Winding and wining along the West Coast

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” I love this quote by Iris Murdoch, and I can’t help but think of the planets out there without wine too… What lucky earthlings we are.

Spring is the ultimate time to take a wine-tasting trip along the West Coast. The winter rains have left the landscape green and saturated – and absolutely adorned with wild flowers, from vygies and daisies to lilies and roses.


The drive to Groote Post on the compact Darling wine route is a flower route all on its own. While on a recent bloom-hunting trip, we pop into this 18th-century farm, via a dirt road off the West Coast road, the R27, to taste their wines.


It’s a bright, blue spring day; at the entrance, large granite boulders support both an antique slave bell (the one on the wine labels) and a sun dial.


The tasting room is hidden inside the historic homestead, through the cellar. It’s a cool and welcoming space to try the wines. The highlights for me are the MCC, the Pinot Noir (2013), Kapokberg Chardonnay and the Chenin Blanc. All luscious, fruit-forward wines.


There are hints to this farm’s long history throughout – and the restaurant is the stuff of legends too. Called Hilda’s Kitchen, it was named after Hildagonda Duckitt, author of the notable Hilda’s ‘Where Is It?’ and Hilda’s Diary of Cape Housekeeping. In the early 18th century she called Groote Post “dear old home”.


On the way out we take the Darling route in the opposite direction to the way we entered and are rewarded with a spectacular spring flower show as we drive.

We wind up our trip at the Postberg section of West Coast National Park for a braai among the flowers while, of course, enjoying a bottle of Groote Post wine.

The best way to experience the Namaqua West Coast Wine Route, which is further up the coast, would be to book a couple of day’s accommodation somewhere and take it slow. Our journey this time was too quick to take it in but we’ll be back to explore the rest soon. There’s so much to see and do here. Watch this space, West Coast winding and wining is to be continued…

Though for now, here’s a list of the wine farms in and around Darling, located just an hour out of Cape Town and the perfect start to your West Coast wine-tasting journey:

Kick back and relax at Cloof Wine Estate, where you can enjoy the wide range of wines in the rustic tasting room or on the lawn – light lunches are also available. (Tel: 022 492 2839.)

Darling Cellars has a varied range of wines for you to try plus, rather interestingly, a white blend inspired by ‘lime kilns’ which were ‘built in years gone by to burn sea shells to form lime which the farmers used on their lands’. (Tel: 022 492 2276.)

It’s all in the terroir at Ormonde Vineyards. Growing prolifically on the farm is the endemic Gladiolus carinatus, commonly known as bloupypie, and the team here ascribes their unique wines to the unique soils. (Tel: 022 492 3540.)

For more information on these farms, head to

 - Malu Lambert