The 10 Best Wine-Tasting Experiences in Stellenbosch

The 10 Best Wine-Tasting Experiences in Stellenbosch

If you can only visit a few, make it these standout estates.

With more than 200 farms, the Stellenbosch Winelands can be a little daunting. How do you know where to go for the best wine-tasting experience: where the space, the views, the people and the wines come together to create perfection? If you had a year at your disposal, sure, you could visit them all. But with limited time, you need to be selective.

We asked a bunch of local fundis, whose passion and career are all about wine, to handpick 10 of their best wine-tasting experiences in Stellenbosch. Their recommendations (in alphabetical order) are below.

Which are your favourite places for wine-tasting in Stellenbosch? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Bartinney Private Cellar

Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Bartinney Private Cellar
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Bartinney Private Cellar Toasting
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Bartinney Private Cellar View

Perched on the Botmaskop Mountain in the Banhoek Valley, this wine estate (in the Jordaan family since 1953) boasts awe-inspiring views. A pioneer in holistic, sustainable farming, Bartinney has been a WWF Biodiversity & Wine Champion since 2010 – which translates into a small selection of wines from an exceptional, fynbos-rich terroir, served in the modern, double-storey Tasting Shed or outside on two terraces.
“This magic, mountainous estate lies tucked away in the Banhoek Valley,” explains Malu Lambert, award-winning wine writer and critic. “A beautiful design aesthetic further enchants, and they offer an interesting wine tasting with Cape fynbos.”
Dan Nicholl, host of Dan Really Likes Wine, adds: “Serial entrepreneur Michael Jordaan’s farm has swiftly gathered a reputation for standout chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, best enjoyed on the deck of the tasting room overlooking the valley. And not just wine to attract visitors: there’s charming accommodation, and the Skyfall descent is one the finest single-track mountain-bike trails in Stellenbosch.”
Cost R85 (3 wines)
R110 (Wine & Fynbos Experience: 3 estate wines + farm-grown fynbos)
R150 (Tempest Gin tasting)
Platters: R250 (cheese), R300 (meat + cheese), R500 (gourmet)
Good to know Bartinney is a cash-free farm; cards and Snapscan accepted.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm; Friday until 8pm; Sunday until 4pm
Contact 021 885 1013, tastingshed@bartinney.co.za
Where to find it Helshoogte Road (R310), Stellenbosch east
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Delaire Graff

Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Delaire Graff
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Delaire Graff View
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Delaire Graff Selection

Situated on the panoramic Helshoogte Pass, this estate and state-of-the-art winery is a magnificent package that ticks all the boxes. Acquired by international jeweller Laurence Graff in 2003, the vineyards had been planted by influential SA wine critic John Platter in the 1980s. There are three wine ranges (Premium, Luxury and Icon) and five tutored tasting options in the chic, art-filled Wine Lounge – or simply settle in on the terrace or beside the fireplace to enjoy a glass or bottle of wine with a platter.
Dan says: “Even by Stellenbosch standards, the views are extraordinary, sweeping down the Banhoek Valley. There’s competition for the estate’s most impressive feature: a dazzling art collection, two acclaimed restaurants and the most luxurious accommodation in Stellenbosch. But don’t let all of that distract you from winemaker Morné Vrey’s cellar – try the Botmaskop red blend, a tribute to the peak that stands sentry over the estate.”
Wayve Kolevsohn, group sommelier at The Royal Portfolio, adds: “Delaire has it all – top-quality wine, art, décor, views, beautiful gardens. It offers the crème de la crème of wine-tasting experiences. And there are two great dining options for lunch or dinner.” [Elevated bistro-style fare at Delaire Graff Restaurant or Afro-Asian fusion fine-dining at Indochine.]
Cost R75 (3 wines), R100 (4 wines), R125 (5 wines)
R280 (5 red wines)
R300 (4 Icon wines), R350 (5 Icon wines)
Platters: R465 (cheese and/or charcuterie or smoked salmon)
R230 (olive)
R145 (snack or sweet platter)
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5.30pm (last tasting at 5pm)
Sunday, 10am – 5pm (last tasting at 4.30pm)
Restaurant: Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 4pm (last seating 2pm)
Wednesday – Saturday, 6pm – 11pm (last seating 8.15pm)
Good to know Tables in the Wine Lounge are on a first-come, first-served basis. Delaire Graff’s spa, hotel and Indochine Restaurant are undergoing refurbishment until 15 October 2023; the Indochine Pop-Up 8-course menu is available in the Wine Lounge.
Contact 021 885 8160, reservations@delaire.co.za
Where to find it Helshoogte Road (R310), Stellenbosch east

Ernie Els Wines

Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Ernie Els WinesCharles Russell
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Ernie Els Wines Pairing
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Ernie Els Wines Seating

