Yes you will find wine tasting in the Drakensberg and Kwazulu Natal Midlands. The wine scene in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and Drakensberg has been developing for some years now. These amazing wine tasting options of the region are still largely unknown. A number of established wineries consistently producing own-brand bottled wine across a variety of styles and categories has created an informal Drakensberg & Midlands wine route.
The region is regulated under the Wine of Origin scheme as comprising the districts of Central Drakensberg, which is home to Cathedral Peak Wines; and, Lions River, where Highgate and the oldest of the wine estates, Abingdon Estate, ply their trade along the popular Midlands Meander Route.
These wine estate are very much boutique in size and are the leading edge of a growing local interest in wine. The Kwazulu Natal Midlands lends itself well to leisurely pursuits like wine tasting.
1. Highgate Wine Estate
Highgate Wine Estate has produced wine since 2009 and was the realisation of a dream for Rudi and Cindy Kassier. They started on the wine route as a hobby, but the more fulfilment it brought, the more they invested. Soon he realised the cottage he was using was too small and the idea for a residential wine estate – KZN’s first – was born. Importantly, it would incorporate a new wine cellar run by a trained winemaker. The estate development comprises 58ha with 26 residential homesteads, most of which have been sold. Today, Pinotage makes up the biggest component followed by Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Highgate Wine Estate cellar processed its first harvest in 2018. Wine Tastings and wine tours are very worth while here at Highgate Wine Estate.
2. Abingdon Estate
Abingdon Estate is situated on the side of a hill down a quiet gravel road. Parts of the property not covered by vines are shrouded by trees, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular with city day-trippers eager for a lunch stopover during jaunts to the country. Visitors to Abingdon can enjoy tastings of their wines as well as tapas-style meals under the oaks. Abingdon Wine Estate has 4ha under vine. The Kwazulu Natal climate climate means the wines often have more in common with regions like the Loire and Rhone regions of France than the Western Cape. Wines from Abingdone Estate really are unique. The tasting room with a small tapas-style restaurant is often filled. Inevitably though the success of the wine quality has brought more customers to the Abingdon tasting room.
3. Cathedral Peak Estate
The road towards Cathedral Peak Wine Estate and the mountains near Winterton takes you through rolling hills and villages. Beyond, the Drakensberg looms. The first sight of vines arrives suddenly, over a rise where the sprawled blankets of soya bean and wheat, open onto to neat, trellised rows. Enjoy a glass of wine with cheese and cold meat platter or a regional specialty like Drakensberg Smoked Trout Salad. The wine cellar is currently being expanded even further with hopes to have an own-distilled product on the shelves of the tasting room soon to supplement an extensive range of single variety Jerepigo wines. Visitors will soon be able to pick their own table grapes (planted to be ripe exactly during peak school holidays) to go with picnics of bread, cheese and wine.