Quick Facts: Wellington
- Famous Brandy industry
- Day trips include the wine, brandy and fruit routes
- The historic Cape Winelands towns of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are in close proximity
- 5 scenic mountain passes are nearby
- Art galleries and Museum
- Home to many award winning wine estates which produce excellent red and white wines
- Wellington Museum
- Wine and Brandy Cellars
- Hiking trails
- Mountain Bike rides
- Bain’s Kloof Pass
Distance to Airport: 70 km
If you’re looking for a compact, easy-to-drive wine route outside of Cape Town, then consider a meander through Wellington valley and the majestic Groenberg and Hawekwa Mountains that encircle it. The climate and soil here in the heart of the Boland produces some of the top wines and brandies in the country – winning Wellington the first Novare Trophy for SA Terroir Top Wine Area.
Wellington is a picturesque valley situated at the foot of the Groenberg on the banks of the Komme Rivier and forms the centre of the Cape Winelands in South Africa's Western Cape Province. The town of Wellington lies at the bottom on the oldest mountain passes in South Africa called Bain's Kloof which was built by A.G. Bain, a master road-builder. The pass up to Bain's Kloof winds through pine tree plantations, to the summit where, on a clear day, you can see a vast area, consisting of the Swartland to the left, home of the extensive wheat fields, the Cape Flats and Cape Town to the right, and the sun glimmering on the sea.
Wellington is located 45 minutes and 75km north-east of Cape Town. It can be reached by the N1 highway and the R44 route. Originally known as Limiet Valley (border or frontier valley), this area of South Africa became known as Val Du Charron or Wagenmakersvallei (Valley of the Wagonmaker) towards the end of the 17th century when the French Huguenots settled here. After the eventual establishment of the town in 1840, the name was changed to Wellington in honour of the Duke of Wellington, renowned soldier and conqueror of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. Due to its excellent soil and climatic condition most of the best vineyards in South Africa are found here.
Wellington produces wine, table grapes, citrus fruit and is home to the famous brandy industry. Visitors may enjoy the magnificent scenery of fynbos, wine, olives and historical buildings either by foot, horse or by car. There are Cape Dutch and Victorian architecture (20 declared National Monuments).
Wine Estates in Wellington, South Africa
Bovlei Wine Estate
Bovlei lies at the foot of the Hawekwa Mountains marking the gateway to Bainskloof Pass. Wellington town centre is within easy reach, as are Bovlei Valley Retreat and 5 Mountains Lodge. The Bovlei cellar dates back to 1907, making it one of the oldest cooperative wineries in the country. It produces a varied range of affordable, easy-drinking wines and is popular for excellent wine specials.
Diemersfontein Wine Estate
Diemersfontein is a beautiful country estate with four-star accommodation in the foothills of the Hawekwa Mountains. Its rise to fame is largely owing to the signature wine, a chocolate coffee pinotage. This seductive red has a fan club of its very own, with a party – Pinotage-on-Tap – held in its honour each year. An array of activities is offered aside from wine tasting, including horse riding, cellar tours, picnics and vineyard tractor rides.
Doolhof Wine Estate
Described as the ‘jewel of the Bovlei valley’, Doolhof Estate has retained a certain grandeur from the past. The restored Cape Dutch Manor now houses the Grand Dédale Country House, a lavish excuse to enjoy much more than a taste of Doolhof wine. In keeping with the meaning of the name (meaning labyrinth), the estate has a labyrinth in the gardens for visitors to explore. For the more active there is a river walk with several picnic sites en route.
Wamakersvallei Wine Estate
Wamakersvallei is a worthwhile stopover on the scenic Wellington route. The estate is home to the world-acclaimed La Cave wines and easy-drinking, value-for-money Bain’s Way range. Explore the underground cellar that gave La Cave its name, sample rare vintages in the tasting room and learn the story behind the name ‘Valley of the Wagons’.
Welbedacht Estate (Schalk Burger & Sons) Wine Estate
If you’re familiar with South African rugby then you’ll know the name Schalk Burger. Whether on or off the field, the Burger family is proving to be a fierce contender for top South African wine. Award winning wines include Welbedacht Cricket Pitch and their Meerkat Sun Angel 2008. The estate dates back to the 1830s and has been beautifully restored.