South Africa is now an undisputed "first division wine producing country. Years of hard work, investment and diligence has left the country with an increasing number of superstar wineries, producing world class wines at prices to match! This explosion of high-quality wine has been partially led by a growing number of younger, dynamic winemakers who have worked more than one vintage abroad and returned home with their important know-how."
Just a half an hour drive outside Cape Town we were already at the beginning of the Cape vineyards, where cultivation of grapes dated back to the 1600s. Today this is the largest wine making region in South Africa, and organized wine tourism has become a big business.
Agriculture and a simple farm lifestyle is at the heart of Boschendal Winery, one of the oldest farms in South Africa, founded in 1685. The oldest manor house, dating from 1795, offered traditional Cape buffet lunches. According to their website, the farm has grown with the "passing centuries into a cherished source of wholesome produce, great wines and happy memories."
It is the second oldest European settlement in the province, after Cape Town. During 1690 some Huguenot refugees settled in Stellenbosch, grapes were planted in the fertile valleys around Stellenbosch and soon it became the center of the South African wine industry.
Though more than 200 wine and grape producers within the boundaries of the Stellenbosch Wine of Origin classification were included on the Route, we only had time to visit a smattering of them. The first winery in the Stellenbosch area we stopped at was Blaauwklippen Wine Estate.