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Your guide to the out-of-the-box vineyards in Stellenbosch

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Your guide to the out-of-the-box vineyards in Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch is one of the Cape’s oldest wine regions and it offers quite a few, truly unique vineyard experiences.

Stellenbosch is nestled comfortably within the Western Cape’s wine region and has earned a reputation for being one of the most notable, beautiful, and oldest wine-producing areas in South Africa.

This region is home to more than 150 different wineries and vineyards, and it has certainly been established as a must-visit destination for oenophiles (wine connoisseurs) from across the country and across the globe.

All about the Stellenbosch wine regions

Visitors to the Stellenbosch region are certainly spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring vineyards of all shapes and sizes. And according to the newest 2023 World’s Best Vineyards rankings – Stellenbosch wineries, like Delaire Graff Estate (ranked number 36 on the list) and Tokara Winery (ranked number 94 on the list) are some of the best wineries not only in the country, but also in the world.

However, with so many options spread out on Stellenbosch’s sprawling hills, it is always helpful to know where to go when you are looking for something a little bit different.

Your guide to Stellenbosch wines

Regardless of which vineyards and wineries you choose to visit on your trip to Stellenbosch, the more important thing is to familiarise yourself with this region’s most popular wines.

Stellenbosch’s vineyards have a wide variety of soil types which make for some pretty interesting growing conditions. The region is fairly warm and dry and gets a good amount of cool breeze. This means that you will find quite a few types of wine on offer, including:

Varietal Description
Pinotage Stellenbosch is the birthplace of Pinotage, which is a deep red varietal which is a cross between a Pinot noir and Cinsaut.
Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Sauvignon is known as the ‘King of Red Grapes’, with a dark, berry flavours.
Chenin Blanc Chenin Blanc is a white wine with honeyed and fruity flavours that often has a slight acidic tang.
Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon Blanc has a uniquely fresh white wine taste, with considerable earthy and fruity undertones.
Shiraz Shiraz is a rich red wine which balances fresh fruity flavours with a peppery kick.

You may also come across other wines like Chardonnay, Merlot, Colombar, and more, in this region.

Stellenbosch vineyards that are a destination

Visiting any vineyard within the Cape wine region is bound to be an experience unlike any other, but there are a few vineyards and wineries in the Stellenbosch area which have truly gone out of their way to make their estates a destination.

Visiting Spier, for instance, can include everything from a Segway tour to a visit to the bird-of-prey sanctuary. Murarie has a variety of hiking trails, activities and even a gin distillery to check out. Delaire Graff has a luxury spa, a sculpture garden and a range of on-site boutiques and stores. Blaauwklippen is the place to go if you want to socialize, with an array of markets during peak times, a bike park, a glasshouse and more.

The best vineyard-based restaurants in Stellenbosch

While Stellenbosch is known all over the world for its exquisite wineries, this region is also a must-visit destination for foodies. And there are quite a few Stellenbosch wine farms that manage to combine great wines and great food.

Some of the best vineyard-based restaurants that you can visit during your time in Stellenbosch can be summarized as follows:

Restaurant Cuisine Vineyard
Kunjani European and African Kunjani Wines
Rust en Vrede Restaurant Fine dining Rust en Vrede Wine Estate
Lanzerac Manor Kitchen Contemporary Lanzerac Wine Estate
The Bakery at Jordan Deli and bistro with baked goods Jordan Wine Estate
Cavalli Dine Contemporary Cavalli Estate

Stellenbosch vineyards that offer unique experiences

There are few things more relaxing than sipping on a glass of wine and staring at a beautiful view, but this is not necessarily the only way to savour the flavours of a good glass of Stellenbosch wine.

Putting a new spin on the classic wine tasting activity is not always easy, but there are a few of the wineries in the Stellenbosch area which offer something that you are not likely to find anywhere else. This includes:

  • The wine safari at Warwick that takes visitors on a guided tour of the estate’s vineyards
  • The wine and olive oil tastings at Morgenster Estate and Tokara
  • The famous Indian runner ducks at Vergenoegd Löw
  • The bespoke cupcake and wine pairing at Delheim
  • The opportunity to ‘sabrage’ (the technique of opening a bottle with a long sword called a saber) at the Cuvée Tasting Room at the Simonsig Wine Estate