If you’re planning a trip to Cape Town, you’ve probably thought about visiting Stellenbosch. The Stellenbosch Wineries are known to have some of the best wine in all of South Africa (or at least the Western Cape) so it’s definitely a must if you love your vino!
This guide is perfect if you’re not sure where to start planning a day or two in the Cape Winelands.
About the Stellenbosch Wine Region & Popular Wines
The Stellenbosch wine region is the perfect place for a Cape Town getaway! You’ll find a wide range of wine farms, olive groves and unique views of different mountain ranges (Helderberg and Simonsberg). False Bay is about 20km to the south and Cape Town is about 40km southwest.
Coming in right after Cape Town, Stellenbosch is South Africa’s second-oldest settlement, established in 1679. It was named after the Governor at the time, Simon van der Stel. He was known for establishing the Constantia wine estate in Cape Town, so it’s no wonder how Stellenbosch became home to almost 1/5th of all the vines planted in the country!
Stellenbosch is situated in the middle of granite, shale and sandstone-based soils, which helps in producing quality wine. It also helps that the mountainsides help retain water and there is enough water in the winter.
The climate in the Stellenbosch region is fairly hot and dry with some southeasterly breezes passing through. The cabernet sauvignon is the most popular wine in the region, due to the ancient soil types that produce a distinct minerality.
Chenin blanc is planted widely throughout the region and is used to produce a range of wine styles. While red varieties are most commonly planted, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and riesling are found in Stellenbosch as well.
Getting to Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch isn’t as close as some of the other wine regions near Cape Town but don’t let that stop you from going! The drive to Stellenbosch from Cape Town is amazing because you get an incredible view of Table Mountain on your way out.
There are many great options for Stellenbosch wine tours leaving from and returning to Cape Town. This is definitely the easiest way to plan a trip to the Stellenbosch wineries because you don’t need to worry about transportation between different wine estates. Stellenbosch is a big region and the wineries are spread out so you need to be driven to each one.
If you have a DD (designated driver), hiring a car is the best way to get around because you have much more flexibility when it comes to how long you stay at each winery. South African wine is amazing so you’ll want at least an hour or two at each winery!
Planning Your Stellenbosch Wine Route
When you’re planning a day trip to these top wineries, you should consider your route ahead of time to make the most of the entire day! Based on visiting the Stellenbosch wineries mentioned above, here’s the route I’d recommend taking.
You probably won’t have time to visit all 7 in one go but the map above will give you an idea of how to plan the drive.
Visiting Stellenbosch Wineries on a Budget
If you’re on a budget but still want to experience some of the great wines at Stellenbosch wine farms, I’ve got you covered.
The cheapest way to go about getting to and from Stellenbosch is by Uber or Bolt. Uber is generally more reliable and will cost around R1,000/$58 USD for the roundtrip journey, stopping at one or two wineries.
If you find a group of people to split an Uber with at your hostel in Cape Town, it works out to be around $10-15 PP for transportation. I will say that you need to find a driver that’s reliable and willing to wait around at the wineries to take you from one to another because when I did this, ours didn’t reply for a while and we almost had to find another driver.
I’d suggest tipping when you arrive at the first winery, give them a good idea of how long you’ll be and add them on WhatsApp so you can contact them when you’re ready to go. All in all, you’ll barely spend anything on transportation if you’re going as a group.
Of course, that doesn’t include the wine tastings or any food but you’d be surprised by how affordable they are! If you want to splurge a little for the day, you should definitely try out some of the best restaurants in the Western Cape that are within the wineries.
The Best Stellenbosch Vineyards
- Babylonstoren Wine Estate
- Delaire Graff Estate
- Waterford Estate
- Spier Wine Farm
- Boschendal Winery
- Fairview Winery
- Peter Falke Wines
Many wine tours start at Babylonstoren, one of the oldest wine farms in the area! It’s definitely one of the most beautiful wine farms in Stellenbosch with a bright and open wine tasting room with a gorgeous view of the vineyards. It’s a massive winery with so much to see and do so you really can’t go wrong.
They also grow fruits and vegetables on the property and have a bakery where you can enjoy fresh bread right out of the oven! If you end up drinking a little too much wine (it’s okay, it’s bound to happen), you can stay at the Babylonstoren Hotel and enjoy farm-to-fork food at their restaurant, Babel.
Must Try: While Babylonstoren has outstanding wine, you NEED to try their olive oil! They offer an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tour at 11 am and 3 pm each day for R200/$11.75 USD.
Cost of Tasting: There’s an R20/$1.10 USD entrance fee and it’s only R80/$4.70 USD to taste 7 wines.
Best For: Luxury feel at a budget price! You’ll be hard-pressed to find the same level of value and service for a cheaper rate. Definitely the place to go if you’re balling on a budget.
Delaire Graff Estate is the place to go if you want to indulge in a truly luxurious experience! They’re much more than a typical winery, with unforgettable panoramic views from atop the Helshoogte Pass, accommodation that will blow your mind, alongside an award-winning portfolio of wines.
