If you were looking for an excuse to enjoy a glass (or two) of the finest, full-bodied wine this week (as if you really even need one!), you’re in luck. The week of 5 – 11 October 2020 is officially Drink Local Wine Week and it’s the perfect opportunity to go in search of South Africa’s favourite wines – straight out of the vineyard.
While you could head off to your local grocery or bottle store to purchase a vintage or two, why not enrich the experience all the more with a day trip (or week-long holiday) in Stellenbosch – home to the country’s most celebrated winemakers and wine estates. Here are our top picks for wine experiences, tours, and tastings to add to your itinerary:
Tour through historic towns and wine estates before sampling some of their award-winning wines and settling on your favourite! You’ll enjoy a full-day tour through the Cape Winelands at just R350 per person* (groups must be between 9 and 15 people), which is inclusive of wine tasting and transport. This is a great choice because you get two delights in one – wine (of course) and lots of awe-inspiring views to savour.
Keen to see if you missed your calling as a winemaker? Why not try your hand at making a wine of your very own by booking to take part in the Middelvlei’s wine blending experience. The end result will be a personalised bottle of your creation to take home and sip, or proudly put on display. Bookings cost R125 per person* and the fee includes a wine blending kit with everything necessary to get started on your concoction. Wine blending is serious work, so you’ll also be treated to a mouth-watering spread of fire-baked potbrood, homemade preserves, and snoek pate to nibble on as you go.
Hop around from wine estate to wine estate with the help of the Vine Hopper Hop on Hop off service, guided by locals who were born and raised in Stellenbosch. Tourists have all of the power when it comes to deciding which wine estates to visit and for how long to stay. There are three different routes to choose from (southern, northern, and eastern) and you can visit up to six different estates in one day. The cost is R175 per person*, exclusive of wine tastings.
Winelands Art: Sips & Sights
You don’t get much better than sipping on silky-smooth wine while taking in the stunning sights of the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain! Throw in an up-close look at the region’s diverse cultures and art and you’ve got yourself a day that you won’t be quick to forget. All of this is possible with the Winelands Art: Sips & Sights day tours. You’ll stroll through abundant art galleries, breath-taking sculpture gardens, and bustling art studios, where you’ll be able to meet a few of the artists in person and watch them hard at work on their latest masterpieces. These mini adventures are staggered in between refreshing wine tastings at a host of different wine farms, and a lunch that promises a true feast for the senses (included in the R800 price per person*).
If the goal is to support local, this is the wine experience for you. Basewent founder and resident wine expert, Matija, leads the class at Bartinney Tasting Shed. You’ll sample up to 10 ultra-premium boutique wines (one Cap Classique, four white wines, and five red wines) all hand-picked by Matija from the various top wine estates in the area. Top off the taste-bud explosion with local eats, including cheese and meat platters, freshly-baked breads, and fragrant olive oil – all carefully selected to complement the wine in your glass! The masterclass costs just R325 per person* during Drink Local Wine Week and lasts between 2 and 2 and a half hours.
Keep it simple with wine tastings
No problem if you’re only here for the wine. Here is a quick breakdown of the minimalistic, yet magical wine tasting experiences on offer throughout the week.
- Stellenrust Wine Tasting: 50 per person*. Alternatively, spend a little bit extra for an African-inspired wine pairing where four of the estate’s best-known wines are paired with a few African favourites, such as biltong, droëwors, and matured cheddar cheese.
- Bartinney Wine Tasting: R60 per person* to sample up to three different wines. Embellish the experience by paying a bit extra to enjoy the wines alongside native fynbos, grown fresh on the farm.
- Blaauwklippen Wine Tasting: R40 per person* for a classic wine tasting experience. At a small extra cost, cellar tours are also available as long as you book 24 hours in advance.
- Peter Falke Wines Wine Tasting: R70 per person*. Snuggle into the beanbag seating provided for a refreshingly laid-back, casual tasting experience or head to the tasting room for something a bit more formal.
- Yonder Hill Wines Wine Tasting: Yonder Hill is going all out this Drink Local Wine Week with free wine tastings for interested guests. If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, the estate is best-known for its wine and homemade pie pairings at just R130 per person*.
- Haskell Vineyards Wine Tasting: R25 per person*. At the Haskell tasting room, you will savour the delectable flavours of up to five different wines, all the while learning about how they are produced.
- L’Avenir Wine Estate Pinotage Experience: When it comes to premium Pinotage, L’Avenir Wine Estate always gets it right. From the aroma of dried cranberries to subtle dark chocolate undertones, this experience is a sensory treat from start to finish. It costs just R50 per person* throughout Drink Local Wine week.
- Thelema Wine Tasting: Thelema Mountain Vineyards is one of only two estates going the extra mile to offer excited tasters the chance to sample some delicious wines free of charge.
Not drinking local? Shop and support local instead!
If you won’t be sipping on fine wine all week long, why not make an effort to purchase a masterpiece by a local artist, pay to go on a guided tour of local marvels, or tuck into some local culinary favourites? Local Works, the Stellenbosch Village Museum, Bites & Sites, the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden, Stellenbosch on Foot, and Stellenbosch Art on Foot are all wonderful options to keep in mind.
*Prices are subject to change. Please refer to the establishment’s website to confirm.
For more information on #SupportStellenbosch offerings, click here.