If you’ve been looking for a great weekend day trip within 90 minutes’ drive from Cape Town, we’ve got just the spot – Pulpit Rock Winery in the Riebeek Valley is waiting to welcome you, and they’ve got a whole lot of fun things to see and do while you’re there.
The winery is the passion project of the Brink family – one of the earliest farming families to settle in the Riebeek Valley. Winemaking has always been in the Brink blood and the dream to make their own wine had lingered for decades. Groot Constantia approached Grandpa Brink to become their winemaker in 1918, but the time was not yet ripe. It was only when the patriarch’s son Ernst sent his own two sons to further their studies that the stars would finally align.
Today, the family’s state-of-the-art cellars are situated along the foothills of the Kasteelberg Mountain. Named for the craggy rock ‘pulpit’ that overlooks it from above, this award-winning winery boasts two vast barrel maturation cellars with a combined 5000-tonne production capacity, and an innovative team that drives a variety of exciting on-site initiatives.
Here are three fun things you can get up to at Pulpit Rock this weekend:
Climb Kasteelberg Mountain
AVAILABLE: Daily, within office hours
Pulpit Rock recently launched a brand-new hiking route that is open to the public. The trail is approximately 4km in length, but covers quite a steep elevation on the way up. Moderately fit hikers will be rewarded for their trouble by an unprecedented view over the valley from the top. The entire route takes around 3 hours to complete and hikers should announce themselves at reception before hitting the trail. Hiking is allowed outside of office hours, but this has to be arranged with the winery prior to arrival (ideally the day before or earlier).
Tour the cellar with a winemaker
AVAILABLE: For groups of 10 or more, expressly with prior arrangement
If you’ve always wanted to go on a guided cellar tour at a large, productive winery, this is the place to do so. Dewald Huisamen, Pulpit Rock’s winemaker, is one of those rare individuals who has a wealth of knowledge about this trade, but is also able to explain it in a fun and informative way that won’t bore you to tears. When you join him on a tour of the cellars, the technical explanations of the winemaking process are interspersed with comical asides and inspiring introductions to a selection of excellent wines.
If you’re running short on time, or don’t have a group of ten or more wine enthusiasts assembled, you can always opt for a regular wine tasting at reception (Monday to Friday, 10:00 to 17:00; Saturdays from 10:00 to 14:00). If you happen to visit the winery between 14:00 and 16:00 on a Saturday, or between 09:00 and 16:00 on a Sunday, tastings will be conducted in the Wine & Snack Bar upstairs.
TOP TIP: Pulpit Rock Winery is one of the only cellars in the Riebeek Valley that offer tastings on a Sunday.
Enjoy lunch with a breath-taking view
The Wine & Snack Bar at Pulpit Rock Winery is open from 09:00 – 16:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. Here you can sit down to breakfast, lunch, platters and a full spectrum of drinks, ranging from wine, to beer, gin cocktails and soft drinks. Pulpit Rock wines are served at tasting room prices. However, this spot’s major drawing card is the view.
From the stoep of the Wine & Snack Bar, visitors overlook the vast expanse of the Riebeek Valley as it unfurls from the foothills of Kasteelberg Mountain all the way to the Witzenberg mountain range that stands sentry where the Swartland spills over into Tulbagh territory. From this vantage point it’s easy to understand why so many artists take up residence in the Riebeek Valley – it is utterly magnificent.
Our recommendation? If you love the meaty things in life, pair the Shiraz platter (cheese and charcuterie with fresh fruit, two preserves, fresh bread and crackers) and a side of plankie steak with a bottle of the Louisa Cape Blend 2014, which is named for the formidable matriarch of the family and has since become the flagship red wine of Pulpit Rock Wines.
Alternatively, keep things light and breezy with a Chenin Blanc Platter (chunky vegetables served with mini vegetable quiches, mini vegetable spring rolls and dips), alongside a bowl of olives and stuffed peppadews, paired with the Brink Family Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2018 – a fresh and fruity vintage with tropical aromas and an attractive minerality that underpins its beguiling vibrancy.
So, there you have it – three fun things you can get up to at Pulpit Rock Winery in the Riebeek Valley this weekend. Best of all? You can do all of this without having to move from one location to the next, which is ideal if you’re in the mood for a quick daytrip from Cape Town. Simply programme Pulpit Rock Winery into your GPS or mobile map application, and you’re set for a full day of fun within 90 minutes’ drive from Cape Town CBD. We look forward to welcoming you in the Swartland!