Hemel-en-Aarde Wineries to Visit; Walking and Wine Tasting in South Africa’s Southern Valley

The Hemel-en-Aarde wineries offer a different landscape to the polished wineries of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Most famous for whale watching, the southern coast of the Western Cape offers an open and natural landscape which is the home to an array of natural flora and fauna, including the national flower of South Africa, the Proteas. Explore some of the wineries of the region…

Bosman Hermanus

View The Property

Bosman Hermanus amongst the wild flora

Walks at Bosman Hermanus

Proteas, the national flower of South Africa

The tasting room at Bosman Hermanus

Beautifully natural


Flatbreads and wine

Following the path

The tasting room at Bosman Hermanus

Sit out and enjoy the view

Driving over the pass from Franschhoek is my first recommendation. It’s one of the great roads in South Africa and I would highly recommend soaking up the views on your drive, if you’re coming from that way. 

Our first stop exploring Hemel-en-Aarde wineries was at Bosman Hermanus where we met Gerhard and Karen, who are fantastic hosts. A range of walks are available on their land amongst the natural vegetation. Hikers might be lucky enough to see baboons, ribbok, a duiker or even a porcupine. Caracals and even leopards (the smaller breed) have been captured on camera! Sustainability is at the heart of Bosman Hermanus. Great care has been taken to allow the natural flora and fauna to thrive. Once you’ve built up a thirst enjoying the trails you’ll find yourself in The Frame House. Built from recycled ‘alien’ trees this is the ideal place to relax with wine and different seasonal food boards crafted with fresh, local ingredients and incredible flatbreads!

A strict selection process in the vineyards and the cellar means that only the top percentage of the total harvest is used for production. Try their Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir (varieties that thrive in this part of the country).

Behind the natural regeneration is ‘Uncle’ Frank Woodvine – a fitting name for Bosman Hermanus! Frank is a 90-year-old (he will outpace anyone on the walks!) lifelong conservationist and he has been instrumental in re-establishing nature, mapping the hiking trails and identifying and removing invasive alien vegetation on the land. Frank’s tireless work, devotion and knowledge of the fynbos is highly regarded in the area and he has worked with many estates, including Bouchard Finlayson.

Bouchard Finlayson is further along in the Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven & Earth) Valley. Established in 1989, the estate is nestled on 125 ha of prime wine growing terroir and 50% of the vines are donated to Pinot Noir. Peter Finlayson is renowned for being a Pinot Pioneer, and the estate is most acclaimed for this wine. Early on, however, Peter also decided to import Nebbiolo and Sangiovese as well as cultivating more traditional varieties of the region. The tasting room is cosily tucked inside the Cape Dutch style house which is full of character inside and out. In the summer enjoy the lovely courtyard area or catch one of the music evenings if you can! Enjoy their Hannibal (blend of French/Italian varieties), the Crocodile’s Lair Chardonnay, the Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, and many more wines with their knowledgeable staff and impressive tasting notes. Walks are available as are vintage tastings and food platters at this beautiful estate. 

Creation Wines

View property

Views at Creation Wines

Creation culinary experience

Creation Wines Sensual Experience

Outdoor at Creation Wines

Beetroot, Springbok and Pinot Noir

Summer Pudding

Sculptures at Creation

For a culinary experience at one of the Hemel-en-Aarde Wineries try Creation Wines; exquisite food and wine pairings such as the beetroot marinated springbok with the Reserve Pinot Noir or the sauteed abalone with red onion, seaweed, lime and capers with the Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon blend. It’s a sensual experience. Creation encourages you to try different smells to see what effect that has on the wine, as well as pairing their wonderful wines perfectly with their delicious dishes. Jean-Claude & Carolyn Martin established the winery in 2002 and it has grown from strength to strength. The views are wonderful and the restaurant has a fantastic buzz about the place. Carolyn is in charge of the creative and restaurant side of the business, while Jean-Claude is the winemaker, producing wines such as the award winning ‘Art of Chardonnay’. Matching as well as some of their dishes!

Around the corner from Creation Wines is Ataraxia. The Wine Lounge at Ataraxia is a stunning building, built to mimic a chapel; an establishment for epicureans to worship the wine Gods! Ataraxia in Greek means ‘a serene state of mind, free from worry and preoccupation.’ Relax in the magnificent interior of the building or sit outside and bask in the vine cladded rolling hills and valleys. The Wine Lounge at Ataraxia and Kevin Grant’s wines certainly satisfy the name! 

Hemel-en-Aarde is famous for whale watching and there are other activities on offer if you ever get bored of the vineyards! Horse riding, the FynArts festival, and the Hermanus Art Walks are on the first Friday of every month. You can even learn more about abalone (a native shellfish). Having tried abalone at Creation Wines, we can testify for the taste; it’s no wonder why it’s considered a gourmet treat in China (the largest export market). 

Venture off-the-beaten-path and explore some of the Hemel-en-Aarde wineries, and enjoy some of the wines and stories they have to offer. Find more local wineries on our MAP.

See here for a guide to 5 days in Franschhoek!