A great way to see the Western Cape's wine country! This tour is operated by CitySightseeing (those big red tour buses), which is helpful to know if you want to go look up any additional information. Long review ahead, since I noticed not many reviews so far gave details about this tour.
The pick-up was early for my stop, at 8:40AM. There are multiple pickup locations, which was nice as I only had to walk about a block from my accommodation. The ride on the red bus is just under an hour (without traffic, I went on a Sunday) before you arrive at the tram station in Franschhoek. During the drive they play an information track over the speakers about your surroundings and different wine country facts. We arrived at the tram at 10AM, which meant waiting around for 30 minutes until the first tram departed, at 10:28AM.
Important to note - the tram and the bus are separate companies but working together. It is possible to find another way to the tram, then you have access to slightly earlier departure times and overall a longer day. For this tour, you need to be back at the main station by 4PM/4:30PM (depending on the day, for us on a Sunday in June, it was 4:30PM).
Communication was very clear about when the tram/tram bus would pick you up from the stop and what times you needed to be back on the route in order to make the bus back to Cape Town. You also got a timetable at the beginning of the tour. You are not on the tram for the entire way, as the train tracks only go to a couple estates. The rest of the time is on an open air bus that they have styled to look like a tram - which still felt very cool.
I am not sure if it is because I went in off season, but we were only given the option to take the "orange" line tram. This meant our route was: Plaisir de Merle, Vrede en Lust, Noble Hill, Babylonstoren, Anura, Plaisir de Merle (2nd chance), Allee Bleue, Solms-Delta, and finally Boschendal. The route may change based on the time of year or which estates are open.
The tricky part: the tram/tram bus come about every 40min. The description says you can get to around 4-5 estates, however I found that to be difficult if you are the type who wants to do a full tasting, really take in the estate with additional tours (cellar tours, which have to be pre-booked), or test out the food experiences (like chocolate and wine pairings, also need to be pre-booked).
I was able to visit Vrede en Lust, Babylonstoren, and Boschendal - where I did the full tasting at each estate and had a small meal at the first and last. Boschendal was difficult to get to as the time on the tram between Babylonstoren and Boschendal was about 50min. I researched each estate and went with those I felt had the best wine options for my taste, but they all have something to offer - from beautiful views to gin tasting, and even play areas for kids. The guides will not give you preferences to certain estates, so plan accordingly if you want to be fully informed on which are the "best" estates to visit for your trip.
Others in the group opted to do the shorter wine tasting options (typically 3 wines, rather than 5-7) and they were able to get to 4-5 estates, but really rushing with those 40min timeframes. This was offseason, so we did not experience any waiting times at the locations, but the popular estates can get busy so they suggest making reservations for lunch or tours in the busy summer months.
Last note, expect to spend more than the upfront cost of this tour, as it only covers the transportation. In total, I splurged and spent about $80 for one person between all the tastings, bottles to bring home, and meals - bringing the grand total to ~$130 for this day in the wine country. You can bring your own food, the tram operators hold your wine purchases for you so you don't lug it around, and you can always opt to do the cheaper or discounted tastings.
Overall, I thought it was a wonderful experience.