One Saturday in January we decided to visit a few wine farms in the Stellenbosch area. I was designated driver, unfortunately. Most wine estates open for tastings around 9 or 10 am. So we made sure we were on our way nice and early. Our itinery: Stark-Conde, Waterford, Uva Mira, Hidden Valley and Ernie Els!
First stop Stark-Conde. My sister have told me about it a few months before. And it lived up to the expectation. Stark-COnde is nestled between the Stellenbosch mountains as you make your way to Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. Which is a perfect location for growing grapes. The tasting room is situated on an island in the middle of a lake and was imported from Bali. It is one of the most beautiful settings for tasting wine. And a summers day in Stellenbosch compliments it perfectly. They also have a nice restaurant called Postcard Cafe (they serve some delicious cakes!). The tasting room opens daily 10am to 4pm and cost R40 per person to taste 5 wines.
From Stark-Conde we headed south past Stellenbosch towards Somerset West. Waterford Estate has been a favorite for as long as I can remember. And their wine and chocolate pairing comes highly recommended. They have various tasting options with pricing ranging from R65 per person to R850 per person for a wine tasting and safari drive through the vineyards, including paired snacks and ending with the wine and chocolate tasting. The tasting room hours are weekdays 9am to 5pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 5pm.
From Waterford we headed to the less known Uva Mira. My flatmate stumbled across this little gem and told me it’s a must visit. They are situated up on the Helderberg mountains and you have a view across the valley all the way to the ocean. You can also order a cheese and savoury meat platter to enjoy with the tasting (book in advance). They are open daily from 10am to 5pm (wine sales up to 6pm). You can opt for either the 3 wine tasting at R50 per person or the 5 wine tasting at R85 per person.
Down the road from Uva Mira, is Hidden Valley Wines. The views from Hidden Valley’s balcony is something that calms the soul. You can just sit here and relax. Their Overture restaurant has won numerous awards under the guidance of chef Bertus Basson. The tasting room is open daily from 9am to 5pm. They also have a range of olive products made on the farm that you can enjoy at the tasting room as well. Apart from the wine and olives they also offer a wine and chocolate pairing. You can also order a charcuterie and cheese platter to enjoy with your wine tasting.
Down the road from Hidden Valley is Ernie Els Wines. Ernie Els is a legend in South Africa. I have grown up with him being a household name. Like 90% of the wine farms around Stellenbosch, the wine tasting experience is only half the reason you visit the farms. The other half of the reason is for the views. And Ernie Else is no exception. Yes, summer in Stellenbosch can get really hot, but the views from the tasting rooms make it completely worth it. The Ernie Els tasting room is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm, cheese platters served until 4pm.
Visited: January 2012