Franschhoek Wine Tram – A Wine Tasting Adventure Near Cape Town
Franschhoek, meaning “French corner” in Dutch, is a picturesque small town found 75 kilometers outside of Cape Town. Franschhoek is in South Africa’s wine country and gives its visitors all of the nostalgia that France does- with a South African twist.
Surrounded by mountains rich with South Africa’s biodiverse fynbos flora, dotted with Cape Dutch architecture, and painted with rolling vineyards- Franschhoek holds magic. It boasts plenty of internationally renowned wineries, some of which date back to the 1700s.
There are many ways to spend your days skipping between vineyards and getting your wine fix. But none are more enjoyable than the are’s classic wine tram. The wine tram in Franschhoek is full of history and culture and is a sure-fire way to make the most of your days sipping Pinot noir and eating cheese.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the Franschhoek tram and how to smell, sip, swirl, and swallow all day, the responsible way.
What Is The Franschhoek Tram?
The Franschhoek tram is made up of single and double-decker trams which are designed after the Blackpool Corporation Tramways. The ‘Fran-trams’ are open-sided trams that give up to 78 guests views of Franschhoek like no other. The tram runs between farms, allowing passengers to hop-on and hop-off at the wine farms they want to see and experience.
A branch line, a secondary rail-line, was built in 1904 as an alternative to the route for ox-drawn carriages between Paarl and Franschhoek. This 28-kilometer line was first used to operate steam trains, and later diesel trains (in the 1970s). With railways decreasing in popularity in the 1990s, the line was no longer used.
The line was restored in 2012 and now takes tourists and locals on a wine farm route, giving participants the history of the area and allowing them to take in the glorious lush scenery of Franschhoek.
Franschhoek Wine Farms
If you are unfamiliar with South African wines, the list of foreign wineries along the Franschhoek wine route may be daunting. Here is a list of favorite wine farms and ones to look out for.
Rickety Bridge Winery
Rickety Bridge Winery is the perfect combination of old 19th-century architecture and modern facilities. This luxurious estate has everything you need under one roof; it is a breath-taking wedding venue, a 4-star hotel, and, of course, has its cellar and tasting rooms.
The delectable foods from the restaurant and flavors of the wines are complemented by the bold views of the Wammershoek Mountain range. A balanced merger of timeless and new.
Boschendal has become a household name in South Africa. Producing wines for over 300 years, this winery’s age and wisdom bring with it some of South Africa’s best reds, whites, and pinks.
The farm is unique in that they also grow their own fruit and veg, as well as keep their own livestock. It is a beautiful experience exploring the lands and, of course, sampling their wines.
Maison has a more modern edge and flavor than the other wineries found in Franschhoek. But don’t let that make you think their wines are any less superior. The Maison wines are delicate and delicious and only elevated by their top-class food and deli.
Noble Hill Wine Estate is located on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain range. It may appear more humble than other wineries but their wines do not follow suit. The wines boast balance in their fruitiness and fermentation and create a spectacular taste sensation for wine lovers.
Franschhoek Wine Route
The Franschhoek tram has a choice of 8 different lines that explore different areas and vineyards in Franschhoek. The lines have various start times and different numbers of stops meaning there is something for everyone.
For example, if you aren’t an early bird or if your head is still sore from the previous day’s wine tasting then the Blue Route starts at 10:30. This route is also extremely child-friendly making it perfect for families.
All the lines show off Fraschhoek’s best vineyards and have an amazing assortment of activities for participants to enjoy.
Franschhoek Wine Tours
Franschhoek has a wide selection on offer for travelers to experience the natural beauty and gorgeous wines. The Franschhoek Wine Tram tour is definitely the favorite for safety, convenience, and uniqueness. However, here is a list of other great wine tours, offering some more fun ways to be outdoors and get your wine on.
Tips On Wine Tasting In Franschhoek
Wine can have a bit of a pretentious reputation at times. A lot of people can feel out of their depths when first embarking on wine tasting and tours. Here are some handy tips to remember so you don’t get caught out.
- The four steps of wine tasting are: look, smell, taste, conclusion.
- The ‘look’ includes swirling your glass and noting how the legs of the wine appear on the glass. Swirling also aerates the wine, allowing it to be more fragrant.
- ‘Smell’ includes that classic sniff we see being joked about so often. If anything, let the smell of the wine prepare your palette for what’s about to come.
- Drink water between tastings. Although the option to spit your wine out is always there, and accepted, most participants swallow the modern smaller servings of wine. Help yourself out and stay hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day.
- Ask questions. If there is anything you don’t understand or would like to know – ask away!
- Be wary of how much perfume or cologne you wear on the day of tastings as it can alter your smell and taste.
- Have fun. Snobbiness aside, the most important thing is for you to enjoy yourself.
Final Thoughts On The Wine Tram In Franschhoek
With its beloved tram, Franschhoek has only added to its already memorable experience that all those who stroll through its streets are sure to have. History, culture, and nature come together to create a romantic backdrop for families and solo travelers to enjoy.
An awe-inspiring location made even more blissful with fine food and wine. A combination that leaves everyone full of merriment and great memories (even if some are a bit hazy).