Val du Charron Review: Just the Ticket for Families Who Love Wine Country

Val du Charron

Part of the fun of family travel is finding that unexpected place that both parents and kids can enjoy together. When planning a family getaway, I’m sure a winery isn’t top of mind, but maybe it should be. Just because your offspring aren’t of legal drinking age yet, doesn’t mean you have to put off trips to wine country. At Val du Charron it’s quite the opposite. The wine and lifestyle estate is a winery that all generations can enjoy, no matter how pint-sized or matured.

Located just an hour’s drive from Cape Town in the breathtakingly beautiful town of Wellington, Val du Charron is a Cape Country Routes (CCR) South Africa member and certified family destination of note. Known for its charming selection of accommodation offerings and activities, Cape Country Routes (CCR) represents a group of owner-operated accommodation and activity establishments located on scenic and historic routes in the Western, Eastern, and Northern Cape.

Val du Charron

All members are vetted before joining, which makes having the Cape Country Routes stamp of approval a badge of honour travellers can trust. All carefully selected for their character, charm, and romance, Cape Country Routes is quickly becoming a brand synonyms with offering accommodation and activities with stellar personalised service at the heart of every business.

This common thread of generosity of spirit is just what you’ll find at Val du Charron. With its varied accommodation options, restaurants, wine tastings and MTB and running trails, Val du Charron is an ideal location to savour the culture of South African wine making and the beauty of the Wellington winelands.

Val du Charron

Where to stay at Val du Charron

With multiple accommodation options available, there’s something at Val du Charron to suit a breadth of budgets. The estate’s accommodation comprises multiple options for guests to choose from including the Guesthouse, luxury 5-star Coach House, Family Rooms, and modern country-style Manor House.

The 4-star Guesthouse offers 18 luxurious suites, each with balcony and views of the vineyards/garden and the Hawekwa Mountains. I spent two nights in Guesthouse suite, which is ideal if you’re looking for a more ‘traditional’ hotel room-style accommodation. The highlight of these rooms is hands down the uninterrupted views of the Wellington wine valley below. It’s an unbeatable view that is hard to tear yourself away from.

Val du Charron

The Guesthouse also features a common area lounge for reading, having a drink, and relaxing with other guests if you’re travelling in a group. This is great place to gather if you’re not interested in spending too much time in your room and want a warm cosy spot to take a load off after a long day spent exploring the farm.

The luxury 5-star Coach House dates back to 1699 and is comprised of three spacious suites for an exclusive winelands getaway. Recently added family rooms provide a spacious and upmarket escape for families with bunk beds for kids and luxurious touches for parents. There’s also the Manor House which is ideally suited to honeymooners or families looking for a luxurious, private and relaxing holiday experience.

Val du Charron
The Guesthouse at Val du Charron.

Food and wine take centre stage

Food and wine is, of course, the star of the show at this Cape Country Routes member, and with two onsite restaurants, you’ll be spoiled for choice. The Grillroom and Pizza Vista both offer incredible views of the valley, so no matter if you’re popping in for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or drinks, you’ll be greeted by a view that is hard to beat.

The Grillroom space is airy and comfortable, with a glass-fronted exterior wall to showcase the panoramic views over the vineyards, olive orchards, and blue-hued mountains that encircle Wellington. On a sunny day, choose a table on the deck to enjoy the natural theatre and take in the unique views.

Val du Charron The Grill Room

The eatery offers meat lovers a traditional steakhouse specialising in grain and grass-fed aged meats, and a wide variety of seafood and poultry options. I had one of the best steaks of my short little life at The Grillroom and would highly recommend ordering a steak with a signature sauce if you’re looking for a standout steak. Pair it with a glass of Val du Charron wine and you’ve got a heavenly combination.

Other highlights from the menu at The Grillroom include the Lamb Burger, served on a freshly baked supersized roll with two beer-battered onion rings and your choice of sweet potato fries or potato fries. For starters, do yourself a favour and tuck into the oven-roasted Marrow Bones served with red, onion, capers and parsley on farmstyle toast. For dessert, you have to leave room for the Pecan Nut Pie, served with fresh cream or ice cream, as well as the Malva Pudding served with vanilla bean custard.

