See also Encounter Magazine's comprehensive guide on South African Wine Routes.
The fertile valley is where the French first made wine in South Africa 300 years ago. All the noble cultivars and classic styles are produced in the valley. From superb whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Chenin Blanc to the rich reds of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Merlot.
Most wine farms readily welcome visitors for tastings and the picturesque valley also offers some of South Africa's most acclaimed restaurants.
Some of the wine estates in the Franschhoek valley are:
Winemaking at Boschendal dates back to 1685 and is an excellent example of an authentic 18th century complex of farm buildings - each a masterpiece of Cape Dutch architecture. Boschendal produces a distinguished range of distinctive and elegant red, white and sparkling wines, much acclaimed by international connoisseurs. The old wine cellar houses the elegant Boschendal Restaurant, which is open for lunch every day.
The unique underground cellar against the mountains of Franschhoek is famous for its range of quality sparkling wines made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. An estate brandy is made from the seasons last press called Fine de Jourdan.
Chamonix has achieved great success with its Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage. Mountain spring water is bottled too, and Chamonix's latest success, a German-style Schnapps, is distilled in a traditional copper kettle. Tastings or light lunches are served as well as picnic's and the finest a la carté menu at La Maison de Chamonix restaurant.
Dieu Donné make quality wines, concentrating on those cultivars that are best suited to the particular micro-climate and soils. The wines wines have won various awards over a period of time at internatinal wine events.
Franschhoek Vinyards Co-op, the gateway to Franschhoek, is renowned for its award-winning Port, Semillon, and Sauvignon Blanc. The pride, the La Cotte wines, takes the name of one of the old Huguenot farms where wine was first produced.
Haute Provence Vinyards
Produces the Veritas Gold Medal winning Angels' Tears (Larmes des Anges) - the wine based on the famed legend of a French village where angels came at night to taste the new vintage and wept for joy at its excellence. The winery is also noted for its delightful tasting room which is also an art gallery displaying paintings by famous South African artists.
La Bri celebrates almost 310 years of uninterrupted wine growing. The combination of high altitude, generous rainfall and good soils produces elegant, fruity, complex wines of great finesse from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
La Motte Estate
This Estate dates from 1695. In the splendid modern cellar, great care and attention are given to the creation of wines which can compete with the best.
Steeped in the traditions of the French Huguenots, the first vines were already planted in 1694. Today L'Ormarins, under the ownership of the Rupert family, is one of the top wine producing estates in the country.
Mont Rochelle offers tastings of their award-winning wines six days a week. Cellar tours, picnics and horse trails through the vineyards.
Môreson Matin Soleil
At Môreson Matin Soleil you can taste the range of fine wines or combine a wine tasting with an extraordinary meal a variety of Mediterranean dishes are served.
A small winery which lies under the cool, misty mountains behind the monument specialising in wines with an unique Franschhoek flavour.