To say that Stellenbosch has an abundance of wine-tasting venues would be an understatement. There are so many, in fact, that it’s often difficult for the self-drive tourist to decide which ones to visit. We’ve narrowed the dozens down to just five that are well worth a stop.
Dornier Wines is a stylish modern establishment situated in Stellenbosch’s Blaauwklippen Road. The company was founded by Christoph Dornier, one of the founding partners of the prestigious De Zalze Golf Estate and a man who spent 14 years pursuing his passion for creating wine. Dornier’s efforts are most evident in the incredibly artistic architecture of the winery – a face brick building with a flowing, wave-like roof – shadowed by the spectacular mountains of Stellies. For R50, visitors can taste their choice of eight award-winning Dornier wines in the swanky wine lounge, or take a fascinating cellar tour.
Ernie Els Wines
Having travelled the world during his illustrious golfing career, Ernie Els developed a fond love for fine wine, which culminated in him creating his own label on an estate in Stellenbosch. Winemaker Louis Strydom has been the creator of Ernie Else wines ever since the Big Easy approached him in 1999. The winery offers two tasting options, namely the Players Tasting (4 wines at R40 per person) and the Major Tasting (4 wines from the Ultra-Premium range for R60). You’ll also be able to take a peek into the beautiful cellar and get an inside view of Ernie’s golfing achievements in the Trophy Room.
Situated between Stellenbosch and Klapmuts on the R44, Warwick Estate offers some wonderful wine-tasting adventures on a nostalgic Cape Dutch property. The regular wine tasting allows you to choose from Warwick’s 16 red and white wines, while tours of the cellar are available by appointment. For something a little different, take part in the Big 5 Vineyard Safari, where you’ll be taken through the mountainous scenery and vineyards to discover the estate’s ‘Big Five’ grape varieties.
Delheim Estate commands a spectacular location on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains, where the Sperling family has made acclaimed wines since the establishment of the modern Stellenbosch Wine Route in 1971. The estate offers its red, white and dessert wines expertly paired with top-notch gourmet cuisine across starters, main courses and desserts. A meal or wine and cupcake pairing in the warm atmosphere of the Cellardoor, with its trademark cobwebbed window, comes highly recommended.
The truly magnificent Waterford Estate in the Blaauwklippen Valley boasts old citrus groves, rolling lawns, water features and fragrant lavender and rosemary beds. The standard tasting covers the popular Waterford, Kevin Arnold and Pecan Stream wines, but the star of Waterford’s show is the indulgent wine and chocolate pairing. You’ll savour the wines with Masala Thai dark chocolate, rock salt dark chocolate and rose geranium milk chocolate, beautifully presented on a bespoke tasting board. Guests are given descriptions of the flavour combinations while tasting.