Ready to hit a new wine region? How about Stellenbosch in South Africa, a short drive east of Cape Town?
So, we finally hit the road east from our hotel to get to Stellenbosch. We made a few stops in the wine region hitting some wineries pretty much randomly.
We did apply enough intelligence to the itinerary to make sure the first one we hit was one that had a place to eat since we were getting there around lunch time. The winery we chose (Vergelegen) had very large fields and gardens and a café where you could eat lunch in the shade of trees overlooking a rose garden. We then proceeded to the wine tasting area where for a fee (on top of the R10 we paid to enter the property…), we could sample 6 wines. Not getting into details, the wines generally were refreshing and quite drinkable. It was a blue-sky day and we faced a mountain range so the setting was perfect to sit back and enjoy life.
After the initial winery, since wineries began closing after 4 PM, we chose a road where there were a few wineries back to back to minimize driving time (did I say we both studied engineering??). The first winery was in an old building and the wine was quite nice. In this winery, the person who served us stood there by us and happily answered our questions but the conversation was nothing special. In a later winery (Peter Falke, not to be confused with the actor; the owner, if I remember correctly, was a German who owned a socks company in Germany) that seemed a little bigger (but not as big as the first one we went to), the only employee in that afternoon was the winemaker himself who was quite willing to sit outside with us and sample the wine on the backyard as we overlooked the fields and the nearby mountains. You can tell this winery is new but the setting is perfect to be rented out for events as it has the right lay out in the patio, has great outdoor furniture, etc. He was quite willing to discuss winemaking and generally answer our questions so I think this winery was my favorite . The wine was also quite nice.
In Stellenbosch Town
As the wineries closed, we headed into town to check in and have dinner. Our hotel was a local small hotel (the Eendracht) right in town. The architecture of the town as in much of the Cape region, is Cape Dutch. I, not being a student of architecture, have to admit I was clueless about it. I really found it quite charming. I will make a note to someday google it and learn something about it…
The town was very nice and we quickly ran into the shops and restaurant area of the town. We also hit a wine store where we were given samples of wine without any pressure to buy. The store had a long wooden table that indicated frequent wine tastings took place. If I lived there, I would likely frequent it :). That night we decided we were done with seafood so we smelled our way around the various restaurants until we found one that seemed right for a good meal. I don’t have the name handy but I think we did well. The place was full of locals and the meal was great. I ate springbok (a type of deer) in a brown sauce – it was delicious!So with that ended my weekend escape to the Cape region and I proceeded to the less magnificent Johannesburg area (but with interesting history) (read about it here). I also learned quickly in my trip to South Africa how cheap things are given the exchange rate!
Big thumbs up for the Cape region and here is to hoping to go back!
Does anyone have any recommendations for other wineries in Stellenbosch?
(Photos taken with Canon EOS Rebel)