Ten days ago the Stellenbosch Wine Routes celebrated its 50th anniversary, the largest and oldest Wine Route in our country, with about 200 wine and grape producers in the second oldest town in South Africa.
Three winemakers launched the Stellenbosch Wine Route in 1971: the late Spatz Sterling of Delheim, Neil Joubert of Spier, and Johan Malan of Simonsig, the first in our country. They literally put the Wine Route on the map, encouraging wine lovers to drive from wine farm to wine farm in the vast wine area. It was Joubert and Malan who experienced the Routes de Vins in Burgundy, bringing the concept back to Stellenbosch.
The Stellenbosch wine area has grown so large that the Stellenbosch Wine Routes now consists of the following five individual routes: Bottelary Hills, Greater Simonsberg, Helderberg (in Somerset West), Stellenbosch Berg, and Stellenbosch Valley.
About 150 of the Stellenbosch wine farms offer wine tasting and buying facilities, including the iconic Delheim, Simonsig, Delaire Graff, Spier, Blaauwklippen, Rust & Vrede, Meerlust, Muratie, Hartenbeeg, and Hazendal, many housing historic Dutch-gabled Manor houses, synonymous with the heritage of wine-making in South Africa, winemaking in this region dating back to 1679.
Stellenbosch Wine Routes Chairman Mike Ratcliffe said about the current status of the wine industry in the context of Corona Lockdown :’ The wine industry and indeed, the country, is undergoing one of the most challenging seasons and reflecting in historic achievements is important for the inspiration it provides given the work that awaits us’.
The Stellenbosch Wine Routes leads the South African industry in its Award-winning quality wines and wine tourism, and is doing so too during the current Pandemic, an opportunity for communities to pull together, Ratcliffe says. An estimate by Vinpro shows that R2,5 billion was lost by the wine industry in just five months last year, when alcohol sales were banned for the first time.
Congratulations Stellenbosch Wine Routes!
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whaletalesblog.com www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide