. Sometimes I forget I’m like half his size and we can’t actually drink the same amount of anything.
All of this said, I’d love to go back on the tour with a bigger group of friends. Maybe my birthday or something. But with the hindsight of how to do the tour right:
- Drink WAY more water
- Eat more food along the way
- Talk to more people
- Don’t finish everything in every glass of every tasting – it’s OK
- Take more photos!