Val du Charron The Grill Room

Breakfast is also served at The Grillroom and if you’re all about indulging in the sweeter things in life, then you’ll want to make sure you order the Hot Cake Breakfast. This moreish stack of pancakes is covered in strawberries and banana, drizzled in American Fudge syrup and topped with almond flakes. The Grillroom Breakfast is a great full-house option and includes farm-fresh eggs cooked to order, sauteed mushrooms, oven-baked tomato, country sausage and crispy bacon. Guests booked on a full bed and breakfast package have the choice of a hot breakfast option accompanied by an Americano coffee, Ceylon or rooibos tea and a glass of orange juice.

A family restaurant the kids will love

While most wine farms offer guests just one restaurant to whet their appetite, Val du Charron decided to show off with the addition of a second restaurant, because variety is the spice of life. Situated in the farm’s historic cellar, Pizza Vista offers a space to enjoy unpretentious Italian food paired with fine wine. It’s a family-style Italian restaurant that the kids and the young at heart will absolutely adore. With equally impressive views over the vineyards, there’s no better place to enjoy a lingering lunch with friends and family on a sunny day.

Val du Charron

Pizza Vista truly shines when the sun is out. You’ll find plenty of space for the kids to run around and inviting areas where adults can lounge. The restaurant goes the extra mile for kids with a water park and play area located on the lawn area in front of the restaurant. There’s also the cutest little ice cream shop to further entertain the littlest ones in summer.

On the menu, you’ll find a variety of pizzas, calzones, pasta dishes, and salads served in super fun pizza dough bowls — a carb-lover’s dream. Wash it all down with a craft beer, a thirst-quenching cocktail, or a glass of wine. If you love to share, then you can’t go wrong with the Antipasti menu which features delights like the Polpette beef meatballs in Neapolitan sauce, crispy fried Mozzarella Cubes, and Girandole di Salame woodfired pizza pinwheels.

Val du Charron
Pizza Vista at Val du Charron.

This eatery, with its large outside terrace-style seating area, is the perfect place to hang out on a lazy day or after a long ride on Val du Charron’s mountain bike trails. But, if the weather is putting a dampener on your fun, then fear not, you can still cosy up in front of the fireplace inside and enjoy the friendly hospitality and delightful menu.

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Things to do at Val du Charron

Val du Charron is also a must-visit destination for active types. With the Wild Boar Trails starting and finishing at Val du Charron Wine & Leisure Estate, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place to hit the hiking or mountain bike trails in Wellington.​ There are six routes starting and finishing at Val du Charron (VDC), catering to single-track lovers and those who prefer open gravel roads or just a ride around the vineyard block. Bring your bike or your hiking shoes and get ready to break a sweat.

Val du Charron

When you’re not off exploring the mountains, take some time out for wine tasting with the estate’s unique wine experiences. The Theatre of Wine tasting experience, as well as the vineyard and cellar tours, offer a great way to sip and sample the wide variety of wines available in the Val du Charron range.

Of the many, many wines tasted, it was the richly textured Val du Charron Reserve Chardonnay that stole the show for me. Bright, crisp and refreshing with fresh citrus (lemon, grapefruit, and juicy orange) on the finish, it’s a delicious wine to enjoy with almost any meal. Of the reds, I was immediately intrigued by the Val du Charron Theatre of Wine Erasmus – Den Deen. A robust blend of Pinotage and Shiraz, this red has some serious legs, making it a welcome addition to any dinner.

Ford Everest Sport

How to get there

As is the case with most of the Cape Country Routes members, Val du Charron is an easy and scenic one-hour drive from Cape Town, with plenty to do along the way.

Our party of five cruised up the N1 in the new Ford Everest Sport, a luxury 4×4 engineered for adventure. The great thing about this adventure-loving 4×4 is that it can quite comfortably wear two hats practical, spacious family car one day and rugged 4×4 trail-eating, thrill seeker the next. Driving in this sporty SUV certainly made our drive a lot more comfortable… and fun.

Ford Everest Sport

Blending adventure-ready capability with luxury vehicle comfort, and advanced technology the new Everest Sport is a rugged, refined and fun-to-drive SUV that is sure to leave an impression. Engineered to excite, it’s a car built for the adventurous with capability at its core.

Whether you’re conquering sand, rocky paths, or city life, Everest drivers will love the utility, capability and spaciousness of this exciting new SUV that excels at being a do-it-all vehicle. Read our full review of the new Ford Everest Sport here.

For more information on Cape Country Routes click here and Val du Charron click here.

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