Stellenbosch is perhaps South Africa’s most famous wine-producing region and is home to some of its best-known wineries, renowned for the quality of their Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Bordeaux Blends.
The Stellenbosch region is also where Pinotage was born in 1924 from a crossing of the Pinot Noir and Cinsault wine grape varieties. Amongst one of the best-known towns in South Africa, it is its oldest settlement after Cape Town, established on the banks of the Eerste river in 1679, and its charming streets still bear witness to its unique Cape heritage. Solid, white-washed Cape Dutch style buildings jostle with Georgian and Victorian architecture, reflecting its three centuries of occupation, in the oak-lined streets. The term Eikestad (Town of Oaks) is still used to describe this picturesque town today. The town boasts a myriad of museums and other places of interest, and there are plenty of enticing shops and cafés in which to while away an hour or two as well.
French Huguenots were the first to plant vines in the Stellenbosch region in the 1690s and the region is still at the forefront of the growth in the country’s wine industry, home to nearly a fifth of all South African vines today. It represents the true home of the Cape’s flourishing wine industry.
French Huguenots were the first to plant vines in the Stellenbosch region in the 1690s and the region is still at the forefront of the growth in the country’s wine industry, home to nearly a fifth of all South African vines today. It represents the true home of the Cape’s flourishing wine industry, with several educational centres, including the University of Stellenbosch, educating the country’s fledgling winemakers. Its educational institutes also carry out important research into new varietals, clones and rootstocks on their experimental farms. Not only does the Stellenbosch region dominate the South African wine scene in terms of wine quality, education and history, it has also played a pioneering role in promoting wine tourism. The Stellenbosch region was the first in South Africa to organise a network of wineries into a formal wine route, where visitors can get a glimpse into the soul of its winelands, and is also connected to the Great Wine Capitals Network.
The Stellenbosch region boasts more than 150 wineries opening their cellar doors to visitor. Each offers a unique experience of South African wine culture. Visitors can taste the region’s premium wines and tour top wineries, both contemporary and historic, whilst admiring the towering mountains which encircle the region. It is now one of South Africa’s most popular tourist destinations and, with its unique blend of wine heritage and spectacular surroundings, it’s easy to see why. With so many wineries to choose from, the Stellenbosch region is the perfect location to dig deeper into South African wine heritage and our local experts at Wine Paths can help you create your ideal programme.
The Stellenbosch region’s mountainous terrain, good rainfall, well-drained soils and diversity of terroir make it one of the most sought after viticultural areas in the country for both winemakers and visitors alike. The Stellenbosch region is divided into a number of wards and several unofficial areas, which each has its own distinctive style for visitors to the region to discover, so Stellenbosch has also defined five sub-routes with their own characteristics in terms of geographical location, climate and style. Its hot, dry climate make it ideal for producing premium red-wine grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates plantings, but Merlot and Shiraz are also widely planted. Cool breezes from False Bay cool down the vineyards nearer the ocean, where white Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc find their homes.
The Stellenbosch region’s mix of historic estates and contemporary wineries, fine examples of a wide range of varieties and its stunning winelands dwarfed by spectacular scenery will all combine to create a sensational wine experience. Let our local experts at Wine Paths help you create it.
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