Without a doubt, when Hubs and I booked our holiday to the Western Cape, the first thing that leapt into my mind was ‘We HAVE to do the Franschhoek Wine Tram‘. I’ve seen so many people talk about it in their own blog posts and on social media, and it seemed like such a fun way to visit multiple farms and really soak in the atmosphere in Franschhoek.
We opted for the Purple Line for a few reasons: –
They had just updated the routes
It stops at Boschendal, home to my favourite wine, and one of the first farms I’d ever visited
It stops at Vrede en Lust, somewhere we badly wanted to go
I recognised a lot of other names on the route that were on our list of places we’d like to see if we had the time.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram Hop-On Hop-Off Experience
So, before I start telling you about our experience on the Franschhoek Wine Tram, let me tell you some of the important details.
- A ticket costs R220pp (R90 for children between 3-17 years old).
- Wine Tastings are not included in the price, but are very affordable on the farms.
- The trip starts and ends at the ticket office in Franschhoek Village.
- You can organise transfers from Cape Town and back if you want to seriously get your tasting boots on.
- You can choose to stop for 35min or an hour and 10min at each farm. I think you can stay longer, but it shortens the number of stops you can make. A quick tasting can be done in 35min but why would you want to be rushed?
- One can stop a maximum of 6 times, so even though you’ll have more stops on the route, you have to choose which ones are more up your alley.
The Purple Line has the following stops:
- Allee Bleue
- Plaisir de Merle
- Vrede en Lust
- Noble Hill
- Glen Carlou
We were able to book tickets for the Franschhoek Wine Tram for Heritage Day – what an amazing way to spend our public holiday! The weather was bright and sunny (one of the only days that was so while we were there), but with a bit of a nip in the air. We made the hour or so drive from Greenpoint (where my sister lives) to Franschhoek after stopping and grabbing some croissants and coffees to go at Knead bakery.
We decided to give the first stop, Allee Bleue a skip, purely because I was so excited to be going back to Boschendal and couldn’t wait to introduce Hubs to the beautiful farm and their wines.
We started big, and tried 5 of the whites, blush and rosé wines, and 5 reds. All of the wines that I have tried from the farm I’ve enjoyed, so I wanted to get a wider taste of what Boschendal has to offer. At R55 for the standard wine tasting of 5 of these wines, it was very decently priced too. They do offer much more elaborate tastings, as well as a chocolate and wine pairing (R95).
Of the lighter wines, my personal favourite was the Chardonnay Pinot Noir, a delightfully crisp blush with hints of berries at the nose. This would be so lovely on a hot summer day served with a salad packed with baby spinach, feta cheese, avocado and chopped up strawberries.
Of the reds, my all-time favourite wine OBVIOUSLY came out tops (yes, I know what it tastes like, but I had to sip it while in it’s home territory). The Boschendal 1685 Shiraz is honestly my go to red wine, it’s delicious and fruity and so easy to drink. I’ve bought this wine more times than I can count on both hands!
I also really enjoyed the 1685 S & M blend – a blend of 63% Shiraz and 37% Mourvèdre that is sublime. It’s fruity, slightly spicy and luscious. Definitely one to put on the list for when the chillier weather hits again!
We spent some time wondering around the property after our tasting, as the surroundings are so beautiful.
From Boschendal we had planned on stopping at either Zorgvliet or Plaisir de Merle, however our lovely tour guide on the bus (you vary between bus and tram on the tour) told us that Vrede en Lust actually had a Lindt chocolate and wine pairing, but you had to book. We scrambled to call the farm, and see if they had space for us and two lovely Israeli tourists who were also on the bus, and they could fit us in as long as we made it our next stop. It was LINDT AND WINE, so obviously we made that happen!
Between Boschendal and Vrede en Lust we switched from the bus to the tram itself, where we were actually given a tasting of one of the Vrede en Lust white wines (I forget which one I was so excited by everything, whoops). The tram is absolutely gorgeous and we flew past the most beautiful scenery on our way through.
The Vrede en Lust farm and their tasting room are absolutely gorgeous. Just before you step into the building you see the most gorgeous view of the vineyards and the mountains in the background.
The Lindt chocolate and wine tasting is R100pp and you taste 6 different wines paired with 6 different Lindt chocolate flavours.
You will not believe me when I say I saved each wine and it’s paired chocolate in a little document on my phone, and I seem to have accidentally deleted it. Let me just say that all of the Lindt flavours were dark chocolate, and there were three white wines and three reds. The whites were paired with Sea Salt chocolate, Orange Intense chocolate and Roasted Sesame chocolate. The three reds were paired with the Caramel & Sea Salt chocolate, Roasted Hazelnut chocolate and Chilli chocolate.
Let me just say that this was the most awesome experience, and if you’re a chocoholic like me, definitely well worth it. You’re getting almost a full slab of Lindt in total, plus 6 wine tastings! Each pairing has been well thought out, and the flavour explosions you get from the combination are amazing.
For future reference, although we didn’t taste it on this visit, Hubs and I have been really enjoying drinking the Vrede en Lust Jess rosé – I even mentioned it on my Instagram feed HERE. We convinced the lovely Israeli girls sitting with us to give it a try, and they ended up buying a bottle!
After two very varied tastings, we were a little wine-d out to be honest – how pitiful and only on our second farm! We were also reminded that we had made evening plans, and we really didn’t want to be too under the weather, or too tired to go through with them, seeing as we were in the Cape for such a short time. So we decided to stop at Backsberg and sit down for something to eat. The tour guide insisted that Backsberg was her favourite farm of the route for lunch.
Now, to be fair, we’d only eaten a croissant first thing in the morning, and we’d had a decent bit of wine, so we were pretty starving. But I was a bad blogger and completely neglected any photos of the beautiful farm, but we grabbed a pretty table outside and ordered a big jug of water and a Winelands Platter (R400 of locally sourced cheeses, preserves, spreads, nuts, fresh bread, quiches, spring rolls, summer salad, fruit skewers, lamb cutlets, smoked chicken, beef sausage and hake goujons that serves 2-4 people).
Guys. We ordered this platter thinking it would be great for 3 of us, and we’d not be TOO stuffed later for dinner. In fact, we purposely didn’t have their lamb on the spit special that seemed amazing, as we didn’t want to be too full. WRONG! The most gorgeous, fresh and filling tray of food arrived at our table and I immediately leapt up to snap photos. I’m sure you saw it on my Instagram feed.