Stellenbosch Wine Route – South Africa‘s Mecca of Wine Cultivation
Like no other wine route, the Stellenbosch Wine Route offers the highest density of excellent premium wines, rich in tradition and stories. Stellenbosch is the second-eldest town in South Africa, founded in 1679 by Simon van der Stel, the later governor and father of wine cultivation in the Cape Colony. The town is merely 50km away from Cape Town. Due to nutritious soils, rainy winters and warm summers, the landscape is simply perfect for the cultivation of first-class wines. Quickly, Stellenbosch became the first-class wine region and experienced a rapid increase; numerous settlers founded their wineries here.
Due to the Apartheid policy, tourism in the 1970s was very slow in South Africa. In order to change that, amongst others the wineries Simonsig and Spier collaborated and founded the Stellenbosch Wine Route, the very first wine route in South Africa! After the democratisation of South Africa in 1994, tourism experienced a sudden boom, not least because of the divine landscape of South Africa. This is why the Stellenbosch Wine Route is not only a single wine route nowadays but a road network to which more than 148 wineries belong. This makes Stellenbosch the wine capital of South Africa and the Stellenbosch Wine Route is a true ‘Mecca of wine cultivation’ for gourmets.
The Oldest Wine Route in South Africa
Due to the sheer size of the Stellenbosch Wine Route, the Wine Route is divided into four sub routes – Stellenbosch Berg Wine Estates, Bottelary Hills Wine Estates, Greater Simonsberg Wine Estates and Stellenbosch Valley Wine Estates. Stellenbosch Berg Wine Estates includes renowned wineries such as Lanzerac, Kleine Zalze, Blaauwklippen and Dornier; Greater Simonsberg Wine Estates connects, amongst others, Warwick, Kanonkop, Uitkyk, Muratie, Simonsig, Glenelly, Neil Ellis, Thelema, Tokara as well as Delaire Graff. The Stellenbosch Valley Estates links Vilafonté, Neethlingshof, Zevenwacht, Spier, Meerlust and the Bergkelder at the winery Fleur du Cap. Approximately 15% of the South African wine cultivation area is within the region Stellenbosch – not only due to the mild climate which is influenced by the False Bay and the Atlantic. Numerous white washed houses in Cape Dutch style and impressive oak avenues make the town and the surroundings with the vast vineyards a true highlight.
Some Highlights at the Stellenbosch Wine Route
Each and every winery at the Stellenbosch Wine Route is worth a visit and it is so difficult to highlight only a few just because of the sheer number. Yet, we will have a try!
Besides first-class wines, Lanzerac offers its guests a luxury hotel and a starred restaurant with modern African cuisine. Highly recommendable!
Blaauwklippen with its historic, Cape Dutch style buildings is beautifully located at the foot of the Stellenbosch Mountain and quite likely produces the best Zinfandel at the Cape.
The Terroir restaurant at the winery Kleine Zalze is a must on every culinary map. Besides, the winery offers an exquisite 18 holes golf course and outstanding comfort in the Kleine Zalze Lodge.
In 1964, Stan and Norma Ratcliffe started the Warwick Estate on historic ground. In more than 30 years, Norma Ratcliffe – the ‘First Lady from the Cape’ – led Warwick to the top of the South African wine world. Her son Mike managed to include Warwick to the ‘Top 100 Wineries of the Year’.
In the rooms of Muratie, you are transported back to another time – you can literally smell and taste the history. Here, history becomes alive and you can find artefacts from the past everywhere. The wines are named after former estate owners, for example George Paul Canitz, Alberta Annemarie and Ronnie Melck.
The winery Simonsig is inextricably linked with the term MCC – Méthode Cap Classique – because Simonsig was the first winery to produce sparkling wine inspired by the Méthode Cap Classique. A must-try!
With its theatre, the historic buildings and many activities, Spier offers something for every taste – it makes it particularly suitable for families. Once ill-reputed as Disneyland, it is nowadays the right mixture of pleasure, delight and events and is considered to be the most important winery at the Stellenbosch Wine Route.
Neethlingshof, founded in 1692 by a German immigrant, is famous for its impressive avenue leading up to the manor house. The wines of the Short Story Collection unite first-class delight with sustainable cultivation.
Bergkelder belongs to the winery Fleur du Cap. This unique underground bottle-maturation cellar following the concept of the world-famous cave cellars from Germany and France offers gourmets a very special atmosphere. Constructed to store the delicate wine at an ideal and constant temperature even in the African heat, it is one of the many highlights at the Stellenbosch Wine Route.
Find the wines of the Stellenbosch Wine Route.
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