In one of the most coveted corners of the Winelands – the “Golden Triangle”, known for red wines – striking architecture and contemporary interiors create a sophisticated but warm modern “farmhouse” vibe – ideal for a laidback lunch in the country. There are four ranges – from easy-drinkers to more complex and exclusive wines – which can be tried at the Tasting Room. You can also pre-book a guided visit to the atmospheric fermentation cellar, and there’s a room filled with the golfing legend’s trophies and awards.
“SA’s golfing icon chose the blend that makes up the Ernie Els Signature after much consultation with winemaker Louis Strydom, who oversees an estate with arresting views and wine to match,” explains Dan. “Lunch here on a summer’s day is hard to beat – and the chipping challenge off the restaurant terrace to the green in front of the vines adds a touch of fun.”
Cost R95 (Player’s Tasting of 4 wines)
R165 (Major Tasting of 4 wines)
R110 (Flagship Tasting, curated seasonally to include exclusive vintage rarities)
R95 (add the iconic Ernie Els Signature to any tasting)
Platters: R235 (cheese), R285 (cheese + charcuterie)
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm (last tasting at 4pm)
Restaurant: Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 3.30pm, Thursday – Saturday, 6.30pm – 9pm
Good to know The winery is closed 17 – 26 July 2023; the restaurant is open for lunch and wine-tasting only (dinner service closed) until 31 August.
Contact 021 881 3588, bookings@ernieelswines.com
Where to find it Helderbergpad, off Annandale Road, Stellenbosch south
Book through DinePlan

Kanonkop

Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Kanonkop
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Kanonkop Showcase
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Kanonkop Cellar

Named after a 17th-century cannon that fired to signal the arrival of ships in Table Bay, this Simonsberg wine estate has a pedigreed lineage of SA winemaking legends (the first vines were planted in the late 1930s; the first bottle under the Kanonkop label produced in 1973). No surprise Kanonkop was included in Drinks International’s list of the 50 most admired wine brands in the world for 2022. Yet it remains low-key: the Tasting Room doubles as something of a museum and gift shop. Private tutored tastings, held in the art gallery in the maturation cellar, can be booked on weekdays for groups of 10 to 20 people.
“What I love about Kanonkop,” says Luvo Ntezo, head sommelier at One&Only Cape Town, “is its history with pinotage – it’s the iconic home of this wine; a home surrounded by the majestic Simonsberg Mountains. What a perfect setting for a proudly South African wine! You must try the Kanonkop Black Label Pinotage.”
Wayve adds: “This is for the serious red wine lovers. Expect to taste reds that are in a quality league of the best in the world – their Paul Sauer red blend was the first South African wine to receive a 100-point rating from Tim Atkin. Despite its stature, this winery is still classically old-school Stellenbosch in many ways. If you visit on the right day, you may witness the cannon being fired.”
Cost R100 (Complete Range tasting of 7 current vintages)
R400 (Pinotage tasting of 6 wines)
R180 (Black Label Pinotage 2020 per tasting)
R70 (Kanonkop Pinotage 2013 per tasting)
R600 (private Portfolio Tasting of 3 Kadette, 3 Estate, an older vintage + Black Label Pinotage)
Good to know There is no restaurant or food offering.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Saturday, 9am – 3pm
Public holidays, 10am – 4pm
Contact 021 884 4656, wine@kanonkop.co.za
Where to find it R44, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch north
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Ken Forrester Vineyards

Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Ken Forrester Vineyards
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Ken Forrester Vineyards View
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Ken Forrester Vineyards Toasting

Known for its sustainable farming ethos, Ken Forrester started producing wines here in 1994, on one of the oldest farms in the Cape (founded 1689). He has access to extensive old-vine stands, creating some superlative hand-crafted wines. There’s a relaxed, family vibe, with a Wine Lounge overlooking the Helderberg and deli items to take home (including his famous chenin steak rub). There are three ranges: easy-drinking Petit, old-vine Reserve and single-vineyard Icon, as well as more unusual limited-release cellar exclusives.
“The king of chenin blanc is also a wonderful storyteller,” says Dan, “so bumping into Ken himself would make the day. But there’s more than enough fine wine to carry the visit. From the effervescent Sparklehorse chenin blanc cap classique to the dark and broody Renegade red blend, there’s attraction aplenty – and for an added treat, try Ken’s glorious wagyu biltong.”
Malu adds: “Hello, chenin! Visit here for a charming tasting room, incredible wines (do taste The FMC in the Icon range!), and you may be lucky to see the namesake himself. Plus, just down the road is Forrester’s iconic restaurant, 96 Winery Road.”
Cost R90 (Petit Range per tasting)
R120 (Reserve Range per tasting)
R150 (Chenin Blanc per tasting)
R300 (Icon Range per tasting)
Platter: R375 (cheeses, biltong + preserves, serves 3–4)
Good to know The family-friendly restaurant has a small plates menu and kids playground; there are also mountain-biking trails and accommodation in the Country Guesthouse. Forrester has also been the official importer of Billecart-Salmon Champagne since 2001.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm; Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Restaurant: Monday – Saturday, 9am – 9pm; Sunday, 9am – 3pm
Contact 021 855 2374, info@kenforresterwines.com
Restaurant: 021 842 2020, wineryrd@mweb.co.za
Where to find it Corner of Winery Road and R44, Raithby, Stellenbosch south
Enquire Now

Rust en Vrede

Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Rust en Vrede
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Rust en Vrede Seating
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Rust en Vrede Pairing

With its national monument Cape Dutch buildings dating back to the 1700s, surrounded by manicured gardens dotted with rose bushes and towering oaks, with views over the vineyards, Rust en Vrede is an idyllic setting. The Tasting Room is in the cellar (for extra atmosphere, ask to sit in the barrel room) or settle in on the leafy deck and combine your wine-tasting with the superbly simple Winemaker’s Lunch. Informal guided tours of the underground cellar are available.
“Fine wine, fine art, fine food. What’s not to like?” asks Malu. “What’s especially impressive is their focus, only estate cabernet sauvignon and syrah, which make it into various iterations, including a blend of the two, which is fairly unusual – and very successful.”
Cost R120 (Estate tasting, 3 wines)
R100 (Estate 2013 per tasting); R40 (Estate 2020 per tasting)
R90 (Estate potstill brandy)
Lunch: R350
Good to know The Winemakers lunch (no bookings) comprises steak or salmon with salad, chips or baby potatoes and a glass of perfectly paired wine. Do book for dinner at the fine-dining restaurant for one of the best tasting menus in town.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 9am – 5pm
Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Lunch: 12pm – 3pm
Contact 021 881 3881, tastingroom@rustenvrede.com
Where to find it Annandale Road, Stellenbosch south

Simonsig

Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Simonsig
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Simonsig Testing
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Simonsig Selection

The birthplace of SA bubbly, cap classique, and a co-founder of the Stellenbosch Wine Route back in 1971, Simonsig’s illustrious and pioneering history is being continued by the third generation of the Malan family. There is also a variety of reds and whites (in particular chenin) in the Malan Family Selection and Cultivar Range. Enjoy them in the elegant Tasting Room, which spills out onto a large verandah shaded by oak trees.
“I have a longstanding relationship with Simonsig, having always been a fan of their vintages and their brut especially,” says Luvo. “My favourite is the Kaapse Vonkel Brut 2015. It’s also possibly one of the most beautiful wine farms in the country, a place for family, for friends and for celebrations. I have yet to see an unhappy person drinking a glass of Simonsig.”
Cost R75 (Tasting of the Day selection)
R75 (Sparkle with Simonsig)
R75 (Meet the Family single varietals)
R75 (Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice sweet wines)
R150 (cellar tour with Tasting of the Day, Sparkle with Simonsig or Meet the Family tasting)
R100 (The Blue Bloods premium selection)
Platters: R205 (charcuterie); R225 (charcuterie and cheese)
Winter soups: from R65
Good to know Take the Wine Whizz challenge (R85) – guess three or more cultivars in your tasting correctly and you get your tasting free (until 30 September 2023). You can also try out the fine skill of sabrage at no extra cost.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm (winter)
Saturday – Wednesday + Public Holidays, 10am – 5pm; Thursday + Friday, 10am – 6pm (summer)
Cellar Tour Monday – Friday until 3pm; Saturday + Sunday, 10am. Booking essential.
Contact 021 888 4915, tastingroom@simonsig.co.za
Where to find it Kromme Rhee Road, off R44 or R304, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch north
Enquire Now

Stark-Condé Wines

Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Stark-Condé Wines Testing
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Stark-Condé Wines Tables

The tasting room offers a unique experience – even by Stellenbosch standards, where the competition is tough. In one of the most naturally beautiful locations in the Jonkershoek Valley, this celebrated estate is home to a “floating island” tasting room (worth a visit for that alone). The fully organic boutique estate has garnered a reputation for its hand-crafted wines, with an annual output of 8 000 bottles.
“Like walking into a postcard,” says Malu, “hence its restaurant of the same name. The Field Blend (white varietals) and cabernet sauvignon are exceptional wines, made by one of the best young winemakers in the country, Rüdger van Wyk.”
Dan adds: “The many awards Rüdger has won reflect an exceptional talent who has added some excellent white wine to the trademark cabernet. The idyllic setting of the tasting room, on a tiny island on the dam beneath the Jonkershoek mountains, will be almost as memorable as the wine.”
Cost R110 (5 Classic Estate wines of your choice)
R155 (3 High Altitude premium reds)
R195 (5 Best of Estate – 2 whites + 3 reds)
Good to know The Postcard Cafe is a lovely, family-friendly spot for breakfast, brunch, lunch or afternoon tea treats.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 4pm
Contact 021 861 7700, info@stark-conde.co.za
Where to find it Off Jonkershoek Road, Stellenbosch east
Book through DinePlan

