1. Hamilton Russell Vineyards
Love your Pinot Noir or Chardonnay? Then make a point of stopping at Hamilton Russell Vineyards. Founded in 1975, the philosophy here is to express the terroir in the wines; to focus on these two varieties and produce them to the highest possible standard. This vineyard has pioneered much of what you see now in the Hemel-en-Aarde region: top quality, innovative wine and the tasting room overlooks a beautiful, peaceful dam.
2. Bouchard Finlayson
A boutique wine farm in the Hemel-en-Aarde, or Heaven-on-Earth, Bouchard Finlayson focuses on Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc and makes use of the latest equipment and technology to ensure the top notch quality. Pop in to the Bouchard Finlayson cellars for a tasting – three wines for R20 and 6 wines for R40 and if you would like a cellar tour, simply book ahead.
You can’t miss Ataraxia – the wine lounge is a beautiful white chapel set high above the vines. Ataraxia was founded in 2004 but husband and wife team, Kevin and Hanli Grant, in partnership with friends. The landscape is simply awe-inspiring – the views from the top of the Hemel-en-Aarde valley are worth the dirt road to get there. Taste the wines in peace: an unwooded Sauvignon Blanc, a wooded Chardonnay and a red blend called ‘Serenity’. How apt.
4. Newton Johnson
Newton Johnson is a family business, founded in 1995 by father, Dave, and his wife Felicity. Sons Bevan and Gordon are now involved and continue to pioneer in the area, focusing on perfecting techniques in the vineyard and cellar that enhance the terroir. Newton Johnson is also renowned for its restaurant and chef, Eric Bulpitt. Go for the six course tasting menu for a real treat.
If you’ve only got one day to explore the region, put Creation on the list. Founded in 2002 by Jean-Claude and Carolyn Martin, it is almost miraculous that such an exquisite place with its vines, wine, views and tasting room has only been here for 14 years. Sustainability is important here too. Book ahead for a paired wine and food tasting – there’s even a family room for the little people to enjoy too.
6. Restless River
Vines were planted here at Restless River in 1999 and so you can expect to see some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay vineyards in the valley. This is the place to go for a truly personal wine tasting experience. Phone in advance and you’ll be shown around the vineyards, given a tour of the cellar and a unique barrel tasting experience and be able to enjoy a charcuterie and cheese platter whilst sitting on the jetty.
Keen to explore this heavenly valley? We hope so. Give us a call and we will gladly arrange an itinerary for you.