The New Standford Wine Route
Wine aficionados and tour guides listen up! South Africa’s 21st Wine Route has officially been established – The Stanford Wine Route offers serene beauty and fabulous wine of the Walker Bay Region.
Misty Mountains Estate
This is the first winery visitors will encounter when travelling from Hermanus on the R43. Legend has it that the name comes from the fog that develops on the lagoon quite close by and ascends the mountain leaving it veiled in a misty shroud. Of the farm’s 46 hectares, 16 ha are mostly under Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz vines. Four hectares higher up on the property are earmarked to be planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for their first Méthode Cap Classique.
Apart from the vineyards the farm also features olive trees and bottles water from its own natural source under the Misty Mountain label. Exciting new developments are on the cards with a deli, a cheese factory, a micro-brewery and guest accommodation, to name but a few. The tasting room is open 6 days a week – cheese platters are offered as well as wine tasting.
The cool, windy Walker Bay climate and limestone soils proved to bring out the best in the Chenin Blanc and Pinotage, the grape varieties specialised in here. The tasting room is open 7 days a week and the new Springfontein Bar(n) promises a new pairing experience with snacks and wine. The farm also offers accommodation in a handful of beautifully decorated cottages and the restaurant, run by Michelin starred chef Jürgen Schneider and his partner Suzanne, is a must do.
Sir Robert Stanford Estate
The estate lies on the southern slopes of the Kleinrivier Mountains, believed to be the southernmost mountain range in South Africa. It is one of Walker Bay’s oldest wine establishments dating back to the 1890s. Approximately 60 hectares of the farm is planted with amongst others Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz. More than 200 Fynbos species, a bounty of wildlife and vineyards managed to exist in harmony, has earned the estate a Biodiversity and Wine Initiative Championship award. A delicious and wholesome freshly prepared meal at Madré’s Kitchen should not be missed.
This estate, with its magnificent vistas, produces a range of wines that including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinotage. They also grow flowers for the export market, roses for the local market, as well as olives. The original old farmhouse, believed to have been built in 1855 by the founder of the village, became a school for girls and today offers accommodation to tourists visiting the area. The farm’s restaurant and wine tasting facility, The Tasting Room, is extremely popular and constantly packed with visitors. The chalkboard menu changes daily and always offers an interesting variety of options. The kitchen uses local organic and free-range products wherever possible, as the chef has a strong belief that using quality fresh, local ingredients make memorable meals. Stanford Hills is the ideal place for a family visit as it is extremely child friendly.
Walker Bay Vineyards
Virtually around the corner from the above wineries and just outside Stanford village is Walker Bay Vineyards, a boutique wine estate which is also home to the Birkenhead Brewery. Vines were planted for the first time in 2003 and they released their maiden vintage Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in 2007 followed shortly afterwards by their red blend consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The winery conducts tours of the brewery, wine and beer tastings and runs a restaurant and pub that not only offers mouth-watering meals, but also the most spectacular views of the Klein River Mountains. Alternatively, settle down on the vast green lawn with a sumptuous picnic and enjoying a magnificent sunset.
This is the smallest producer on the route with a mere 3 hectares under vines. The farm, established in 2005 belongs to Naas Terblanche, a passionate conservationist and winemaker. The vines grow on predominantly sandstone and koffieklip soils and comprise only two cultivars, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz. Walker Bay, which can be seen from the vineyards, lends a cool maritime climate to the area and making the production of elegant white wines and classical red wines possible. The Terblanche family is committed to conservation and strive to protect the indigenous plants and birds of the region and in particular the 13 frog species that occur in their wetland.Vaalvlei offers farm cottage accommodation where guests can relax, enjoy the beautiful surroundings and try their hand at a bit of fly fishing. With his passion for the environment Naas not only opted to choose the endangered Western Leopard Toad for his wine labels but also runs a permanent audio visual display in his tasting room.
A drive further up the valley on the R362 takes you to this family owned cellar. Owner, Piet Dreyer, bought the farm Remhoogte in 1982 and in 1999 established the first vineyards. In 2002 he decided to swap the ocean for the wine industry, after spending more than three decades in the fishing industry. He named the farm and its wines after his beloved black fishing vessel, Raka. The farm is situated in a narrow valley in the Klein River Mountains and the vineyards are planted on diverse soils either side of the Klein River that flows through the valley. Plantings include a wide variety of grape cultivars e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Shiraz, Mourvédre, Petit Verdot, Pinotage, Sangiovese and white varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.
Right next door to Raka is Boschrivier Wines, a small family-owned wine farm that actually consists of the two farms Boschkloof and Remhoogte. The farms belong to Dr Theodore (Ficky) de Villiers and lie at the foot of the picturesque Akkedisberg Mountain range with the Klein River running along the edge of the farm. The farms fall into the Klein River Wine Ward which forms part of the Overberg Wine Region. The Bosch River (running along the upper part of the farm) was the inspiration for the label.
In 2001 the first bottle of Boschrivier Shiraz was produced and since then the focus was on producing a boutique Shiraz of exceptional quality. In 2013 three new wines were added to the range: Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.