Is Stellenbosch One of Best Wine Regions in the World?

NatashaAfrica, Categories, Destinations, Eats & Drink, South Africa0 Comments

Stellenbosch: One of the worlds best wine regions

Just a 45 minute drive away from Cape Town lies one the best wine regions in the world. Of course, many travelers get caught up with names like Bordeaux, Tuscany, and Burgundy, but don’t forget about the fantastic New World wine regions in the Southern Hemisphere. The wines here are just as quality and at a fraction of the cost. South Africa has many crown jewels, and the stunning Stellenbosch wine region happens to be one of them. The wine region has a rich heritage, splendid landscapes, a lively university, and of course fine restaurants paired with beautiful wine. 


Delheim: best wine regions in the world

Why is Stellenbosch one of the best wine regions in the world?

The Wine

South Africa produces over 959 million liters of wine each year, making the country the seventh-largest wine producer in the world. There are over 200 wine producers in the Stellenbosch valley contributing to that figure. I won’t claim to be a Master Sommelier, but I do know a good wine when I taste one. So, I was delighted to spend five days in Stellenbosch trying out some seriously delicious wine.  Stellenbosch is seated at the base of the Cape Fold mountains, which provides the rich soil needed for their exquisite wines. They also have that whole Mediterranean climate thing going for them, with hot dry summers and cool wet winters making for well-seasoned grapes with good character. Stellenbosch’s signal variety is their Pinotage wine, that gives consumers earthy and smokey flavors with a deep red color. It will be hard to avoid Pinotage on any trip to Stellenbosch.

The People

It must be something in the wine because the people in Stellenbosch take hospitality to a new level. We went on a plethora of wine and vineyard tours, and at each establishment, we were met with a friendly smile.

The Transport

Whether you have access to a vehicle of your own or not, it’s very easy to get around Stellenbosch. I know it sounds massive with over 200 wineries; however, they are spaced close together and are all within 10 minutes of each other. For those without a car, Vine Hoppers, offers a “hop on hop off” experience with all the major vineyards in route – no need for any DD! Uber is also prevalent in Stellenbosch and makes for an easy and affordable option to get from point A to point B. While Stellenbosch’s proximity to Cape Town, only 40 km away, makes it a great day trip destination.

The Region

I mentioned before that Stellenbosch is located at the foot of the mountains surrounding it. So when it is decided that enough wine is enough, there is always a spectacular mountain to be hiked!

Sipping the wine in Stellenbosch

The Cost

Anyone coming from North America, Australia, or Europe can be prepared for an exceptionally good time in Stellenbosch. The cost for a glass or bottle of wine is more affordable than a daily cappuccino at Starbucks. A glass of red wine will cost all of $3 at a restaurant, or go big and get a bottle for $6. Yes, I’m serious, even the fine wines here are cheap in comparison to America.

Best Wine Regions In The World

R135=$9.50 at the time of writing this. And that’s the fancy stuff!

What to do in Stellenbosch

It’s hard to pinpoint exact favorites as the whole region is fantastic, but for my fellow winos out there here are some “must have” experiences while in one of the best wine regions in the world.

Go on a wine and food pairing extravaganza

This isn’t the land of wine and cheese pairings, this is the land of everything pairings. Wine and biltong? Check. Wine and salt? Of course. Wine and cupcakes? Definitely! Try searching around for any food type that may suit your fancy here. Or read about our six favorite wine and food pairing options in South Africa.

wine-and-salt-pairing

Enjoy a night at one of South Africa’s finest restaurants.

For a taste of luxury then a visit to Delaire Graff Estate is a must. The whole property overlooks the Stellenbosch valley providing absolutely breathtaking views. At $1000/night a stay at Delaire Graff may not be viable for some, but a night out at the world class restaurant Indochine is! For $50, diners can experience a fantastic seven course Asian infused dining experience.

Delaire Graff Estates

If you’re not in the mood for a complete seven-course meal then we found great quality food at Makaron Restaurant. Makaron Restaurant is part of the Majeka House right off Houtkapper Street. They have a fantastic three-course wine pairing every night from 6:30pm-8:30pm set in their cozy yet modern restaurant. The menu changes every night but we assure you that you won’t leave disappointed. We had an awesome meal here kicked off with beef tartare, followed by slow braised lamb, and finished with vanilla creme brulee.

Makaron Restaurant

 

Take a Walking Tour of Kayamandi

Kayamandi is a developing township in the Stellenbosch area. The township is massive with over 5000 inhabitants, but don’t let that intimidate you! The people are friendly and inviting, and the township is buzzing with energy. We went on a walking tour with African Experience and it was interesting to see the other side of Stellenbosch and get a glimpse at township life in South Africa. Afterward enjoy a traditional meal at Nokawe. But come hungry, our wonderful host Nokawe, makes enough food for a football team on Thanksgiving.

Kayamandi Township Tour

Work on that wine waistline and go biking

After just a day of delicious food and wine, we desperately needed a workout. We decided to hit the town with Adventure Shop Stellenbosch on a historical bike tour around Stellenbosch.

best wine regions in the world: Stellenbosch

Tour a vineyard on two wheels

I had always thought that Segways were a little nerdy, however after our tour of Spier farm with Segway Spier I have a new found love for the personal transporter. We took to the paths and got lost through the rolling, organic farms of Spier without breaking a sweat.

Stay Authentic While in Stellenbosch

We called the peaceful Rozendal Farm home for a few days while we explored the Winelands. Auberge Rozendal is conveniently located just outside of Stellenbosch town in the forested slopes of the Jonkershoek Valley.  The farm is family owned and has 16 quaint rooms with a large patio facing the surrounding mountains.

Our beautiful stay at Rozendal

Breakfast at Rozendal was our favorite part of waking up each day. The farm is all organic so we were treated with fresh eggs, fruit, and vegetables every morning. Usually, we are in a rush to finish breakfast, but we never wanted to leave here as the firewood cracked in the large fireplace.

In one of the best wine regions in the world

As if a quiet farm stay and organic food weren’t enough, Rozendal is home to award-winning vinegar. Visitors and overnight guests can take part in their daily vinegar tasting tour where everyone can try their signature Hibiscus, Fynbos, Green Tea, and Lavender vinegar. We decided to go home with the Hibiscus, which won the Best Vinegar at the SOFI Awards.

vinegar tasting at rozendal

This South African wine region was a great place to kick back, relax, and get a tiny bit drunk on some fantastic wine after a week on safari. Whether you have a day or a week, Stellenbosch will not disappoint!

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Plan Your Trip to Stellenbosch

 

 

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