All routes lead to Stellenbosch

“On arrival in Cape Town so many of our international clients inevitably head for the Winelands and are particularly drawn to the town of Stellenbosch.”

“On arrival in Cape Town so many of our international clients inevitably head for the Winelands and are particularly drawn to the town of Stellenbosch.”

Start your Journey Here

Get in Touch!

On arrival in Cape Town so many of our international clients inevitably head for the Winelands and are particularly drawn to the town of Stellenbosch.

It’s a name recognised the world over as synonymous with South Africa’s wine industry. Stunningly beautiful it’s an area rich in heritage and culture and has South Africa’s oldest wine route. This year also sees the 40th anniversary of Stellenbosch Wine Routes, a membership organisation set up to promote and showcase the region’s winemakers, their world class wines and the whole Stellenbosch experience.


They are also responsible for the 10th Annual Stellenbosch Wine Festival taking place from the 28th to the 31st of July this year and the combination of both will ensure a special celebration in the town. Ahead of the event we decided to catch up with Wine Routes CEO Annareth Bolton to find out more of what’s in store for this year and also asked her to share with our readers some of her favourite things to do in Stellenbosch.

So Annareth, tell us a bit more about some of the highlights of this year’s festival

Coinciding with our 40th anniversary this year’s festival is going to be bigger and better than ever before, with 150 farms, 500 wines and 15,000 visitors expected, wine and foodie enthusiasts will be overwhelmed with the choice.  Gourmet delights will be on offer from top local chefs, educational wine and food workshops and local entertainment will keep visitors entertained for hours on end.  The preceding Stellenbosch Wine Week will kick off on the 22nd of July, where many of the farms in the Stellenbosch area will open up their cellar doors for a week of entertainment and activities. Two things that I definitely won’t be missing out on are dinner with the legendary winemaking family the Ratcliffe’s at Warwick wine estate and breakfast with Ken Forrester, maker of some of our best Chenin Blancs.

Talking of food, what are your favourite places to eat in the Stellenbosch?

Wow, a tough one as we are in an area of real gourmet excellence and for fine dining – three of SA’s top restaurants Rust En Vrede, Overture and Terroir are in Stellenbosch. They are all truly fantastic, but one that might be less well known to international travellers and my current favourite is Umami in Dorp Street. They prepare and serve food with one overriding objective in mind – to unlock and accentuate each dish’s “deliciousness” and I keep going back time after time for the Pork Sirloin. I also love my casual dining and the traditional Sunday lunch at the Towerbosch restaurant on the Knorhoek wine farm is not to be missed. 

What about the best place to sample some cake and coffee?

Take a stroll through the centre of Stellenbosch, where you definitely need to stop and try De Oude Bank Bakkerij in Church Street. It’s the old bank building where they make delicious homemade cakes, chocolate and cheeses served with great cappuccino!


For a romantic overnight stay, where would you suggest?

Clouds Estate, a small boutique guest house at the top of the Helgshoogte pass outside Stellenbosch is an intimate and stylish venue with stunning views and big comfy white beds – the perfect place for some alone time. It is also situated just a few minutes away from the best wines and greatest restaurant options around. It’s just great for a weekend getaway.

Where can one visit and best sample Stellenbosch’s rich history?

I think start by taking a historical walking tour through the Town. I was here 10 years before going on one of these walks, and I saw many things I had never seen before, it was so interesting and a real eye opener. The tree lined streets are amazing, the old museum, the university, the architecture, the stories and the historical characters that have influenced Stellenbosch are all so interesting. From a wine perspective definitely visit our oldest estates like Meerlust, Simonsig and Delheim to see where it all began.

Where’s a great place to take the kids in Stellenbosch?

Middlevlei wine farm is the perfect place for kids, with great wines for mum and dad to try with a traditional South African braai or farmer’s lunch. At the same time the kids can play with the farm animals or take tractor or donkey rides that are on offer – children even get to braai their own “stokbrood”. It’s a real family affair there!

Where would one find an “off the beaten track” experience not to be missed?

Take the nature walk in the Jonkershoek valley – the scenery and the peacefulness are absolutely breath-taking, one hike that you would not easily forget!

So onto wine, what’s your favourite local wine of the moment?

I represent over 150 farms and hundreds of different wines so this is a tough one. My favourites are constantly changing: whites in the summer and reds in the winter. So if you ask me right now I would say the Stark Condé 2007 Syrah or the Pinot Noir from Vriesenhof.

What about the sparkly stuff – when you drink bubbles what do you drink?

That’s an easy answer as I am a real bubbles girl!  I love Kevin Arnold’s MCC from Waterford Estate but it is a limited release and pretty rare. For something more accessible right now I really like the “Duel”, a Brut Methode Cap Classique from the Mooiplaas wine estate located in the Bottelary Hills on the edge of town.

Which young winemaker should we be watching out for at the moment? 

There are so many innovative and new up and comers in the industry but I am very intrigued by Morne Vrey from Delaire at the moment.

 For more information on the wine festival visit the Stellenbosch Wine Routes website here