Stellenbosch: Explore South Africa’s Most Loved Wine Region

An image of a grape vineyard surrounded by rolling hills and mountains

South Africa’s most well-known wine region, Stellenbosch is home to some excellent South African wines. Located east of Cape Town, this wine region is one of the oldest and most important wine-producing regions in the country.  Below, we will delve deeper into the history of Stellenbosch, its prominent grape varietals, culture, and more.  Stellenbosch: South Africa’s Best-Known Secret Stellenbosch is the centre of wine tourism for South Africa. With vineyards on gently rolling hills set amongst the background of granite mountains, the charming vistas, the warm hospitality and sensational wine exploring experiences is a driving force behind why many wine enthusiasts place this region high on their must-visit list.  Stellenbosch is to South Africa what Napa Valley is to California – earning it the title of South Africa’s best-known secret. Within the larger Stellenbosch region, there are seven sub-regions or “wards”, as they call them locally, that produce great wine especially reds and they are: Banghoek, Bottelary, Devon Valley, Jonkershoek Valley, Papegaaiberg, Polkadraai Hills and Simonsberg-Stellenbosch.  If you are looking to purchase South African wines for your cellar, numerous high-quality producers are operating in this region that you can explore. About Stellenbosch: History, Culture, Grapes and More Stellenbosch dominates South Africa’s wine scene in terms of history, wine quality and education. Founded in 1679 by Dutch settlers, it wasn’t long after that the French Huguenots began planting the first vines and establishing wine estates across the region.  Throughout the 1800s, Stellenbosch found a ready market due to the war between France and Britain. However, this soon came to an end once the war was over and with the arrival of Phylloxera which devastated most of the vineyards. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the wine industry began to see a renewal. In 1918, the University of Stellenbosch was founded which has been a leading center of education for winemakers.  By the 1970s, the region’s winemakers developed the Stellenbosch Wine Route as a means to export wine. While the exportation of South African wine experienced tumultuous times due to apartheid, with the election of Nelson Mandela in 1994 many countries began to take notice of this region and export in larger quantities.  The terrain and climate of this region offer winemakers the ability to produce a variety of different wine styles. Traditionally, it was the white grape varietals of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay that put Stellenbosch on the map. In recent years, wine estates have grown notoriety for their red grape varietals in particular Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Bordeaux blends.  The Stellenbosch wine region is also the birthplace of Pinotage, a unique grape cultivated in 1925 as a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut (Cinsaut was known as “Hermitage” in South Africa at that time, hence the name).  Graceland Vineyards: A Premium Example of Stellenbosch Wine While there are many notable wine estates in Stellenbosch one that stands out, in particular, is that of Graceland Vineyards. Owned by Paul and Sue McNaughton, this family-run boutique winery has been producing premium …

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Stellenbosch is South Africa’s most well-known wine region. The town, in Western Cape’s Coastal Region, is steeped in history and is home to the country’s best-known wine estates. Cabernet Sauvignon is the region’s most widely planted grape variety, and is often combined with Merlot to create Bordeaux Blend wines. The region is hot and dry, but the climate is moderated by winds blowing in from False Bay to the south. Free-draining granite and sandstone soils are found throughout the region, but sufficient rainfall in winter allows growers to keep irrigation to a minimum. Much has been made of the suitability of the soils in Stellenbosch for the production of premium red-wine grapes in particular.


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