Gone are the days where wine farms simply cater to tourists and wine connoisseurs. Going out to a wine farm, especially in the Western Cape, can be a fun day out for the entire family to enjoy. This is because wine farms are realising that catering for the children (regardless of age) is a big draw for parents who are of course the spenders!
They realize (or at least I hope this is the reasoning) that parents do still want to do fun things themselves while spending time with their kids. So many are ensuring that there is some form of entertainment for the kids such as jungle gyms, jumping castles and some even go so far as to dedicate some demarcated space just for the kids so that parents can relax and do a spot of wine tasting. It’s big business keeping parents entertained but in the end both families and wine establishments benefit.
Here, Mombabbles does a roundup of some of the most child friendly wine farms and wine cellars in and around Cape Town.
1. Allee Bleue, Franschhoek
Relax in the shade of the oak trees with a picnic at Allee Bleue. There’s also a jungle gym, jumping castle and trampoline to keep the children entertained.
Mombabbles loves: The fact that there’s a kiddies picnic basket (R95 per child under age 12), which includes homemade pizza, fresh sweet potato chips, carrot sticks, a selection of cheeses, nuts and cold meats and a sugar cone with berries and homemade ice cream.
2. Blaauklippen Family Market
Get out on a Sunday to enjoy Blaauklippen’s market, which is perfect for all the family. There’s plenty of shade under the fig trees and the market, for the most part is shaded too.
Mombabbles loves: The fact that there are lots of rides, bouncy castles, etc., to keep the children entertained. Take a tractor ride among the vineyards.
3. Constantia Uitsig Wine Estate
Open Door restaurant launched in 2015 and has been going strong ever since. I reckon part of it is down to its demarcated children’s playground, which I have yet to take my family to. But it’s tricky as the place books out fast so make a booking.
Mombabbles loves: The fact that it’s also got an amazing bike park, which is open seven days a week from 8am till 6pm and is diverse enough to challenge bikers of all ages and skill levels. Entry to the bike park is a reasonable R50 per day or R750 per year and there’s a special off-peak price of R30 if you are able to make use of the facilities between 8-9am daily.
4. Dunstone in Wellington
There’s a family friendly bistro, which specializes in home-made country cuisine and boasts a kids menu offering the usual favorites like burgers, pizza, milkshakes, pancakes and toasted cheese sandwiches. There’s a jungle gym, sandpit and toys to play with. Mombabbles loves: There’s the Stone Kitchen which offers kiddie snacks and a play area to keep them occupied. Get your kids to stroke the pot belly pigs, feed the horses and wander through the orchards.
5. Excelsior wine estate
This Ashton based estate boasts about doing roosterbrood sandwiches which are freshly baked and can be accompanied with your choice of gourmet fillings from the deli, Graze. Mombabbles loves: The website says that Graze is situated on the bank of the farm’s dam with a large lawn in front of it where they encourage the kids to play. There’s also a jungle gym, sandpit and kids can help feed the horses. In summer there’s a child minder who takes the children fishing on the jetty.
6. Groot Constantia
If you live in Cape Town and don’t want to drive too far the Constantia Wine Route is always a winner. Luckily a few of the wine farms on it have turned child friendly too. A firm favorite is Groot Constantia with its wide open spaces. Take a stroll through the vines or along the ponds and the drives. It used to have a jungle gym and sandpit for the kids but it got torn down because, according to some, it clashed with the farm’s natural heritage. But when Mombabbles contacted Groot Constantia it said it would bring one back again…we’re still waiting.
It’s perfect for photo shoots – I had mine done with my youngest son. Groot Constantia really makes for a great backdrop. But remember to get your photographer to get permission to shoot there.
Mombabbles loves: The fact that you can feed the ducks with your kids. The vast open spaces and the markets.
7. (The) Franschoek Cellar
We had lunch here on our wedding anniversary this month and it was a great. Enjoy scrumptious well-cooked and prepared food, local lager and wines while your children play in a dedicated space that is shaded and has minders ensuring they don’t get hurt or into mischief. They have a kids menu and baby chairs if you request them. The only thing that was unfortunate was that they don’t accept corkage – so you can’t bring your own bubbly like we did. They prefer it if you order from their wine list instead.
Mombabbles loves: The fact that the child area is so well kitted. Children can draw in coloring in books, clamber on the jungle gyms, draw on the chalk painted walls and race around the track on their scooters. One child minder dedicated her time to clambering around the jungle gym with my one year old – needless to say, I gave her a tip.
Parents can enjoy four wine pairing options: chocolate and wine, olives and wine, charcuterie and wine and cheesecake and MCC Sparkling wine. The kids aren’t left out as they can enjoy a grape juice tasting experience. There’s wood-fired thin based pizzas – they even have gluten free and banting options. Kids meals are also on offer.
There’s a jungle gym but those in the know warn that it’s across a farm road so it’s more suitable for older kids who don’t need to be supervised. It’s still within sight of the tasting area though.
Mombabbles loves: According to lovemycapetown, the kids tables have coloring books and crayons and dough balls can be ordered to play with.
9. Lourensford Wine Estate
There’s entertainment for adults and children alike. Parents can enjoy a wine and chocolate tasting and the kids can join in the fun with a grape juice tasting that is paired with biscuits and cheese. For a roundup on what’s on offer in December 2016 and beyond, click here.
Mombabbles loves: The fact that it promotes child entrepreneurs. On December 4th they had a Young Entrepreneurs Mini Market – and we’re sure they will have many more. For the sporting family there’s lots of hikes and trail runs organized on a regular basis. If you prefer something more leisurely roam around the Twilight Market.
