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This initiative by the SA Brandy Foundation is as good a reason as any to set off on a brandy-inspired journey, provided there’s a designated driver, of course. With the likes of Van Ryn’s, Upland and Tokara all turning out superb brandies, there’s no shortage of top-notch producers in and around Stellenbosch and Paarl – but rather hit Route 62 and head east.

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Klipdrift distillery in Robertson

Your first stop should be the Klipdrift distillery in Robertson. While Klipdrift may be a decidedly mainstream tipple, the brandy experience here is superb. You’ll discover the long history of the much-loved name, enjoy a tour through the distillery and end with a tasting of the four unique brandies on offer.

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The road through the dramatic Cogmanskloof Pass brings you to Kingna, set on a working apricot; peach and grape farm a short drive from Montagu. Their five-year-old potstill brandy, produced only in small batches, is superb.

Barrydale Cellar

On the outskirts of the quirky Klein Karoo town of Barrydale, the Barrydale Cellar crafts a good range of pocket-friendly wines, but is equally famous for the excellent Joseph Barry range of brandies. The 10-year-old potstill brandy is the flagship, but don’t miss out on a taste of the aromatic three-year-old brandy made from Muscat d’Alexandrie grapes, better known as the humble Hanepoot.

Boplaas Brandy

Calitzdorp is the capital of Port-style fortified wines in South Africa, but Boplaas has been distilling brandy for more than 120 years and produces a three-, eight- and 20-year-old brandy.

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“Our angel’s share is very high with the dry weather we have,” says cellar master Carel Nel. “The angels are very thirsty and every night they have a party in our brandy cellar, but this helps us produce rich brandies.”

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For those who don’t know, the “angel’s share” refers to the alcohol that evaporates through the oak barrels while the brandy is being aged for a minimum of three years. The SA Brandy Foundation says that this is a payment to the angels for working magic in the casks.

Mons Ruber Estate

Mons Ruber Estate outside De Rust also boasts a long heritage of distilling, with its burnished potstill dating back to 1936, while Grundheim offers a buchu and ginger-infused brandy at its charming distillery and tasting room on the outskirts of Oudtshoorn.

With a mantelpiece that’s fast gathering awards from around the world, South African brandy is clearly on the up, and the character-filled ‘Brandy Homes’ are the best way to discover the remarkable ‘burnt wine’ of the Cape.


You could win with Van Ryn’s and Your Neighbourhood. Two lucky readers stand a chance to win a Van Ryn’s 12-year-old gift box worth a total of R1,200. Simply visit our Facebook page here to enter.


Words: Richard Holmes
Images: Supplied

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