Stellenbosch, also called Eikestad (meaning city of oaks), is the second oldest town in South Africa and home to the oldest wine route in the country. Wine tasting in Stellenbosch is a fun and culturally rich experience. Whilst there are numerous established estates in the region, there are also many wineries which opened in recent decades, bringing fresh blood to a centuries old industry and helping to make Stellenbosch a diverse and interesting region for tourists.
Stellenbosch wineries go to great lengths to provide visitors with unique and enriching experiences. With 170 wineries in Stellenbosch, each one special in its own way, it’s hard to decide which farms to include on a Stellenbosch wine tour. It was tough, but we’ve managed to put together a list of the five most culturally significant and interesting Stellenbosch wine farms. Read on to find out which ones we recommend the most.
A visit to Spier Wine Farm is an education in the art of life. Spier’s people are committed to living and working in ways that bring positive change to the environment and community. Established in 1692, Spier is one of South Africa’s oldest wine estates, with a fascinating history and a legacy that the owners never take for granted. Today, the farm has a modern, conscious energy with the addition of contemporary amenities such as a hotel, restaurants, paths for walking, picnic facilities, and even segway tours. The estate is immaculately preserved and well maintained. Focused on art and good farming, Spier is about farm-to-table food and accoladed wines.
Jordan Estate features a wine tasting centre, rolling lawns, luxury accommodation, a bakery and a world-class restaurant. Visitors can stay-over, relax and enjoy fine wines and local fare while being surrounded by breathtaking views of the vineyards. A must-see feature at Jordan Estate is the cellar, described as “a bold fusion of old and new world architectural ideas”. The cellar is recessed into the slope of the mountain and uses natural cooling due to its advantageous location.
Delheim was one of the founding members of the Stellenbosch wine route and the first producer of Pinotage rosé in South Africa. Famous for the unique cupcake and wine pairing, Delheim is a must on any Stellenbosch wine tour. At Delheim, staff create mouth-watering combinations guaranteed to blow your mind. Think pomegranate and pinotage! Or, rooibos cupcakes with honey and cream cheese topping paired with chenin blanc.
Clos Malverne is the ultimate Stellenbosch food and wine destination. They offer a mouth-watering four course food and wine pairing and the restaurant has a wrap-around balcony to better appreciate the stunning vineyard views. Another novelty experience, sure to tantalize and thrill includes an ice-cream and wine pairing. Four flavourful ice creams are paired with a selection of four delectable wines. Other facilities at the estate include accommodation, a wedding venue and a day-spa.
DeMorgenzon rests on slopes ranging in height from 200 to 400 meters above sea level and the picturesque vineyard is set against an ocean backdrop and surrounded by mountains. It might sound a little eccentric, but at DeMorgenzon they play baroque and early classical music to their vines and fermenting wines 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through strategically placed speakers. It is believed that the music influences the way the wine tastes and smells. Sceptical? Visit DeMorgenzon, try their wines and decide for yourself.
Guests are encouraged to set aside at least an hour to enjoy a tasting at DeMorgenzon. Take a seat, relax and enjoy the views, the garden and the music.
South African summers (November to February) can tend to get really hot, not unbearably so, but not ideal for travelling from winery to winery or enjoying the great outdoors.
April to October offers the best in climate with cooler temperatures and less crowds. It is also off-season so you can expect to score some great deals during this time.
There are a number of ways to get to Stellenbosch from Cape Town. You could hire a car and drive, get a transfer with any of the major tour operators or make use of one of the popular coach services.
The Stellenbosch wine route incorporates over 150 interconnected individual wineries. It is therefore understandable that this route is divided into five sub-routes, grouping the various farms by location.
Stellenbosch offers some interesting tours and tasting options, including food and wine pairings, bike trails, and even a full day vineyard hiking trail which is a 24 km meander through vineyards, forests, olive groves and coastal renosterveld.
There are companies offering guided tours of Stellenbosch, many of which have the inside scoop on the best and most beautiful places to incorporate for a comprehensive Stellenbosch visit. With so much to see, taste and experience it may be best to book a tour.
Accommodation in Stellenbosch is widely available and caters to all tastes and budgets. Here are our three picks based on budget.
Le Jardin Wonderland Villas
A luxury manor house ideal for families with young children, Le Jardin is a safe, private space featuring beautiful gardens, an eco-pool, a pizza deck, zipline and tepee tent. You can enjoy a private, peaceful weekend at the villa, wherein breakfast is included, along with complimentary wine and cleaning services. Top it up with a personal chef for the ultimate luxurious stay.
L’Avenir is a cozy country lodge located on a working wine estate in the Stellenbosch valley. Providing a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, away from the hustle-bustle of the city, at L’Avenir you can enjoy homemade meals on the deck, wine tasting sessions, swimming in a cool pool, and more.
A village hotel, Eendracht is located within walking distance from the many Stellenbosch restaurants, coffee houses, galleries and museums. Hotel rooms and apartments at Eendracht are reasonably priced.
It is often remarked that when the first settlers arrived at the Cape of Good Hope hundreds of years ago it was the beginning of a love story; one which has endured through the centuries and continues today. Visiting the Cape, and Stellenbosch in particular, will leave you with little wonder as to why people fall in love with South Africa and keep coming back.
Source: Stellenbosch Wine Tours: Fast Facts & Insider Tips first appeared on bookmundi.com