South Africa’s winemaking tradition began in the 17th-century. Today the industry is an important part of the local culture and economy. The farms and winelands attract thousands of tourists because of their high-quality wine and magnificent landscapes.
“The first wine produced in South Africa was by Dutch explorer Jan van Riebeeck in 1659.”
South African wineries produces a “vast array of wines, from red and white, to sparkling, dessert, and rosé varieties”. Wine estates in Paarl, Franschoek, Constantia, Durbanville, and Stellenbosch are some of the best known. Many estates have alluring Cape Dutch architecture and restaurants where you can enjoy a scrumptious meal paired with a wine to compliment your food.
Stellenbosch has “fine examples” of Cape Dutch Architecture.
Stellenbosch, known as the “town of oaks”, is the “educational and research centre” of South Africa’s winelands. Stellenbosch University is the “only university in South Africa offering a degree in viticulture and oenology. Many renown winemakers are alumni”.
Stellenbosch University’s Elsenburg School of Agriculture and the Nietvoorbij Institute of Viticulture and Oenology are the two best-known schools for winemakers and viticulturists.
Neethlingshof Wine Estate
Yesterday I enjoyed lunch at Neethlingshof Wine Estate in the heart of Stellenbosch’s Winelands surrounded by the extraordinary Bottelary Hills and Papegaaisberg Mountains. It’s off season and the winery was quiet with only about 15 people enjoying lunch and the scenery. The wine estate’s beautiful historic manor house and vistas are divine, and I sat outside marveling at the sensational surroundings.
Neethlingshof’s history “dates to 1692”. Its “enviable soil and microclimate” produce excellent wines. The Estate is a member of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI). To highlight their commitment to eco-sustainability, some areas on the wine farm have been set aside for conservation.
Neethlingshof’s “close-knit team” includes winemakers and viticulturists who studied oenology and viticulture locally and traveled abroad to hone their skills.
Later, I stopped for coffee at a café in Stellenbosch and visited a few galleries – wonderful day enjoying the Western Cape!