This charming boutique wine estate hidden in the hills of Elgin way surpassed any of my expectations! It’s pet-friendly, child-friendly, the food is delicious, there’s award-winning wine and you can have a swim in the dam! I urge you to pack your swimming costume, the dog and the kids into the car and enjoy a day here.

Where is it? 
Highlands Road, Elgin  

Why go there? 
It’s  adorable, pet-friendly, child-friendly, the food is delicious, you can have a swim in the dam and there’s award-winning wine!  

How much am I going to pay? 
The menu is small, but that makes life easier – I find too many choices can put one in a flummox! Our burger sliders and pizza were absolutely delicious. Wood-fired pizzas from R70, beef burger R70, burger sliders R90, cheese and charcuterie platter for two R150, wine by the glass R30, soft drinks and coffee R15 and hot chocolate and cappuccinos R25. Very affordable and very yummy!  

When is it open? 
Every day from 10:00 to 16:00.  

Is it pet-friendly? 
Yes, but only friendly dogs who are good with children and who will be nice to Rusty, the resident Jack Russell.

Contact details 
Mobile 071 271 0161,

I may have discovered a new favourite spot in Elgin – I don’t want to call it a “hidden gem” as that is an over-used phrase, so I think I will call Highlands Road Estate a sparkling diamond! Websites, Facebook pages and blogs like this can give a fairly good picture of what a place is like, but this little boutique wine estate hidden in the hills of Elgin way surpassed any of my expectations!

First off, it’s adorable – the whole place is not very big, but there’s still plenty of space on the rolling lawns to indulge in a picnic, enjoy a game of boules or croquet, or have a swim in the dam (yes, you can swim here!) while the kids run on the lawn or have fun on the jungle gym (fashioned from old wine barrels). Dogs are most welcome to join in the fun and games too, provided they are friendly to kids and nice to Rusty, the chef’s Jack Russell who presides over all the goings-on and always welcomes a scratch under the chin and, if encouraged, a lap to sit on!

If it’s not good weather for sitting outside on the jetty or under the trees, there is seating indoors at the restaurant and the wine-tasting room has a large fireplace and a rather comfy couch. Highlands Road Estate are also happy to host functions and small weddings – I couldn’t think of a better place to have a celebration!

This is also not one those wine estates where wine is mass-produced. Vanessa (the winemaker) and her team do everything themselves from start to finish, including bottling, labelling and marketing.  Plus, there are no wood chips here… their wines are matured in real oak barrels! Highlands Road Estate have won many awards for their wines, with their Sauvignon Blanc being a continuous winner. From R85-R120 a bottle, it’s worth getting a bottle or two to share over a lazy lunch. Their 2012 Sine Cera was on the Top 100 Wines of South Africa 2015 list, and you can purchase a bottle of this for R140. I can also recommend their Noble Late Harvest if you enjoy something a little sweeter.

The chefs and café staff are from the local community, who have been trained on the estate. The food that comes out of that kitchen is delicously homemade (I really hate processed burgers), with the pizzas being prepared in a wood-fired oven. I can heartily recommend the “To The Woods!” pizza (crispy baked tomato base topped with black forest ham, caramelized onion, mushrooms, blue cheese and freshly picked rocket)  and their Slider Selection (three mini gourmet beef burgers) served with a yummy fresh garden salad. The portions are fairly large, so you won’t go home hungry.  

There are a few places that I visit that really stand out and Highlands Road Estate is one of them. I cannot urge you enough to pack your swimming costume, the dog and the kids into the car and enjoy a day here. It’s not far from Cape Town and will make for the best summer’s day out for everyone! Don’t forget to pick me and Tino up on the way…

Inside information
Highlands Road Estate is the only wine farm the world that has its own registered tartan… look out for it in the tasting room.

Published August 2016 | Own cost