You’ve definitely driven past it. You can’t have missed it. If you’ve ever visited the scenic town of Franschhoek, one of the first markers signalling your arrival is the Roman-esque pillars of The Franschhoek Cellars building. It’s a Franschhoek landmark of sorts. And landmarks certainly seem to be a central theme at The Franschhoek Cellar, with their wine range harking back to historic local landmarks such as the Sauvignon Blanc ‘Statue de Femme’, the ‘Our Town Hall’ Chardonnay and the ‘Stone Bridge’ Pinotage. This balance between heritage and state-of-the-art facilities comfortably fits the place, as there seems to be something for everyone. Our welcoming hosts, Marguerite (Digital Manager) and Ryan (Winemaker), show us around. Between the wine and cheese pairing (“we also offer wine and chocolate pairings and an entire Pinotage tasting experience!” adds Marguerite), the lapa and Mountain View venues and the nifty children’s entertainment space, you could quite easily spend an entire day here.
Perhaps our best spot was the ‘Platform Bar & Bistro’, an old railway platform which has been remodelled to mimic a train carriage. It’s quite fitting as well, as the tourist-favourite Franschhoek wine tram has one of its stops at the Franschhoek Cellar, before it continues to amble through the rest of the valley’s wine farms. Platform Bar & Bistro is located right alongside the mountain, with stunning views and booth-style seating ideal for small groups to cosy up and sip wine in the colder months. However, for a balmy summer day, we decided to head outside to sit in the garden. Marguerite brought out a Bellingham Bernard Series – Old Vine Chenin Blanc to pair with our grilled Cajun Spice Squid and Sesame Seared Tuna (all YUM).
“Bellingham? Wait. How does Bellingham fit into the Franschhoek Cellar picture?” we asked. Marguerite smiled and said: “Simple, Bellingham, Brampton and Franschhoek Cellar are all under the DGB group, and so we house Bellingham here to give the range exposure and a tasting room, as the Bellingham winery is not open to visitors.”
“The wine industry is never boring,” adds Ryan. “In fact, you can’t be. You have to keep innovating and offer as much as possible.”
We can’t argue with that.
The Franschhoek Cellar is open daily, 8am – 6pm, and 5pm on Sundays.