South Africa: Tour the Stellenbosch wineries

Stellenbosch wine region, South Africa
Cardinal Richelieu is reputed to have asked the question: “If God forbade drinking, would He have made wine so good?” Nowhere is this more true than in the Stellenbosch wine region of South Africa, where delicious wine mixes with gorgeous landscape and three centuries of architecture and cultivation.

Stellenbosch is affectionately known as ‘Eikestad’, the town of oaks. Early settlers were encouraged to plant the trees to supply the shipping trade passing by en route from the East Indies. Unfortunately the oak is no good for wine maturation because the trees grow too quickly in the South African climate, making the wood too porous.

Stellenbosch wine region, South Africa

This proud and leafy university town owes its pleasing architecture to a historical parade of Cape Dutch, Georgian, Regency, Victorian and Cape Dutch Revival styles.

But I’m here to taste South African wine and here were my highlights:

Just on the outskirts of Stellenbosch is Die Bergkelder, sited on the slopes of the historic Papegaaiberg. This winery has a good wine tour and tasting, offering Fleur du Cap and Stellenryk in a good year.

Stellenbosch wine region, South Africa

The Muratie Estate is north of Stellenbosch and one of the oldest privately owned wineries in the region, from 1685. Cobwebs, dusty art and holes in the walls reinforce the centuries-old charm. Muratie was responsible for creating the first Pino Noir in South Africa.

Stellenbosch wine region, South Africa

Uitkyk is on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain and enjoys views across the Cape Flats to Table Mountain. The rose garden glows in the sun around the French-designed manor house.

Stellenbosch wine region, South Africa

Franschoek counts as its own little South Africa wine region thanks to a group of Hugenot refugees who settled here in 1688. The fields of vines climb the slopes of the mountains in mist and sunshine – the coastal weather means a long, slow ripening process.

Stellenbosch wine region, South Africa

By Natasha von Geldern

Stellenbosch is the prettiest wine region I’ve visited. What’s your favourite?

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About Natasha von Geldern

Natasha von Geldern is the World Wandering Kiwi, a freelance travel writer, editor and inveterate traveller who is passionate about making the pages of the atlas real one trip at a time.

Comments

  1. I only tasted wines in the surrounding vinyards of Cape Town (I was only there for a very short visit). I am so visiting Stellenbosch next time!

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  1. [...] The Stellenbosch wine region of South Africa mixes delicious wine with gorgeous landscapes and three centuries of architecture and cultivation. It’s pretty hard to beat for a wine tasting destination. [...]

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