There are a couple of notable wineries in Paarl itself, but most are on farms in the surrounding countryside. Boschendal, one of the most popular of these, is officially on the Franschhoek wine route, but is within easy striking distance of Paarl.
Backsberg Estate 22km south of Paarl on Simondium Rd (WR1); 021 875 5141, backsberg.co.za. Notable as the first carbon-neutral wine estate in South Africa, Backsberg produces some top-ranking red blends, and a delicious Chardonnay, in its Babylons Toren and Black Label ranges. Outdoor seating, with views of the rose garden and vineyard on the slopes of the Simonsberg, makes this busy estate a nice place to while away some time. There's also a restaurant and a maze to get lost in. Tasting Mon–Fri 8am–5pm, Sat & Sun 9.30am–4.30pm; R15 for five wines.
Fairview Suid Agter Paarl Rd, on the southern fringes of town; 021 863 2450, fairview.co.za. One of the most fun of all the Paarl estates (especially for families), with a resident population of goats who clamber up the spiral tower at the entrance, featured in the estate's emblem. A deli sells sausages and cold meats for picnics on the lawn, and you can also sample and buy the goat's, sheep's and cow's cheeses made on the estate. As far as wine tasting goes, Fairview is an innovative, family-run place, but it can get a bit hectic when the tour buses roll in. Tasting Mon–Fri 8am–5pm, Sat 9am–4pm, Sun 10am–4pm; cheese selection R15, six wines and cheese selection R25, eight wines plus cheese and olive oil selection R60.
Laborie Taillefert St; 021 807 3390, laboriewines.co.za. One of the most impressive Paarl wineries, all the more remarkable for being right in town. The beautiful manor is fronted by a rose garden, acres of close-cropped lawns, historic buildings and oak trees – all towered over by the Taal Monument. There's a truly wonderful tasting room with a balcony that jetties out over the vineyards trailing up Paarl Mountain, as well as a great restaurant with terrace seating under oaks with gobsmackingly good views of the town vineyards and mountains. Tasting Mon–Sat 9am–5pm, Sat 10am–5pm, Nov–April Sun 11am–3pm; R25.
Rhebokskloof Signposted off the R45, 11.5km northwest of Paarl; 021 869 8386, rhebokskloof.co.za. A highly photogenic wine estate, a popular wedding venue, and a great place to bring kids, Rhebokskloof sits at the foot of sculptural granite koppies overlooking a shallow kloof that borders on the mountain nature reserve. The estate's renowned restaurant overlooks an artificial lake with swans. For those too young to legally imbibe, there's a kids' playground, pony rides and remote-controlled boats on the lake, among the extensive offerings. Horse and quad-bike trails for adults are also operated from Rhebokskloof. Tasting daily 9am–5pm; R50 for five wines.