Stellenbosch, South Africa is a picturesque town located in the Western Cape Province. It’s a town that’s known for its beautiful vineyards and wines, making it a must-visit destination for wine lovers. If you’re planning a trip to Stellenbosch, one of the hardest things may be deciding on wineries to visit.
There are over 150 wineries in Stellenbosch and to make the most of your time, choose a few wineries that interest you the most. Our recommended list focuses on boutique wineries with delicious wines, heartwarming stories, and stunning views.
Some of the most popular wineries include Spier Wine Farm, Delaire Graff Estate, and Waterford Estate. However, these are not places where you will be able to talk to winemakers, visit the cellar, or have an intimate wine tasting. They are the big boys of Stellenbosch. Nonetheless, they make amazing wine, have a beautiful estate, and are worth a visit if you have time.
List of our Favorite Boutique Wineries in Stellenbosch
1. Remhoogte Wine Estate
Remhoogte, the delightful winery is currently operated by two brothers and a sister. One brother is a winemaker, one is a sales director, and the sister is a social media manager. The family has owned it since 1994, but grapes have been grown on the land since 1812.
They approach winemaking with a minimalist philosophy, everything is done by hand, and only natural yeast is used. One of the brothers, Rob, was kind enough to give us a cellar tour and the history of the estate.
On the land that is not used for growing grapes, they have their own small private game reserve with Zebras, Springbucks and Wildebeests. Puts a unique twist on the wine-tasting experience.
The tasting room is elegant and spacious and opens to the outside patio, with stunning views of Simonsberg Mountain and wild animals. The tasting usually includes six different wines, and you can pick which ones you’d like to taste, the tasting wine fee is waivered with the purchase of wine.
Remhoogte’s wines are divided into three ranges: Reserve, Premium, and Free to Be. The Reserve range is small batch production from the best fruit on the property. Sir Thomas Cullinan Reserve and Honeybunch Reserve are the stars of this range.
The Premium range wines are inspired by the wines their father made in the 1990s; most fruit comes from the vineyards he planted. We loved Vantage Pinotage. The Free to Be range is just what it sounds like, not restricted by the boundaries of the estate and its style.
You can also stay at the estate and get even more up close and personal with the Zebras.
2. Boschkloof Wines
Jaques Borman was a winemaker for a prominent winery in South Africa, and in 1996 decided to purchase his land from Spier (a larger producer) and test his luck by starting his own winery – Boschkloof. The land at the time was planted with Cape Riesling which he removed and replanted with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay. His son joined him in this venture in 2010.
The estate is known for its Shiraz wines but also produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Boschkloof Wines has received numerous accolades for its wines, including a 5-star rating in Platter’s South African Wine Guide, which is one of the most prestigious wine awards in South Africa.
A few years back the winery was reinventing its image with a new label and logo when asked what was the best wine he ever made, Jaques responded that he hasn’t done that yet. Hence the new logo – inconcessum persequor – in search of the unattainable – and the winery symbol is the Holy Grail.
The wines that stood out to us were Conclusion, a Bordeaux blend, and Kottabos, Grenache and Syrah blend.
3. Jordan Wine Estate
Long before Jordan became a wine-making estate, it was a home of shoemakers. Ted Jordan was third generation shoemaker who decided in 1982 to buy 74-hectare Stellenbosch property and plant grapes.
When Gary (Ted’s son) and Kathy Jordan joined the venture, they spearheaded the growth from the initial 6,000-case winery to a successful 65,000-case business. The winery turned into restaurants, into an estate with accommodation and event space.
On a nice day, it is a perfect spot to sit outside overlooking Table Mountain and False Bays and enjoy tasty lunch treats while sipping on some house wine. Sophia is an exquisite Cab and Merlot blend with complex dark fruit aged for 24 months in French Oak and a Cobbler Hill blend, an ultimate expression of Jordan terroir.
Jordan is one of the few wineries in this region that offers cellar wine tours, for some reason, it is not very common in South Africa. Or even more exciting, they offer behind-the-scenes harvest experiences during harvest.
4. Super Single Vineyards
After years of working alongside his father, Daniel decided to start his own boutique winery called Super Single Vineyards (SSV). The De Waal family has been in this region making wine for 9 generations.
SSV focuses on the production of handcrafted wines from specially selected single vineyards throughout the Western Cape and the newly allocated Sutherland-Karoo regions. Daniel firmly believes that a great vineyard makes a great wine.
The King and I is one of SSV’s superior wines, a marriage between the Cabernet Sauvignon, the King of red grape, and Merlot. The wine has layers of red and blackberry fruit with a lasting finish. Another gem is Mount Sutherland Syrah, with aromas of rose petals, black cherries, and white pepper. This is a high altitude, cool climate Syrah.
The tasting room is tiny and cozy, easily missed if you don’t know where you are going, surrounded by lavender fields.
5. Fairview Wine and Cheese
To be honest, we came here for the goats, but the wine is good too. One of the unique experiences you can have at Fairview Wine Estate is a private farm tour with farmer Donald and then enjoy wine and cheese tasting. Once we realized that we were sold on a visit!
Fairview was founded in 1693, but the Back family has owned the land since Charles Back I landed on these shores in 1902. His son Cyril and eventually grandson Charles Back II continued to grow and produce wine, as well as started a small goat farm. The rest is history.
Farmer Donald’s Fairview Tour is a unique experience since you get to go on the behind-the-scenes tour. It turned into a private tour for us since we were the only ones there and got to see goats, pigs, and sheep, taste fresh goat milk, and just learned a ton of history from Farmer Donald.
After the farm tour, he brought us back to the tasting room where we had wine and cheese tasting, oh what a pairing!
Word of caution, you will have goats jumping on you and will probably walk through muddy puddles so dress accordingly 😊
6. Muratie Wine Estate
Muratie Wine Estate tucked away in the exquisite Knorhoek Valley is a hodge podge of stuff and animals, our kind of place. The farm itself dates to 1685, one of the oldest estates in South Africa. After changing many different hands, the estate is now owned by the Melck family.
Wherever you are on the estate you can’t help but notice the nooks and crannies of many generations that have lived and worked here. The buildings, the trees, and the artifacts exude the colorful and rich past.
At Muratie, from the passion to preserve the past a lot of vineyard and winery work is still done by hand. They use a combination of stainless steel tanks and open concrete fermenters in the winery and French oak barrels for fermentation.
The iconic wine at the Muratie is Ansela van de Caab, named after the wife of the first owner Laurens Campher, who was born into slavery. The wine is a classic Bordeaux blend, individually hand-harvested, sorted, crushed, and destalked before fermentation in classic open fermenters. It is rich and velvety with well-rounded tannins.
Excellent winery to stop in for lunch at the Farm Kitchen, and don’t be surprised to see doggies roaming around in the restaurant, ducks crossing the roads, and alpacas next to the parking lot.
7. Rainbow’s End
Our visit to Rainbow’s End was very random. While we were at SSV we came to the subject of Cab Franc and the winemaker there suggested trying Rainbow’s End’s Cab Franc, so we decided to visit.
This was the only winery we visited where the road to it was unpaved, walking up to it felt almost abandoned, but once you are in the tasting room you will not get a better view. Surrounded by the mountains and, on the day of our visit, rainbows. It is definitely a hidden gem worth visiting. And Cab Franc, superb!
Malan family has owned the land since 1978 but only planted their first grapes in 2000. The first Cabernet Franc was produced in 2005 and the rest is history.
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