Stellenbosch Top Wineries
Tucked away in one of the most romantic corners of the world, is a beautiful town called Stellenbosch. Only a 2 hour drive from Cape Town, it is the second oldest town in South Africa and has some of the oldest wine routes in South Africa. We knew we had to make a stop to some of the Top Stellenbosch Wineries as we journeyed through!
The setting is spectacular with vineyards surrounding the town, and there’s a lot to do from wine tastings, shopping, and dining at some award winning restaurants.
Here are our recommendations to help you plan your time in Stellenbosch.
What to Do?
1. Wine Estates, Safaris, & Wine-Chocolate Tasting: there are many ways to experience a winery, and Stellenbosch wineries offer wine safaris, tours of old wine estates, and even a chocolate & wine tasting! Our favorites included Muratie and Waterford:
Muratie: We highly recommend a visit to one of the oldest wine estates in South Africa, tucked away in the exquisite Knorhoek Valley – Muratie Wine Estate. The farm dates back to 1685 when the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, Governor Simon van der Stel, oversaw the estate. Now, under the stewardship of Rijk Melck and his family, this estate a rich history full of stories from the generations who have lived and worked here.
In fact, some of the wines are named after these colorful characters, like the MCC bubbly is known as Lady Alice, Ronnie Melck (Shiraz), Ansela van de Caab (blended red), and Isabella (Chardonnay). There’s a guest cottage where you can stay, and/or you can arrange for a sit down homemade dinner for in the estate’s dining room for quite a nice affair. To make a reservation, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Waterford Estate: You need to experience the heart and soul of Waterford Estate. We learned it’s more than a single season, harvest, vintage. “The trickling sound of the fountain is evocative to the clear streams that traverse this unique property, a place where family and nature’s abundance are cherished and prosperity is celebrated,” shared winemaker Kevin Arnold, as we entered the courtyard in the main building.
Kevin is the managing partner and cellar master of Waterford, and has created an enchanting Wine Safari, where you drive through the vineyards to taste the wine, and experience the natural beauty of the estate. In the middle of the vineyards, he laid a picnic cloth on a table, opened up a 2-tiered canister of olives, nuts, and noted, “The Waterford Way is a philosophy that celebrates prosperity, life, food, wine, family and friends, and guides all that we do here.” Kevin is passionate about winemaking. Any guest needs to experience the wine safari, and the wine-chocolate pairing he personally designed – a must try!
2. Shop in Stellenbosch: stroll the streets of this town, and enjoy shopping in the boutiques. There are several cafes if you need to take a rest and have a refreshing drink.
3. Visit Franschoek: nestled in the mountains of the Cape, is the small town of Franschoek. Spend at least a day here, and visit wineries, shop, and make a reservation for dinner at Grande Provence!
Where to Dine?
Grande Provence: a dinner to remember! Located in Franschoek, just 15 mins from Stellenbosch, and you can walk the grounds of Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate , visit the art gallery next door, before sitting down for a splendid dinner in a chic setting. Chef Darren Badenhorst will take you on a culinary journey of food and wine. This is a must hit spot as you visit Stellenbosch top wineries!
Where to Stay?
De Rusthuiz Guesthouse: This quiet guest house is located in the center of the charming town of Stellenbosch. From the minute you enter the gardens, you feel right at home! The staff and service is wonderful, and the guest rooms are clean and spacious. In the heart of the wine region, De Rusthuiz is a great home base to explore the area that offers an abundance of birdlife, historic farmhouses, vineyards and mountain views. There’s even a swimming pool and “braai” (BBQ) area.
How to Get Around?
A2B Charters: A2B Charters chauffeured us from Cape Town to Stellenbosch, and provided transportation throughout the Stellenbosch region. They provide luxury transport for individuals, families, friends, or tour groups. Our driver was friendly and a well trained professional drivers. A2B maintains high safety standards and a happy customer base. Ask for William – he was a fantastic driver!
By Patricia Stone, a travel writer and consultant
Acknowledgments: we would like to thank A2B Charters for hosting us and transporting us throughout this region. Also, we thank Muratie and Waterford Estate for the incredible tours of their wine estates.
If you enjoyed this article, you’ll want to read our “Top 10” recommendations for Cape Town at: Cape Town, the Rainbow City
- Stellenbosch Tourism Office – the tourism office provides fantastic recommendations to help you plan your trip to this area.
- Stellenbosch Wine Routes – this is a helpful site that highlights the five different wine areas in the area. We’ve heard that Fairview is a favorite route – they make really good wines, with some great tongue in cheek names, like the ‘Bored ewe’ – which is only a little bit of a play on Bordeaux, and they make cheeses as well. One of the great features of this estate is the goat’s tower. http://www.fairview.co.za/