Stellenbosch Re-Affirms Its Pride of Place In 365 Years of South African Wine
South Africa celebrates the official 365th anniversary of winemaking this week. As a leading pioneer in its evolution, Stellenbosch joins in by highlighting its journey and the features that make it the continent’s premier destination for local and international wine lovers.
South Africa is the only country in the world able to pinpoint the start of its industry thanks to the first written record appearing on February 2, 1659. Not far from that early vineyard, Stellenbosch eventually emerged as a cornerstone of its rise thanks to numerous defining milestones. Among them, Stellenbosch was where South Africa’s famous Pinotage grape was developed; Cap Classique was born; and, where the country’s first wine route was established.
This vibrant town, situated amidst vineyards and framed by the dramatic mountains of the Western Cape, is not just South Africa’s wine and culinary capital, it’s a destination in constant evolution. It presents an idyllic blend of beautiful landscapes, outdoor adventure, and family-friendly destinations par excellence – the perfect year-round place to stay and play.
To celebrate the 365th harvest, here are an equal number of reasons to make Stellenbosch ideal for the next break-away.
Reasons 1-120: Sip, savour, explore
Each of the 120 wine estates along the Stellenbosch Wine Routes is unique. From the sprawling, vineyards of family-owned estates to the avant-garde architecture of a modern winery, every location is distinct. Experiences include wine tastings, vineyard tours, and even harvest experiences that provide insights into the art of winemaking.
Reason 121: Stellenbosch wine event of the year
Wine Town Stellenbosch, incorporating the Stellenbosch Wine Festival, involves more than mere wine tasting—it’s cultural immersion. Wine Town Stellenbosch (30 July – 4 August) transforms the region into a hive of activity, with local artists and chefs showcasing their talents alongside the winemakers. The Stellenbosch Wine Festival (2 – 3 August) at the Town Hall offers a curated experience of premium wines paired with gourmet food.
Reason 122: Get Stellenbosch wine routes in a snapshot
The Simon Wine Emporium is a treasure. With a vast collection of Stellenbosch wines, it’s a place to discover rare vintages and new releases through tastings and wine flights. Wine is available at cellar door prices and may be shipped globally
Reasons 123-201: A world of flavours
Stellenbosch’s culinary scene is as diverse as its wines. From the contemporary twists on traditional South African dishes at Eike to the farm-to-table delights at Spek en Bone, each restaurant offers a unique experience. Indulge in the sophisticated creations of Marthinus Ferreira at Jordan Wines or elegant fine dining at Rust en Vrede. Enjoy the relaxed, family-friendly vibe at Geuwels or lazy bistro chic at The Vine Bistro. There are many more!
Reasons 202-303: Find your perfect stay
Diverse and numerous accommodations ensure every visitor finds a perfect fit. Luxury seekers can find solace in the exclusive suites of Lanzerac, while those seeking a more intimate experience may prefer the rustic elegance of Jordan Wine Estate’s cottages. Budget travellers and families are also well catered for, with numerous cozy B&Bs.
Reasons 304-344: Unforgettable trips, tours, and experiences
The tours and adventures in Stellenbosch cater to every interest. History buffs can explore the town’s heritage on foot, while thrill chasers can embark on mountain biking expeditions. The Vinehopper tour is a novel way to explore, allowing visitors to hop on and off at various estates. For a unique experience, Scoottours offers downhill non-motorised scooter rides, and Segway tours provide a fun way to get out and about.
Reasons 345-359: Sip in style
Each of Stellenbosch’s 14 wine bars has its own personality. From chic, modern spaces to intimate nooks, these are perfect places to unwind. Some have live music, and many offer the opportunity to engage with local winemakers at organised events.
Reason 360: Thrill and tranquillity
Numerous farms and wilderness areas are open to the public, making them a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts – hikers, cyclists, bikers, walkers, birdwatchers, joggers and more.
Reason 361: Rejuvenate your senses
In Stellenbosch, world-class spas blend luxury and serenity through ranges of rejuvenating treatments. Surrounded by stunning vineyard landscapes, most of these havens are perfect for meditation and connecting with nature.
Reason 362: Family fun in vineyard country
Recognising the importance of family, many Stellenbosch estates offer family-friendly experiences. From educational grape juice tastings for kids to playgrounds and safe open spaces, the region ensures an enjoyable and memorable stay, whatever your age.
Reason 363: Luxury within reach
The diversity of Stellenbosch means that elegance and sophistication remain within reach, whether its accommodation to experiences and excursions. The best of Stellenbosch – a South African gem – is accessible without breaking the bank.
Reason 364: Stellenbosch – Where art and vineyards meet
Stellenbosch is a vibrant showcase of artistic expression, blending sculptures, galleries, and installations with its renowned winemaking heritage. Wander through its streets adorned with striking sculptures, explore diverse art collections in local galleries, and experience the serene beauty of the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden. Many wine farms enhance the tasting experience with their own art exhibits.
Reason 365: Step into history
Stellenbosch’s heritage is visible in its splendid Cape Dutch architecture, museums, and galleries. The town’s history is intertwined with its present, offering a glimpse into the past while enjoying contemporary South African culture.
Stellenbosch offers something for everyone. Its blend of historical richness, culinary excellence, diverse accommodations, adventurous experiences, and, of course, its extensive range of wines, is the reason it remains a must-visit destination. Whether you’re there to celebrate 365 years of winemaking history or just to enjoy a summer getaway, Stellenbosch promises an unforgettable experience.
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