There is so much magic and amazing wine adventures to be found in the Stellenbosch region. We’ll definitely return with more top wineries to visit in a future blog, but for now we will highlight another 5 unmissable wine estates, that will stimulate all the senses and have you planning your return visit.
Look out for Part 4 of our travel blog where we move over the Stellenbosch mountains to Franschhoek, and take in all the amazing wine, food and culture of this “French“ influenced region.
So, lets get cracking into part 3 of our Stellenbosch wine adventure, kicking off with the historical….
Founded on 1 February 1700, Vergelegen (meaning “situated far away”), has been under the ownership of some of the world’s great explorers and visionaries, each of whom, in their own way, have helped shape Vergelegen to what it is today: a world-class Estate.
With Vergelegen’s award-winning wines, history spanning over 300 years, heritage, exquisite gardens and cuisine to suit all tastes, it comes as no surprise that Vergelegen Estate continues to be the choice of the discerning visitor seeking a total sensory experience.
Think of Vergelegen to spend quality time with family and friends – wine tasting, heritage, environmental and cellar tours, two restaurants and the seasonal luxury Picnic in the camphor forest, are only a few of a myriad of enjoyable activities at Vergelegen.
Top things to do:
- Wine tasting: Guests are give the opportunity to taste from the vast range of wines from the Premium Range right through to their Flagship Range of wines.
- Cellar and Vineyards: View the vineyards and the multiple level, gravity flow cellar firsthand. Designed by French architects in a manner that combines the old with the new, the cellar provides majestic views of the surrounding valley offering visitors the opportunity of understanding the extent of Van der Stel’s vision in current times.
- Environmental tours: An exciting new tour offering at Vergelegen to showcase the culmination of 20 years of ongoing commitment to sustainability and rehabilitation
- Dining: Vergelegen Estate offers three very different dining experiences, but each has a relentless focus on quality, consistency, and hospitality. Vergelegen Estate’s Café Fleur, classic French dining is paired with the floral inspirations of the Estate. Using only the most authentic, local ingredients where we can, diners can expect to hearty, French style cuisine in a truly unique setting. Stables at Vergelegen, the ever-popular family-friendly bistro-styled restaurant, is renowned for its great garden setting and mountain views whilst offering a variety of delectable menu options to suit all culinary needs during the day. Picnics at Vergelegen. Vergelegen’s mystic camphor forest is the setting for a luxury, “white tablecloth” picnic.
- Nature: Vergelegen was the first producer to be awarded BWI ‘Champion’ status in March 2005, having made remarkable progress with its large-scale alien clearing and fire management programme to restore 2240 hectares of their 3000 hectare Estate.
Thoughtfully selected for it’s prime position, Ernie Els Winery is framed by Panoramic Views Of Cape Town and Table Mountain to the west Stellenbosch and the Helderberg Mountains to the East. A Passage Beyond their Grand Granite Boulders, And Through Our Wooden Farmhouse-Style Doors Will Lead You Into Our Homely, Expansive Tasting Room And Restaurant Where You Will Be Rewarded With Exceptional Wines And Hearty Farm-Style Cuisine.
Epitomising the beloved character and celebrated prestige of our namesake, our four collections – Signature, Major Series, Big Easy and Proprietor’s – deliver iconic wines of characteristic style, exclusivity and generosity. Whether applauding exceptional accomplishment, upping the entertainment game or toasting great friendship, Ernie Els Wines always make it an occasion par excellence.
Top things to do:
- Wine Tasting: Make yourself at home in their warm and welcoming Tasting Room – the perfect setting to relax and enjoy an educated wine tasting presentation. The expansive area extends out onto the wide terrace, with majestic Stellenbosch and Helderberg Mountain views.
- Wine & Cheese platters: Assorted Cheese & Artisanal Breads Served with House Made Preserves, Mixed Nuts, Dried Fruits & Tapenade or Assorted Cold Meat, Cheese & Artisanal Breads Served to be enjoyed with your wine tasting.
- Dining at Ernie Els: Savour modern farmhouse cuisine at its finest in a charming open-plan space that extends out onto a terrace with picturesque views of Stellenbosch and the Helderberg mountains. Farm style decor echoes the hearty cuisine made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Seasonal grillworks offer a unique dining experience.
Quality by Design, Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc. That’s it. Since 2000, founder Bruwer Raats has kept his focus on these two varieties, believing that specialising would lead to success. This belief was not unfounded, as today, Raats Family Wines is regarded as a leader of South Africa’s Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc, receiving consistent local and international accolades.
Top things to do:
- Wine Tasting: Family-owned winery, crafting quality wines, nurtured from vineyard to cellar.
Gary and Kathy Jordan have been making world-class wines since 1993 on a farm with a history going back over 300 years. Gary’s parents, Ted and Sheelagh, bought the now 164-hectare Stellenbosch property in 1982, and embarked on an extensive replanting programme, specializing in classic varieties suited to the different soils and slopes.
From the Jordan hillside vineyards, one has spectacular panoramic views of Table Mountain, False Bay and Stellenbosch. Gary and Kathy worked internationally for two years, refining their high-energy instincts with practical experience. They returned home to build a cellar in 1992.
The following year, the vines were judged ready for making wines that would carry the Jordan name. From that first year, it was obvious that a new star had been added to the winemaking firmament. Continuing success has enlarged the team, with the focus on producing fiercely individual wines that combine the fruity accessibility of the New World with the classic elegance of the old.
