South African wine – specifically Stellenbosch wine – is some of the best in the world.
If you’re planning a trip to Cape Town and you like wine, you’ll definitely want to spend a day wine tasting around the region of Stellenbosch. We loved the town so much that we actually wished we had booked a night or two there to see more of it. Next time!
Stellenbosch is a gorgeous little town just 50 km east of Cape Town. The University of Stellenbosch is a prominent fixture, with a whopping 30,000 students taking classes there. As a result, the town has a young-hearted, friendly and easygoing vibe. It is South Africa’s second-oldest town, founded in 1679 on the banks of the Eerste River. The town is filled with art galleries and delicious restaurants.
We started our day at our hotel, the Belmond Mount Nelson in Cape Town. Our driver picked us up and we headed to Stellenbosch, where we wandered around town and grabbed a coffee before our wine tasting adventure began.
The wine estates around Stellenbosch take wine tourism to the next level. There are just so many to choose from! We visited as many as we could, (definitely recommend hiring a designated driver or tour guide,) and these were our favorite stops along the journey.
La Motte Wine Estate and Pierneef a la Motte Restaurant
Our first stop was the La Motte Wine Estate. This winery is one of the highlights of visiting Franschhoek Wine Farm. With a hiking trail, museum tours and historic walks, it’s easy to see why this wine estate attracts many visitors. After just a few minutes in the tasting room, your palette with have gone through a delicious array of Syrah, La Motte Methode Cap Classique and Straw wine. After the tasting we ate lunch at the Pierneef a La Motte Restaurant, which was one of the best meals we had in South Africa. They offer a delectable taste of traditional Cape Winelands cuisine.
Meerlust Wine Estate
The Meerlust Estate has been around since 1756, and is dedicated to the traditional art of winemaking. Its current custodian is an eighth-generation descendant of the property, named Hannes Myburgh. With its historic manor house and classic wine cellar, the property is uniquely positioned to grow grapes for wines with exceptional character and complexity. Tastings are by appointment only, where one can enjoy Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Delaire Graff Estate
Elegantly nestled in the Winelands’ Helshoogte Mountain Pass, Delaire Graff is one of South Africa’s most stunning vineyards, which includes a Lodge and Spa. Along with producing world-class white, clarets, rosé and red wines, Mr. Graff’s personal collection of African artifacts and contemporary art is showcased here. The cool breezes of the Atlantic wash over their sloping vineyards, giving the grapes a rich intensity of fruit to the resulting wines. This was definitely the most luxurious winery I’ve ever visited, and I never wanted to leave.
Muratie Winery Estate
It’s a very difficult choice, but I’d have to say that Muratie was my favorite out of all the wineries we visited. Muratie is awash in vintage charm, with old decors throughout its restaurant and tasting rooms. With aged oak wine barrels come spider webs scattered here and there, which lend an authentic charm to it all. Visiting this estate is like stepping back in time, as old machinery that was once used in the wine making process is on display. After tasting an array of their Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, have your last glass of the day by having dinner at their restaurant. I chose to do a flight of port and chocolate tastings, which was something I had never seen offered at a winery. The port tastings even included a white port paired with white chocolate!
When you are finished satisfying your wine palette, visit Stellenbosch’s Rupert Museum. It showcases the private and unique art of Anton and Huberte Rupert, and is considered to be the premier collection of contemporary South African art. Located on the banks for the Eerste River, this elegant building complements the architectural history, beauty and wine culture of Stellenbosch. I discovered one of my favorite artists at the museum, Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef. The restaurant where we ate lunch is named after him. These are a few of his paintings, which show the glorious colors of the landscapes in South Africa.
Where is your favorite place you’ve been wine tasting? Let me know in the comments below!
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