If you don’t do a wine tour when visiting Cape Town, you’ll miss a lot. Not just good wine, but also the spectacular scenery in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. I’m pretty sure the Cape Winelands are one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world!
So I had decided to do a wine tour, but the question was, where to find a vegan-friendly wine tour? Many people are not aware of this, but most of the wines are processed with non-vegan clarifying agents like casein, gelatin, and albumin. Also, the wine tours usually include cheese tasting, etc. and the included lunch won’t be vegan.
I tried to google “vegan wine tour Cape Town” – nothing came up. I had almost given up on the wine tour idea when suddenly after booking an Airbnb, I got a list of tours they offered for Cape Town. One was called Generous Earth, a three-day vegan food and drink immersion. The tour is run by Eric and Susan, a vegan couple who are also Airbnb hosts.
I had to do a bit research because I hadn’t even heard that Airbnb is now offering tours as well. I found out that Airbnb hosts can now offer tours and experiences which sounds like a great idea because of course, the locals know the best places and things to do. This is a relatively new thing on Airbnb, and not all cities offer tours.
Here is a summary of the 3-day immersion. You can read the full itinerary here.
On the first day, you’ll meet at the oldest vegan restaurant in Cape Town, have lunch there and learn more about the local vegan scene. After lunch is time for delicious vegan ice cream!
The second day is the trip to the Cape Winelands where you’ll have a wine tasting, olive oil tasting, and an exclusive three-course vegan lunch. It’s possible to do only the second day of the tour, and that’s what I did.
The final day is a picnic day, and you’ll enjoy a homemade vegan food in the beautiful surroundings of Camps Bay.
So as I mentioned, I only did the second day of the experience which included the wine tasting in Franschhoek. Eric came to pick me up from my hotel at 8:30, and we then started a 2-hour long drive to Franschhoek and the Cape Winelands. Our first stop was the wine tasting at Vrede en Lust winery whose wines are all vegan. I had a choice between vegan champagne tasting at Colmant Winery. If I ever come back to Cape Town and Franschhoek, I really want to do a champagne tasting there because apparently, the owners are vegan!
But this time I wanted to do the wine tasting, and I wasn’t disappointed. We sampled both red and white wines, and all them were excellent (even the red wines even though I usually prefer white). What’s also really cool about this winery is that they use solar power and their solar installation is one of the biggest one in the South African wine industry.
Olive Oil Tasting
Next stop was La Bourgogne Farm where we sampled olive oils and olives. I’m a big fan of olive oil, and if I use oil for cooking it needs to be either olive or coconut oil. I’m also kind of an olive oil snob, and I never buy the cheapest olive oil because the difference in taste is huge. So I was very interested to see what kind of olive oils they have here in South Africa, and they did have pretty good oils indeed.
Farm Sanctuary SA
After olive oil tasting, we drove to an animal sanctuary. This wasn’t part of the tour but Eric told me about this place, and we wanted to have a look. It wasn’t even supposed to be open for public on Thursdays, but they had changed the opening hours, so we were in luck. Eric said that he will definitely include it in the tour in the future. Farm Sanctuary SA is a place for rescued farm animals to have a second chance for life. I’ve actually never visited an animal sanctuary before, but I’ve always wanted to so I was really excited to see this place. The sanctuary is quite new, and they are still working on some things, and they’ll probably take more animals in the future.
What was really cool about this place was Pigcasso – a painting pig. We happened to be there at the same time Pigcasso was painting, and we could witness this incredible moment. I couldn’t believe my eyes when she started painting! Pigcasso’s masterpieces are available for purchase, and some of them cost nearly $2000. The profit goes to Farm Sanctuary SA, so Pigcasso is kind of helping other pigs and animals to have a better life.
After seeing Pigcasso, we were off to have lunch at Bread & Wine Vineyard Restaurant which ironically is known for its good meat dishes. The restaurant had however made a huge effort to create an exclusive 3-course vegan lunch for this tour. And I’m not lying when I say this was the best lunch I’ve ever had!
There were two choices for starters, main and desert, and I chose falafel, risotto, and meringue. Everything was delicious! I’m really impressed that they made such an effort for each dish, especially the desert with vegan meringue surprised me. If you don’t know, that’s made of the liquid from a can of chickpeas. I’ve heard of this before but had never tried, so I was very excited to taste it. And it was such like regular meringue! We also had more wine of course, and champagne for the start.
Eric was an awesome tour guide, and we had interesting conversations. He also gave me tips for different vegan-friendly restaurants and markets (more about these in another post!). If you are interested in doing the tour, you can book it either through Airbnb here or contact Eric directly: ecmallia [at] googlemail.com
In conclusion, I would say that this tour was one of the highlights during my time in Cape Town. I’m a big foodie and tasting different vegan foods is always on my list when visiting new places. Even if you are not a vegan, I can still recommend this tour as the wines, olive oils and food were simply delicious. This is also a great option if you want to learn more about the vegan lifestyle and eat tasty food. Some people are still surprised when they realize that vegan food is more than just lettuce and carrots…