Stellenbosch and the wine

Thursday 17 to Saturday 19 November

It had been hard work, travelling every day with single night stop overs. There were so many options for side trips, but effectively we only had time to view what was en route.

So we were excited to reach Stellenbosch with the promise of two nights in the one location. We wandered into town to get the feel of the place and find dinner. It was a balmy evening and the town is pretty with wide streets and a lot of water flowing through.

Of course Stellenbosch is the home of South African wine and we were there to sample it.  We took a tour that included four wineries with lunch at the fourth.

The wine most promoted is the Pinotage which is a blend of Pinto Noir and Hermitage. It was on offer everywhere. Tastings were charged at each vineyard and we had been warned to bring cash. 

Our first stop was at Bergkelder Wine Centre where we were given an extensive tour of the Mountain Cellar and the bottling facilities. This facility is huge, everything about it was on a grand scale – the cellar, the stored bottles of wine, the bottling plant. 

It was just after 10:20 in the morning and we were offered our first tasting. This is going to be a long day!

Next was Beyerskloof Vineyard, which claims to be the home of Pinotage. The farm’s original name was Nooitgedacht, and had been in the Beyers family for five generations until it was sold in 1895.

In 1988 Beyers Truter, with other partners, purchased the property to establish a wine farm. Coincidentally Beyers Truter is a direct descendent of the original Beyers family, thus making him the sixth generation to farm this land. It was this link that gave the name Beyerskloof.

Then to Simonsig, famous for its Methodé Cap Classique in the style of French Champagne. The founder Frans Malan named it Kaapse Vonkel (Cape Sparkle), which he thought would be a generic name for sparkling wines made in the Cape region, however the name has now become a part of the Simonsig brand.

Our last stop was Delheim. The tasting had exhausted us, so instead we settled in for a very long lunch.

We enjoyed our time in Stellenbosh. We were impressed with the food that was served and the very reasonable prices for a good meal with good wine.

We finished our time there shopping for the family. We would be heading home in a few days, in time for Alex and Sarah’s wedding. Hayden and Andrea were coming from Berlin and Evan and Stephanie from New York. We found the Johan Coetzee Art Gallery and some beautiful pottery. Our challenge was to get them home to Australia. Their challenge was to get them to their homes.