South Africa’s Cape Winelands are undoubtedly among the most beautiful settings in the world for taking a wine tour – imagine picture postcard views of sprawling vineyards nestled in the foothills of imposing granite mountains in every direction.
And, settled on the banks of the Eertse River, Stellenbosch is the jewel in the country’s wine making crown – the birthplace of South Africa’s signature Pinotage and where the nation’s first wine route was established in 1971. Stellenbosch wineries have an award-winning heritage, earning international praise for the quality of wines produced in the shadows of the mountains, from Helderberg in the south to the lower slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain in the north.
Traditionally renowned for white varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, many of the best wineries in Stellenbosch have recently turned their attention to premium red wines. Cabernet Sauvignon is now the most widely planted grape, trailed by Shiraz (known as Syrah elsewhere) and Merlot – which are often used to create impressive Bordeaux style blends.
With its diverse range of fine wines, spectacular views and hundreds of incredibly accommodating wineries, ranging from old colonial farms to small boutique estates, it’s no surprise that Stellenbosch is regarded as the epicentre of South Africa wine.
At Wine Paths, our local experts can organise a range of exclusive tours to Stellenbosch wineries, which can include elaborate tastings, luxury accommodations, fine dining experiences and some unique activities in the South African wilderness.
The traditional Kanonkop estate is arguably the most recognised Stellenbosch winery in the region, with a history of producing wines of exquisite quality that are respected around the world. The estate, which has been showered with awards over the last decade, has been described as South Africa’s equivalent of a Premier Cru.
Our private wine tasting at Kanonkop includes the opportunity to meet the estate’s owner or Cellar Master before sampling five current vintages, as well as a selection of three older vintages of Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Paul Sauer.
A Stellenbosch winery that can claim a similar pioneering heritage in the region is the Simonsig Estate, which dates back to the arrival of the celebrated Malan family in 1688 – and it was their French influence that brought the first Methode Cap Classique (sparkling) wines to South Africa.
During a private tasting and gourmet lunch at Simonsig, you will be able to sample several of the vineyards finest styles as well as a memorable meal at the highly regarded Cuvee restaurant on site – before leaving with a bottle of Kaapse Vonkel Brut signed by the winemaker.
Another winery in Stellenbosch that has grown from French roots is the Marianne estate, which has garnered a reputation for producing exemplary Bordeaux-style blends that age more gracefully than its neighbouring farms.
Wine Paths’ Full Marianne Experience includes a professional guided tour of the vineyards and cellar room, which uses only the best French oak barrels, and tastings of their flagship wines. With luxury accommodation available at the Manor House and several loft apartments, as well as the Floreal Brasserie, on site, Marianne offers a complete one-stop destination for wine enthusiasts.
On a smaller scale, the family-owned boutique Uva Mira offers the unique experience of sampling wines from a glass-walled Stellenbosch winery surrounded by panoramic views of the Helderberg Mountains – where you can also enjoy a picnic perched on the highest peak.
All of our private tours can be tailor made to meet your exact requirements, ensuring every detail is taken care of before you arrive. Contact us for more information and inspirational ideas before planning a visit to explore Stellenbosch wineries.