For those who love wine, heading to a winery over the weekend is a spirited breeze…when no children are involved. No one but a parent knows the pain of trying to leave the house with fully clothed, happy-ish children and heading to a venue that won’t cause an utter meltdown. Now imagine trying to enjoy a wine tasting whilst you have a bored kid climbing all over you. It’s pretty impossible, unless you know the best family-friendly wineries.
Obviously, there are many other outings that a family can go on that don’t include wine, but when you live in an award-winning, exciting wine country that is constantly wowing palates across the world, why wouldn’t you want to see what all the fuss is about?
With that being said, I’m hardly going to be taking Rosie on a cellar tour anytime soon, or sitting with a winemaker and talking about the harvest, these days we pick our wineries very carefully and whether the wine is a gold medallist doesn’t always matter.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for family-friendly wineries to visit with your kids, or a location to have a coffee date with other moms in your circle, then this list is for you.
Here, in no particular order, are the wineries that have been nominated by other parents, as well as myself for being family-friendly:
- Franschhoek Cellar
Undoubtedly one of the most stressful parts of heading to any venue, family-friendly or not, is knowing that you need to keep your kids entertained when you get there. Franschhoek Cellar takes care of that concern and then some with their amazing covered and completely protected and supervised play area. Whilst you’re sipping a glass of wine and digging into a burger, you know your kids are having a ball.
It’s easy to spend the entire day at Spier; with ample lawns, gardens and play areas, kids can let off steam and tuck into a delicious picnic or farm-to-table food at Eight restaurant all under the watchful eye of their parent.
Heading to Spier just for a wine tasting? There is a juice tasting option for kids too which means you can all enjoy the experience. For the older kids, Segway Tours are available of the farm (this is such a must-do) and close-up interaction with falcons, hawks and owls can be enjoyed at the Eagle Encounter.
For hotel guests, they have a fantastic kids club that provides hands-on activities and imaginary play for children aged 2-12 giving parents a chance to have some adult time alone.
Aside from making one of my favorite Sauvignon Blancs, Warwick makes the most delicious picnics (you can read my previous post about them here) and their estate is almost a wonderland for children. When the weather is clear, they have a great outdoor jungle gym, a fountain which children love playing in, open lawns, picnic pods to hide in (when they aren’t being used) and plenty of spots for the parents to relax knowing that they can always keep an eye on the kids.
- Bellevue Estate
Newly refurbished, Bellevue is set back on Bottlery road in Stellenbosch and has a jungle gym and protected lawn area that is clearly visible from the restaurant. They offer pizzas and hearty big meals. It’s a lovely space for a lunch date with your fellow parents.
If you think you’re going to need more time in Stellenbosch, book a night at the Stellenbosch Apartments and make use of their close proximity to the heart of Stellenbosch and all its gorgeous little shops and cafes.
- Spice Route
Situated in Paarl, it’s defintely more an experience than a winery. Whether your taste buds are calling for wine, beer, biltong, chocolate or pizza, you’ll find it all on one site at Spice Route. Their La Grapperia restaurant offers family-friendly dining with an outdoor jungle gym that’s perfectly suited for 4 years and upwards.
If Paarl seems like a bit of a distance away, why not make it an overnight stay (there is so much to do at Spice Route and you’ll want to try it all). Oak Tree Lodge is beautiful, comfortable and private with family rooms that sleep 4.
There was unanimous praise for this winery in Stellenbosch with its indoor and outdoor play facilities making it suitable for all weather. It welcomes kids of all ages and has a specialized menu for them. Book a lunch date here and your kids will have ample entertainment to keep them occupied. It truly is a family-friendly location.
- Van Loveren
As a family-run winery, its emphasis has always been on creating an atmosphere of inclusion for all ages and all taste buds. A few years ago they redesigned their tasting room and welcome in a vast amount visitors daily. Offering wine and food pairings, they even cater for kids with a “Kids Master Tasting” and a “Kids Artistic Tasting” for only R35. Once you’ve all enjoyed your tasting together, you can head over to Christina’s for a delicious wood-fired pizza.
There are some truly beautiful wineries in Robertson with open spaces for exhausting some toddler/kid energy. I do recommend spending a weekend in the valley and you can find some great accommodation spots here. Or look at heading straight to Duvon self-catering guesthouse which sleeps 4.
This destination winery has so many activities on offer; wine blending, olive oil blending, coffee and tea blending and an experience like no other, the Runner Duck parade. There are between 700-800 ducks at the farm and you can watch their lovely parade at either 9:45am or 3:30pm and kids love it.