It was restaurant reviewer and now Platter’s South African Wines 2014 publisher JP Rossouw who told me about Springfontein Eats outside Stanford, asking me at the launch of the wine guide whether I had already eaten there. Having spent the past weekend in Hermanus, I drove to the restaurant on Saturday, finding a culinary oasis, with former 1 star Michelin Chef Jürgen Schneider preparing a lunch feast just for me!
I had booked for lunch and was the only patron in the restaurant, despite it being a long weekend. The restaurant opened two months ago. Springfontein was bought by Jürgen and Susanne Schneider as well as by Johst and Jen Weber in 1994, then a cattle farm. The farm had belonged to David Trafford’s father in law, and it was suggested to them that the abundance of water, the terroir, the limestone soil, the nearby ocean location, the difference in daytime and nighttime temperatures, and the slope on the farm, would be ideal for wine production, which advice they followed and they started planting vines eleven years ago. They were laughed at initially, being ridiculed for the ‘vinegar’ that they would be producing, but they have proven their critics wrong! Springfontein is the oldest wine farm in Stanford. They sold their grapes to Hamilton Russell and to Rupert & Rothschild initially, until they started making their own wines 7 – 8 years ago.
The road to Springfontein is not the easiest to find in Stanford, one driving down Stanford’s main road, and then turning left into Moore Road, and carrying on straight, the road becoming a gravel one and taking one to Springfontein 5 km along. The road signs are tiny, not brown tourism ones, as I had expected. Gravel roads are not my favourite, due to a childhood experience of a car accident on such a road, but the condition of the road was reasonable.
Three cottages on the farm have been transformed into guest accommodation, and the Springfontein Winery wine cellar was built. The old homestead was transformed into Springfontein Eats restaurant, the most recent of the facilities on the wine estate to open. I asked Chef Jürgen why he would leave a lucrative and successful Michelin star graded restaurant Strahlenberger Hof in Schriesheim they have run for 18 years, Continue reading →