Tokara Wine & Olive Estate

Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Tokara Wine View
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Tokara Wine Entrance

On the slopes of the Simonsberg, home to exceptional vineyards since the 17th century, Tokara has a prime position on the Helshoogte Pass. Surrounded by striking artworks, the Tasting Lounge overlooks vines, olive trees and mountains, providing a beautiful backdrop. The focus is on sauvignons, but other varieties also feature in three collections (Premium, single-vineyard Reserve and flagship Director’s Reserve), plus cap classique and a potstill brandy. The restaurant is also worth a visit, or there’s the deli for a more casual option (with a fab treehouse-inspired kids’ playground).
“For an estate in the heart of red wine country (look out for the Telos if you’re feeling flush), winemaker Stuart Botha has received plenty of recognition for his white wine in recent years,” explains Dan. “But the wine is only one of the drawcards: towering views, a striking art collection and some of the best olive oil in the Winelands are also strong attractions.”
Wayve agrees: “Not to be missed. These wines are consistent vintage after vintage, and every single one is top quality. My standouts are the Directors Reserve white and red blends, but a close second is the chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. Tokara’s wine cellar, production facility and tasting room is an architectural masterpiece – one could visit just for the views.”
Cost R100 (Flagship tasting)
R100 (Limited Release tasting)
R120 (Reserve tasting)
Cheeseboard: R185
Olive oil tasting: R65
Good to know Do take some time for a stroll – the Sculpture Garden is stunning, and there are two short walkways from the deli (one leading to a secret ‘selfie deck’).
Opening times Daily, 10am – 6pm (last tasting at 5.30pm)
Restaurant: Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 9pm (not Sunday)
Deli: Tuesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm (last seating 3.30pm)
Contact 021 808 5900, winelounge@tokara.com
Restaurant: 021 885 2550, reservations@tokara.com
Where to find it Helshoogte Road (R310), Stellenbosch east
Enquire Now

Villiera Wines

Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Villiera Wines
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Villiera Wines Toasting
Stellenbosch Wine Tasting: Villiera Wines Tour

Synonymous with fine SA bubbly (the Grier family produced their first cap classique in 1984), Villiera also makes great red and white wines – including the limited-edition Reserve range. The tasting room, The Wine Sanctuary, features comfy leather chairs and sofas, a fireplace, and opens onto an oak-shaded terrace, and visitors are welcome to do a self-guided cellar tour. Focused on sustainable farming and conservation, what makes this wine farm somewhat unique is the adjoining wildlife sanctuary (home to zebras, giraffes and a variety of antelope), where over 100 000 indigenous trees have been planted.
“Being one of the closer farms to Cape Town, it’s the perfect start to a Stellenbosch wine experience,” says Dan. “The tasting room offers some of the best cap classiques being produced in South Africa – from the non-vintage brut and brut rosé to the vintage Monro Brut 2015. There are also top-notch red and white wines as well as the fantastic Domaine Grier range of wines made in Roussillon in southern France.”
Malu adds: “Not only do you get to sample their exquisite wines – the bubbly in particular – but they have a wildlife sanctuary and offer game drives.”
Cost R90 (6 cap classiques)
R80 (6 red or white still wines)
R80 (Wines of the Week, 2 bubblies, 2 whites, 2 reds)
R20 – R40 (Reserve wines per tasting)
R150 (cap classique + nougat pairing)
Good to know Booking is essential for the game drives – R300 per adult, including a complimentary wine tasting; R150 for children under 15 years.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Saturday + public holidays, 9am – 3pm
Contact 021 865 2002, wine@villiera.co.za
Where to find it Corner of R304 and Old Paarl Road (R101), Koelenhof, Stellenbosch north
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Disclaimer:

The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 12 July 2023

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4 Responses to “The 10 Best Wine-Tasting Experiences in Stellenbosch”

  1. Johannes Hamman

    Looking forward visiting most of this lovely, unique venues

    Reply
  2. Edgar

    Thanks for the ewsletter

    Reply
  3. Simon

    Waterford Estate and Oldenberg are excellent.

    Reply
  4. Leigh-Anne Goldie

    Love exploring Cape Town – wine farms, accommodation and what our beautiful city has to offer.

    Reply