Wine tastings are available from Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 5:30 pm and Sundays from 10 am-4:30 pm. All tables are on a first-come, first-served basis and they don’t take reservations!
If you plan on spending the night at Delaire Graff Estate, you should definitely make a point of trying their spa services. Soak it all in with a full-day package for R6,400/$375 USD or a half-day package for R4,000/$235 USD.
Must Try: Coastal Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc (2021) for R1,550/$91.20 USD.
Cost of Tasting: Starting at R75/$4.40 USD (3 estate range wines), up to R350/$20 USD (5 icon range wines).
Best For: Ultimate relaxation and luxury – Perfect for a honeymoon or special occasion!
Waterford Estate, while one of the youngest wineries in the area, is certainly a great place to visit when you’re in Stellenbosch. It was founded in 1998 and it continues to offer an unforgettable experience to all that visit.
The experiences that Waterford Estate offers are definitely what caught my eye! They have a Wine Drive Safari and Porcupine Trail Walk. If you’re familiar (because I surely wasn’t), the safari consists of a tour through the estate, along the Helderberg mountain and is accompanied by a wine tasting with light snacks and chocolate, starting at R1,265 PP ($74 USD).
The Porcupine Trail Walk, on the other hand, is a walk through the vineyards and natural Fynbos in the area. There are three different routes you can take, based on intensity. The walks are available at 10 am and 2 pm and are R715/$42 USD.
Must Try: The Jem – Waterford Estate’s most iconic wine, named after the owner (Jeremy). It’s a beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon for R1,950/$114 USD.
Cost of Tasting: Portfolio tasting is R145/$8.50 USD (number of tastings not specified).
Best For: Unique experiences you won’t come across at most wineries!
With a heritage dating back to 1692, Spier Wine Farm is one of many Stellenbosch wineries with a lot of history! They’re passionate about what they do and it shows. At Spier Wine Farm, you can get your hands on one of the largest collections of contemporary art while you’re sipping on your favourite wine.
From a segway tour to browsing their craft market, strolling through their mountain bike trail or a visit to the spa, you’re bound to fall in love with Spier. Browse their various experiences here!
Spier Wine Farm has been in the business for a while so you can count on their knowledge and exceptional customer service. They think of everything and even have a grape juice tasting if you’re bringing kids along. If you want to stay the night, the Spier Hotel has luxury lodges available.
Must Try: Wine Blending Experience – learn the basics of wine blending for R300/$17.50USD.
Cost of Tasting: Try 3 signature wines and one premium wine for R70/$4.10 USD.
Best For: Variety & those interested in trying a little of everything. It’s also great for families!
Boschendal Winery is situated in between Franschoek and Stellenbosch in one of the most picturesque valleys so get your camera ready! It’s a historic estate with many restaurants and a museum.
If you’re looking for a getaway where you can stay over for a night or two (maybe over one of the public holidays), Boschendal Winery is a great spot! They have 40 luxury cottages, tree houses and tented camps to choose from. You’ll never get bored with interesting experiences such as horse riding available during your stay.
Must Try: Elgin Pinor Noir for R2,700/$158 USD.
Cost of Tasting: A standard tasting (5 wines) starts at R50/$$2.90 USD.
Best For: Photographers/creatives looking for some inspiration!
Fairview Winery was established in 1693 and has a few vineyards in Paarl, Darling, Swartland and Stellenbosch. The founder, Charles Back took the social development of Cape Town seriously and was one of the producers who campaigned for and implemented better conditions for those working on his farm in 1997. He even established the Fair Valley Worker’s Association to provide employees with a chance to farm their land.
There are many goats that roam around the land outside the tasting room, definitely separating this Stellenbosch winery from the others!
Must Try: The Goatfather (2020) – A blend of full-bodied reds.
Cost of Tasting: A standard tasting (6 wines + 6 pieces of cheese) go for R50/$2.95 USD.
Best For: Budget travellers or anyone who doesn’t want to drop too much money on a tasting!
Peter Falke Wines is a beautiful winery nestled against the Helderberg Mountains. This estate dates back to the 18th century and is currently run by Peter Falke (a German man) and his wife Danièle (who’s originally from France).
Danièle is an interior designer and her keen eye for design is noticeable right off the bat! The tasting room is beautiful and the property also has a lot of outdoor seating. Tastings and food are available from Monday to Sunday, 11 am-6 pm and groups of 10+ must have an appointment.
Make sure you check out their wine cellar and bring a bottle of wine back home with you!
Must Try: Kailani Cabernet Sauvignon (2017) for R750.00/$44 USD.
Cost of Tasting: PF Collection (6 wines) for R90/$$5.25 USD.
Best For: A low-key and relaxed vibe.
The Best Wineries Are Calling!
A day at the Stellenbosch wineries is a must and it’s a great experience you’ll never forget. After all, what could go wrong with a glass of fine wine in hand? I hope you enjoy your time in and around the Western Cape!
P.S. If you’re looking to explore a new wine region near Cape Town, try this hop-on, hop-off wine tram from Cape Town to Franschhoek!