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The Stellenbosch Wine Route turns 50!

The Stellenbosch Wine Route turns 50!

This half-century milestone is not just a celebration of wine and winemaking, but, more importantly, the birth of South African wine tourism

By Fresh Living

The Stellenbosch wine region has garnered the most wine awards per capita than any of its kind in South Africa

In 1971, three intrepid winemakers – Spatz Sperling of Delheim, Neil Joubert of Spier and Frans Malan of Simonsig – saw the potential of developing a designated wine route in Stellenbosch. The adventure they embarked on 50 years ago has paved the way for a booming wine-tourism industry. In 2019, the Stellenbosch Wine Route contributed a staggering R7.2 billion to South Africa’s annual GDP. It also provides countless jobs to South Africans.

The picturesque Stellenbosch Wine Route is one of the most beautiful areas in the world and after much development and investment, it boasts over 200 premier wine estates as well as tasting rooms, restaurants and hotels. World-class tourist experiences, which range from wine safaris to award-winning gourmet events, have cemented the region’s reputation as one of the foremost visitor attractions of Cape Town tourism.

In addition, the Stellenbosch wine region has garnered the most wine awards per capita than any of its kind in South Africa, which speaks to the quality and excellence of the wines produced and the success of the tourism industry. There’s also a continued commitment to keeping guests and staff safe, says Stellenbosch Wine Route Chairman Mike Ratcliffe. ‘Stellenbosch was the first destination in sub-Saharan Africa to implement World Travel and Tourism Council-approved stringent health and hygiene safety protocols to ensure the wellbeing of guests and staff.’

International Drink Local Wine Week

The week from 5 to 11 October is dedicated to supporting local wine producers and the South African wine industry as a whole. During the ongoing pandemic, the wine industry has been hit hard, but it and the communities it supports are not unaccustomed to pulling together during difficult times.

‘The industry has faced seemingly insurmountable crises in the past and risen to meet the challenges every time,’ says Ratcliffe.

In order to support the local wine industry, Pick n Pay has committed to buying 25 million bottles of wine in 2021. South Africans can play their part too by buying local. Choosing tried-and-tested wines from the Stellenbosch Wine Route is a good place to start since there’s a wine suited to every budget.

Meerlust Estate
Price range: ±R300 to R500
Their exceptional red and white wines – made from grapes grown on the estate only – exemplify exceptional quality, complexity and character.

Guardian Peak
Price range: ±R95
A special range of wines that is approachable, consistent in quality and perfect to enjoy every day, with every meal.

Price range: R75 to R85
The wines in this category have been crafted with the winery’s stamp of excellence, making quality accessible to everyone. Consistent quality is the hallmark of these wines, produced by one of the oldest wine farms on the Stellenbosch Wine Route.

‘The occasion of our 50th comes at a most opportune time,’ says Ratcliffe. ‘The wine industry, and indeed the country, is undergoing one of its most challenging seasons and reflecting on historic achievements is important for the inspiration it provides, given the work that awaits us.’