Top things to do:
- Wine tasting: Curate your own wine tasting. Enjoy a selection of wines of your choice, while you sit back, relax and take in the panoramic views, and discover why the Jordan terroir is unique by nature’s design.
- Dine at Jordan Wines: The Restaurant at Jordan, with Marthinus Ferreira. This is a formal dining experience celebrating contemporary farm cuisine. They accommodate families to the extent that children have been made accustomed to a formal restaurant environment on a working farm and dining with other, well-travelled clientele.
- Cellar & Wine: Enjoy a guided tour through their wine cellar explaining the winemaking process and what makes Jordan Wines Estate so unique. Including 5 wine tasting. You might even get a chance to see some action in the cellar!
- Behind the scenes harvest tour: Experience the harvest activities in the cellar, taste juice and fermenting wines from tank, taste additional wines outside on the terrace.
- Stay at Jordan: Tucked away close to the winery, restaurant, and The Cellar Door, the luxury suites on Jordan Wine Estate enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the vineyards and Stellenbosch Mountains. Each suite has spacious interiors that are individually designed and uniquely decorated, making the Jordan Luxury Suites an ideal choice for a unique Winelands getaway.
- Mountain Biking: Bottelary Hills MTB Trails were opened by the Bottelary Hills Conservancy in April 2011 and allow controlled access to the conservancy via dedicated, well-marked routes. The rolling hillsides feature vineyards, farmland, conservation areas, and trails comprised of farm roads, jeep tracks, and numerous singletracks.
The trails are situated on private working wine farms. Only annual or day permit holders are allowed access to the trails and bike boards must be displayed on handlebars at all times. You can ride from sunrise to sunset.
Steeped in history dating back to 1692, Lanzerac Wine Estate is a historic landmark and Stellenbosch icon. The grande dame is synonymous with old-world charm and rich Cape heritage. Positioned in the idyllic Jonkershoek Valley on the outskirts of the historical town of Stellenbosch, the Estate boasts views of dramatic mountain ranges, endless rows of lush vineyards and hectares of gardens shaded by giant Oak trees.
The homestead was transformed into a manor house in 1959 – reminiscent of the traditional French way of fusing a country hotel and wine estate. Today the iconic property hosts an elegant five-star Country hotel, acclaimed bars, restaurants and Deli, a remarkable tasting venue and a chic day spa.
Top things to do:
- Wine Tasting: Home to the world’s first bottles Pinotage, their range of award-winning wines has been honed to maintain the excellent quality that Lanzerac estate has become known for.
- The Lanzerac Spa: Unwind and rejuvenate at the Lanzerac Spa, a sought-after wellness retreat and relaxation hideaway. Relax the senses and let the harmony and tranquillity of this majestic valley gently restore body and mind.
- Dining at Lanzerac
- LANZERAC DELI
- Indulge in the heart of the Cape Winelands with the very best in fresh and artisan produce. Tucked amidst vineyards and giant Oaks, the Deli is the perfect gourmet retreat for diners in search of home-made delights and sweet culinary creations. Famous for its cappuccinos and all-day breakfast, the Deli offers a wide selection of homemade bread, pastries, gourmet sandwiches, locally sourced cheese and charcuterie platters, all of which can be enjoyed in a cosy indoor setting or outdoors on the terrace.
- MANOR KITCHEN
- Known equally through the years for award-winning wines and acclaimed restaurants, Lanzerac has established itself as one of Stellenbosch’s top gourmet destinations.
At the Manor Kitchen, guests can indulge in an opulent buffet breakfast or treat themselves to classical dinner dishes reimagined with contemporary influences and comprised of the very best local, seasonal ingredients. Diners will get a glimpse of the creativity that goes into preparing these appetizing meals through the large-scale windows that look in on the kitchen’s operations. With craftsmanship and artistry, the chefs bring imaginative concepts into tangible forms, marrying the perfect balance of unique flavours and textures.
The succession of ownership through the eras has layered the Estate’s rich history, and present day Lanzerac honours the rich and vast legacy by telling the stories of its past. Created during the Rawdon era, the Taphuis Bar is a place where guests have created many memories. The treacle brown bar has been welcoming thirsty travellers since the 1960’s, and although damaged in the 2017 fire, it has undergone extensive repairs to retain its original feel, with some of the elements that were salvaged from the flames being reused alongside new additions. The Taphuis’ country-inspired décor is rich in texture with rough stone walls, brick floors and exposed wooden ceilings.
- CRAVEN LOUNGE
Enjoy a relaxed evening in the Craven Lounge, boasting an extensive selection of the finest local and international spirits, a carefully curated wine list, and a wide range of craft beers. The tapas menu creates a relaxed and informal dining environment, where guests can choose between a variety of small plates.
- Private Functions: Lanzerac is home to a wide range of rooms, dining areas and private venues for exclusive and private functions such as gala dinners, birthday parties, anniversaries, family get-togethers and cocktail parties. Choose from a range of venues ranging in size, with each space being tailored to meet the needs of the particular event.
- Wedding at Lanzerac: For the most romantic and memorable wedding, you simply cannot overlook the Stellenbosch Winelands. Nestled in the foothills of the idyllic Jonkershoek Valley, ceremonies and receptions are conducted against a spectacular scenic backdrop. The Estate boasts views of dramatic mountain ranges and endless rows of lush vineyards, making it the perfect romantic retreat for wedding couples.
- Raats Family Wines
- Ernie Els Wines
- Jordan Wine Estate
- Lanzerac Wine Estate