The past year has been challenging for most enterprises, but also a time of planning. This holds true for wineries, many of which have launched new offerings in recent months. The list below is not exhaustive and provides an idea of some of the new experiences on offer across the region.
1. Bosjes expands
Bosjes in the Breede River Valley opened in March 2017 and is an expansive farm destination complete with a variety of dining options, including picnics, a spa, and accommodation.
Recent expansions include new garden spaces aimed at attracting families and the addition of the Bosjes Spens, a blend of café, coffee shop, and country deli; and, Bosjes Winkel, a contemporary interpretation of a country store.
The landscaped gardens are spread across three sloping terraces, connected by a curving pathway that provides universal access while creating a visual link between the woodland landscape, forested play areas, spacious lawns, and conservation garden planted with endangered renosterveld. It incorporates water furrows and channels, sandpits, and splash pads for children.
Also new, the Boombrug is an elevated walkway that meanders through hundreds of trees planted to create an indigenous woodland. Alongside zip-lines and entertaining clamber-frames for kids, the Boombrug offers panoramic views of the Breede River valley.
2. Badsberg has a new tasting room
In October, Badsberg Wine Cellar near Rawsonville announced the opening of its new, revamped tasting room. Trophies and awards that its wines have claimed enjoy pride of place in the chic new space, complete with plush furnishings and stylish decor. It is open Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 17:00; and Saturday 10:00 to 13:00.
3. Stettyn completes revamp
Stettyn Family Vineyards also has a newly renovated tasting room. The winery was established in 1963, but its history goes back to 1714. Today, it is supplied from the vineyards of Stettyn, Jonkersrivier and De Hoek. Its wines may now be enjoyed in a refreshed tasting room. On its website, it invites visitors to enjoy: "Wine, sun, oysters, cheese platters and amazing views!" It is open Monday to Friday 09:00 to 16:30 and Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 to 15:00. To book a tasting, call 023 340 4220.
4. Botha Kelder launches tasting-for-kids
Botha Kelder in the Breedekloof Wine Valley was established as a co-operative in 1949. It has introduced a kiddie's tasting option on its visitor experiences, so that while mom and dad explore the wines, the children can enjoy flavoured milk and cookies. The winery offers a tasting menu pairing wines with for example tapas and toasties.
5. Weltevrede opens revamped cellar experiences
A new visitor experience has opened near Bonnievale in the Robertson wine region. Weltevrede, arguably South Africa’s oldest family-owned wine brand, has substantially revamped and expanded.
The winery is well-known for the way it transformed its wine tanks into a rustic, candle-lit tasting room. Now, a large, landscaped rose-and-fynbos garden greets arriving visitors before leading into a newly constructed hall with chic furnishings.
The hall is the departure point for two tours each focused on highlighting Weltevrede’s recently unveiled and now exclusive focus: Chardonnay still wines and bottle fermented, or Cap Classique, wines. New wall-mounted panels are subtly lit in the subterranean space and thematic music plays throughout. An add-on allows visitors to bottle their own Cap Classique, and to try their hand at sabrage – the practice of opening a bottle with a cavalry sword.
The opening of the new visitor centre however is only the first phase. A tasting room dedicated to its Cape Wine Crafters range will open shortly, along with a new restaurant space that overlooks the vineyards and will cater for picnics; and, a lounge for a non-alcoholic beer being developed by the farm.
6. New chef, menu, gift shop and limited edition wine for Kunjani
Kunjani Wines in the Bottelary Hills division of Stellenbosch Wine Routes has appointed chef Mike Huni (ex-Lanzerac Wine Estate) to its restaurant, which has a new menu; and, launched a limited edition, barrel-fermented wine in tribute to family matriarch, Anna Barth.
Anna passed away last year at age 94 in Germany, without having tasted the wine – a cool climate Sauvignon Blanc made by Elgin Vintners winemaker Marinda Claassen-Kruger. When you go, pop down to the wine cellar to see Kunjani’s new gift shop too.
7. Painted Wolf Wines finds a home
Jeremy and Emma Borg have settled into a new home for their Painted Wolf Wine, an enterprise they launched in 2006. The winery came about through a dream to raise money for conservation of the endangered painted wolf or Lycaon pictus, and to allow Jeremy to pursue his ambitions as a winemaker.
The showroom opened officially on November 27 and is located at the Simondium Guild buildings. Sunday-Thursday 10am-5pm, Friday 10am-7pm and Saturday 10am-6pm.
8. Big news for lovers of wine walks
Vineyard walks have been a feature of many Stellenbosch wineries for some time, but a major development in walking and biking routes is likely to escalate this tradition substantially.
The expansion relates both to cyclists who make use of permits on farms, but more importantly, also for people who use trails because they have no option of other transport. On the one hand, a mega permit was launched just days ago that gives cyclists access to some 500km of MTB trails around Stellenbosch, Somerset West and Paarl.
On the other, walking trails are being developed with the help of community teams that may be used freely. Wine lovers may now for example, enjoy a walk through the vineyards and along country roads between Thelema and Zorgvliet in the Banhoek Valley.
9. New and exciting in Durbanville
Durbanville Wine Valley has returned to prominence since the settling of regional boundaries and associations with the peninsula wineries. Exciting plans are afoot at Atydgedacht, D'Aria and Loche Lynne.
New in execution however are Klein Roosboom's two new "cave" tasting rooms, added because of the massive popularity of these intimate and creative wine tasting spaces in converted concrete tanks; and, the revamped restaurant and wine tasting area at Groot Phesantekraal.
10. Wine Arc opens as a showcase of industry transformation
A new tasting room and showcase for black-owned wine brands in South Africa has been established at the Agricultural Research Council’s Nietvoorbij Campus in Stellenbosch. Called The Wine Arc, the name emphasises the character and values of the SA Wine Industry Transformation Unit (SAWITU) and its participating brands.
While being open to the public, The Wine Arc also provides a business platform for the individual brands, providing access to markets and e-commerce facilities. Visitors can sample the produce from amongst others Aslina Wines, Bayede!, Cape Dreams, Carmen Stevens Wines, Koni Wines, La Ricmal, Libby’s Pride Wines, M’Hudi Wines, Paardenkloof Wines, Ses’fikele Wines, The Bridge of Hope Wines, Tesselaarsdal Wines and Thokozani Wines.
11. Take tea and wine atop the Piekenierskloof
The Piekenierskloof Pass one of the busy gateways between the Western Cape and the Namaqua West Coast. It is also the location of the De Tol deli that offers a relatively pairing of Piekenierskloof wine, Carmien tea and light-bites.
Bookings for the pairings are required. The cost is R150pp and includes a series of four wines, teas and nibbles.
Other tastings of Piekenierskloof Wines are also available, including a selection that highlights categories for which the winery is renowned, including Old Vine wines and Grenache. De Tol is open Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00 and Sunday 10:00 to 15:00.
12. Steenberg tasting lounge has new look
The location for exploring wines of Steenberg, a farm of the Constantia Wine Valley, has been refreshed and revitalised. The changes include tweaks to textures and colour. The Steenberg tasting room is open seven days a week from 10:00 – 18:00, with the last wine tasting conducted at 16:30.