The Franschhoek Wine Tram experience is the perfect hop-on, hop-off way to explore the amazing wine farms of the area.
Choosing your line
The wine tram offers 8 lines with 4 routes, and to start off, I suggest you pick the one wine farm that is your must see visit. Once you have done that, you can work out which line is best for you. Our choice was Leopard’s Leap which meant we had to choose between the Grey and Pink lines. Each line is space constrained and we were assigned to the Pink line when we booked. After getting our tickets in Franschhoek, we were driven to the terminal and here we were given a line timetable, as well as the activities we could do at each estate. A list of daily specials included discounts, free wine tastings and welcome drinks.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram farms
It is amazing to see how many farms have signed up to partner with this venture. I am listing all the farms we could have visited, with the ones in bold being the farms we stopped at.
- Allèe Bleue
- Atlas Swift
- Dieu Donné
- Franschhoek Cellar
- Grande Provence (all the lines stop at this farm!)
- Haute Cabrière
- Holden Manz
- La Bri
- Le Lude
- Leopard’s Leap
- Mont Rochelle
- Noble Hill
- Rickety Bridge
- Vrede en Lust
The earlier you start the more you can see
The wine tram starts operating at 9.30 am and if you get onto the first departure, you will be able to stop at 6 wine estates comfortably. As you can see, we only made it to 4 of the estates. We could have done one more, but decided that the crowd was too rowdy for us to continue on. My suggestion is that you start early and make sure you are at one of the estates that offer lunch, at midday. Once you have eaten, you can then continue on with tastings. The transport will arrive at each farm every half hour so you can stay in increments of 30 minutes at each estate.
Other than wine tastings
Some of the farms offer activities, other than wine tastings and pairings, which you may need to book for. These include the following:
- Art Exhibits (the sculpture garden at Grand Provence is amazing)
- Cellar and Terroir Tours
- Children Centred Activities
- Craft Market
- Farm Sanctuary
- Game Drives
- Gin Tasting
- High Tea
- Horse Drawn Carriage Rides
- Lawn Games
- Olive Oil Tasting
- Wine Challenges and Blending
Quite a few of the farms offer meals, some of which you need to book for. We had lunch at Grand Provence, turning our MCC and Oyster Pairing into a proper meal with a cheese platter. Haute Carbière has a bakery and deli and they do light meals. Leopard’s Leap have a harvest table which you need to book for. The food looked amazing as we could see into the open kitchen when we were there and I can highly recommend the setting for a great, relaxing meal. There is also a deli at Maison and Grande Provence, a farm shop at Babylonstoren and a food market at Plaisir. Food platters are on offer at Paserene and The Wagon Trail eatery and brewery at Anura offers great meals, or you can eat at Noble Hill.
I cannot rave about this experience enough. The tour guides on the trams are well spoken and very knowledgeable about the estates we visited. We were told about each farm, its history, as well as which wines were the best on offer. The trams were on time so we were never left waiting or wondering if we would be collected. I loved the train ride, which included a welcome drink and made the day extremely memorable. We bought wine, and this was left on the tram. A sticker was placed onto the box and I was given the matching one to keep. When we ended our day at the Franschhoek terminal all I had to do was go in and give the staff my sticker. And they located the box of wine amongst the piles set aside.
Save South African Wine
The hashtags #savesoutharicanwine and #jobssaveslives, came about at the start of the Covid Pandemic in April 2020. Alcohol sales were banned with the ban only lifting at the end of July. These 4 months saw our wine farmers and their labourers lives in peril and only made worse when the ban was put back in place in December 2020. Another couple of months meant a devastating loss to our economy which hopefully will not have a long term effect. To that end, if you are in the area, please consider this one of your activities. You will have so much fun, and the cost is quite reasonable. Take a look at their website for more comprehensive information.
Inspiration published on Lavender and Lime February 9:
- 2020: Home Truths
- 2018: Ricotta
- 2015: Peanut Butter And Choc Chip Cookies
- 2013: Grootbos Nature Reserve Month Of Love
- 2012: Biscuits for Valentines Day
- 2011: Dukkah