Caroline's Fine Wine Cellar Is a World Class Must-Visit!

Contact Info

(021) 419 8984
Their Email
Their Website
Ground Floor, Matador Centre; 62 Strand Street, Cape Town.

Although I attended Stellenbosch University a thousand years ago I am no wine connoisseur; in fact our main goal as students was to find the cheapest wine we could, and then lie around on the lawns of the estate drinking out of paper cups. Fortunately I have graduated to wine glasses, with some of my favourite local wineries being Allee Bleue, Rupert & Rothschild and Haute Cabriere. And yet I often wish I had a little guide book to help me choose something new - tipple that is drinkable without being pretentious or overly expensive. Happily I have discovered Caroline's Fine Wine Cellar, purveyor of fine wine who offers clients a practical and knowledgeable approach to all things wine.
Caroline has certainly earned her "wine stripes", with extensive experience within the wine and retail space. Caroline has a quiet yet confident air about her, and her passion for wine shines through. I loved chatting to her about her very humble beginnings as a receptionist at the Lanzerac Hotel, her hosting job at The Carlton Hotel, her wine tour of South America as a youngster, her grape picking adventures in both France and Italy, and her more formal work experience at La Motte and Buitenverwachting. This lady knows wine, literally from the ground up, and yet she is completely humble and approachable; if you ever feel intimidated when having to choose a bottle of wine then this is the place to visit. Caroline and her team will offer you advice based on your needs and budget - be it a gift for the boss, a friend or a dinner party you are hosting - and can recommend great wines ranging from R37 to R3 000!
Caroline's in Strand Street is one of two stores (the other is in Tokai) and I loved the gorgeous woodwork which draws you in from the street. The entrance to the store reminded me of the cellars at Bergkelder - wine barrels and boxes stacked against the walls - and the interior is just awe inspiring. Beautiful wooden shelves packed with bottles of wines from all over the world - in fact there are over 1 500 wines to choose from! Don't be alarmed though: the wine shelves are clearly categorised by region and cultivar.  I was particularly drawn to the Spanish and Italian wines, as well as the Top Picks shelf, and thought that the Sale and Just Arrived selections were brilliant. I asked Caroline about her current favourite drinkable wines and she pointed out the Sixpence Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot (R45), as well as the Noble Savage 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot (R64).
The store's interior is split across two levels, with the lower level accommodating tasting tables for the regular wine tasting sessions that are hosted by Caroline's. The wooden interior really is very warm and welcoming and it would be very easy to wander around for an hour or so, chatting to the team and perusing the wines on offer. If you are interested in attending wine tasting sessions at Caroline's then make sure you sign up to the newsletter - I love the sound of the Annual White Wine review where you can meet sixty top winemakers.

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by Philippa McRae
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by Phil

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