Exploring the Stellenbosch wine offering
As a Wine Specialist tour guide, the place most often requested by international guests for their wine initiation into South Africa, is Stellenbosch. Since this area has the largest number of wine estates (over 200, which include the “Golden Triangle of Red Wines” at the base of the Helderberg Mountain) I guess I shouldn’t be surprised!
It’s one of the oldest areas where vines were planted locally, second to Constantia of course. The area has both scenic and architectural beauty, a cultural richness, and their food and wine offerings pair beautifully with the magnificent mountain views. Often regarded as the wine capital of South Africa, it is also home to the country’s largest wine and spirit producer, Distell, as well as the centre of viticultural and winemaking research and training, through Stellenbosch University and Elsenburg College.
Besides its status as a leading cultural, education and leisure destination, it is wine that has made, and continues to make, Stellenbosch famous. The region's potential for producing quality wines, and as a tourism hub, has seen investors from as far a field as France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and America staking their claim in the Stellenbosch winelands. In 1971 Stellenbosch became the first wine region in South Africa to establish a wine route as an organised network of wineries at which the tourist could experience the product of the vine and tune into the soul of the region's winelands. The Stellenbosch wine route turned a new leaf in 2002 with the founding of the Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Routes. The Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Routes include 5 sub-routes which each have their own characteristics in terms of prominent wine styles, climates and geographical location.
The area is almost entirely surrounded by various mountain ranges and it also has the advantage of facing onto False Bay. “The Cape Doctor”, the prevailing South-Easter wind, works its magic by keeping the vines cool and helping to control diseases by reducing humidity in the vineyard. Although many vines stretch up the mountain slopes, the lower undulating hills are a carpet of vineyards. Almost all classic varieties are represented here, though to a lesser degree the sweeter wines.
At Checkers we bring the Stellenbosch wine route right to your door. Try some of our wines from the following award-winning estates:
Kleine Zalze, Simonsig, Spier, Ken Forrester, Warwick, Lourensford, Vergelegen, Neethlingshof, Thelema, Meerlust, Hartenberg and Tokara.