There is no denying that autumn has arrived and winter is just around the corner. Already the first fires are being lighted in the grates around the tasting rooms of the Cape Winelands.

Whilst wine tasting just by itself is one of my favourite past times, when combined with delectable, well thought out and innovative pairings the entire experience is elevated to the next level and is a gourmet treat.

To arrest the winter blues and as a first stop on my Cape Town wine tour, I head out to Delheim in Stellenbosch to experience their unique cupcake and wine pairing – but be sure to book in advance as cupcakes are freshly baked each day. A founding member of the first wine route in the country in 1971, Delheim really put wine tourism on the map and decades later continues to be innovative. You can look forward to enjoying unique pairings such as their Rooibos cupcake infused with lemon and topped with a cream cheese and honey icing paired with the Delheim Chenin Blanc Wild Ferment.

Cupcakes Delheim
Interesting cupcakes accompanied by delightful Delheim’s wines

A more South African snack you can’t get than biltong (a local speciality much like jerky but nicer!) A couple of wine farms now offer a biltong  and wine pairing but be sure to pop into Marianne wine estate in Stellenbosch where guests are treated to 5 wines paired with three different types of biltong. These include our national animal, the Springbok, paired with our South African varietal, Pinotage; Kudu and Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz and then beef with their flagship Bordeaux blend.

biltong and wine pairing
The author tasting Springbok biltong and Pinotage at Marianne’s wine estate in Stellenbosch

For me cheese is the ultimate accompaniment to wine and Fairview estate outside Paarl is well-known for their cheese and wine pairing. They make more than 20 types of milk and goat’s cheeses. The classic wine and cheese pairing in their modern tasting room includes 6 wines and 8 cheeses and you will be tempted to take some home!

End off on a sweet note by heading to Waterford who put chocolate and wine pairing on the map. Nowadays quite a few farms offer this pairing including Constantia Glen and Groot Constantia in the Constantia wine region, making these a must on your wine tour.

Sitting in front of a crackling fire, nibbling on some artisanal chocolate whilst imbibing the estates latest vintage is what I would call making the most of the Cape Winter and its local delights.

choc and wine tasting
The perfect winter pastime – tasting chocolate and wine at Waterford Wine Estate