With a history that dates back three centuries, this lovely estate is one of the Cape's major attractions. You can easily spend half a day here, and recent renovations have added polish to an already premier estate. Cradled between the Simonsberg and Groot Drakenstein Mountains at the base of Helshoogte Pass, the farm—formerly called Bossendaal—was originally granted to Jean le Long, one of the first French Huguenot settlers in the late 17th century. Boschendal runs one of the most pleasant wine tastings in the region: you can sit inside at the Taphuis, a Cape Dutch langhuis (longhouse), or outside at wrought-iron tables under a spreading oak. In 1981 Boschendal was the first to pioneer a Blanc de Noir, a pink wine made in a white-wine style from black grapes. The Boschendal Blanc de Noir remains one of the best-selling wines of this style. Of the farm's extensive range of wines, a recent addition is the Cecil John range named after Cecil John Rhodes, the late-19th-century
Cape prime minister who owned Rhodes Fruit Farms, of which Boschendal was once a part. There is one premier wine under this label, an impressive Shiraz. From the Taphuis it's a two-minute drive through vines and fruit trees to the main estate complex. The recently renovated Boschendal Restaurant serves a buffet of Cape specialties, and Le Pique Nique (October–May) provides picnic baskets that you can enjoy on the lawns; reservations are essential for both. Hour-long vineyard tours and tours of the manor house are available; be sure to book ahead.
R310, between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, Groot Drakenstein, 7690, South Africa
021-870–4200; 021-870–4211-for winery; 021-870–4272-for restaurants