10. Middevlei wine estate
While you enjoy a nice glass of wine the kids can play in the sandpit, feed the farm animals, ride on the kick bikes or braai their own marshmallows. Once they’ve worked up more of an appetite why not buy a snack box (R54 per child), which includes: pot brood, boerewors, fruit juice, jellytots and Niknaks.
Mombabbles loves: The sheer fact that kiddies are catered for. There’s even a juice tasting which are matched with a selection of sweets. There’s activity pages and a packet of wine gums included.
11. Rhebokskloof Wine Estate, Paarl
If you love picnics, Rhebokskloof claim they are famous for them. They’ve held various kinds, including outdoor, moonlight and concert picnics. “Children’s picnics are packaged on a wooden stick filled with delicious eats and they will beg you to return to Rhebokskloof Wine Estate, with a jumping castle, trampoline, a jungle gym, lush lawns and free pony rides on Sundays between 12h00 – 14h00,” says the estate on its website.
Mombabbles loves: This wine farm specializes in hosting birthday parties. In summer the parties are hosted by the lakeside but if your child is born in winter he or she can have the party at the Rhebok venue. Find out more on the Romping Rascals Facebook page, which predominately hosts parties at Rhebokskloof but at other venues too.
12. Rickety Bridge Winery, Franschhoek
My husband and I married here eight years ago and the place has changed dramatically since then. What pleases me is the it’s become more child-friendly.
Mombabbles loves: The jungle gym and open grass area with a boules pitch. Perfect for families to run around and get a bit competitive. It’s not shaded though so make sure the kids are wearing loads of sunscreen. Franschhoek can get extremely hot in the summer particularly!
According to blogger ‘The Stellenbosch Mom’, this wine farm’s deli and restaurants are child friendly with a grown up feel. The owner appreciates fine arts and outside the deli you can view sculptures from a number of South African artists while your kids play on the organic jungle gyms.
Mombabbles loves: The Deli Shop offers treats for adults and children alike. Choose from Tokara’s own extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil, kalamata olives and olive paste, to handmade Belgian chocolate truffles, local and imported charcuterie, award-winning South African cheeses and aromatic coffee. Don’t forget to take part in the complimentary olive oil tasting.
Meanwhile, kids can climb up onto the bird’s nest in an old oak tree and relax on leather pouffes. In winter there’s children’s books for the kids to read and some crates filled with toys for them to play with.
14. Spier Wine Farm, Stellenbosch
If you stay at the hotel there’s a special kids clubhouse with secure childcare services, so you can go wine-tasting knowing that your children are being looked after. While you’re out relaxing the children will be kept busy. Activities on offer include icing biscuits, pizza making, feather arts, farm walks and more. Facilities include two indoor play rooms, two undercover outdoor porches and an outdoor play area.
Mombabbles loves: The fact that there’s lots to do. Take the kids on a picnic, an eagle encounter or segway tour if they are old enough. There’s lots of animals for the kids to meet, including: piglets, rabbits, tortoises and chickens.
15. Vergelegen Estate
The Stables is a family friendly bistro restaurant. Picnic in the remnants of Van der Stel’s Camphor forest for R235 per person (2016- 2017). There’s kiddies baskets for 3-10 year olds at R95 per head and a picnic blanket is provided for them to sit and play on but there’s no seating for the kids at the table.
Mombabbles loves: There’s a jungle gym and the fact that kids are catered for at the picnics. According to Food24 there’s a water feature that can be utilized for paddling.
16. Vergenoed Wine Estate
There’s outdoor games, giant chalk boards to draw on, cookie decorating, a play room and visiting the ducks and ducklings (there are over a 1000 of them) will be more than enough to keep your kids entertained. Click here: http://vergenoegd.co.za/about/kids-entertainment/ to book a family day. There are various experiences to choose from including a ‘Ducklings delight’ kids meal (R125) which includes a surprise, or just pay R75 if you want to exclude it.
Mombabbles Loves: The fact that the playroom has a child minder, leaving the adults to go for a sneaky bit of wine tasting in private. The market which takes place every Saturday is set to start again in September so make a space for your diary to check it out with the family.
17. Warwick Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
Book a picnic for the whole family to enjoy on the lawns or in the picnic pods. Alternatively you can dine in the forest courtyard.
Mombabbles loves: There’s jungle gyms, fountain and plenty of lawn space for the kids to run around in. If you have little ones be sure to book a picnic spot so you can be close to the jungle gyms.
18. Wild Clover
This place has everything! Relax under the oak trees in the Kids Zone with hand-crafted beers or coffees while the kids have fun.
Mombabbles loves: The variety that this place offers. There’s an 80m push bike track around the garden, jungle gyms with swings, monkey bars, slides, sandpits, a pops and tots cycle track and a gentle 4km of road route around the farm where you can do a spot of game viewing. Other activities include archery, clay pigeon shooting and horse riding.
- Read the reviews on the wine farms’ respective Facebook pages to gauge the feedback from parents.
- If in doubt contact the wine farm ahead of your trip to find out what facilities are available and what the rules are surrounding their use, particularly if you have young kids.
- Drink responsibly! Go wine tasting but make use of a spittoon if you have your kids with you and if you are driving.
- Book in advance. Some places are extremely popular and tables and picnic spots get snapped up fast.
- If you’re going in a big group ask if gratuity will automatically be added or if there’s a pre-payment booking that is required.
*Know of any other wine farms that are child friendly? Let Mombabbles know about them and we’ll include them in our post.