It never stops surprising me that one of the world’s most stunning wine districts exists less than an hour outside of Cape Town. You can leave the hectic metropolitan city behind just to shortly after enter into a completely different world of green fields as far as the eye can see. A lush countryside region where new & old, huge & small creatively architectonic farms are surrounded by square kilometers after square kilometers of grape bushes.
And when you know Cape Town’s more downsidy features of traffic jams, floating litter, striking poverty and worn down townships, Stellenbosch – with its peace and order – stands in sharp contrast to it all.
Now, I tend to enjoy contrast, besides I know there’s no such place like heaven. But I got plenty of imaginations about it and occasionally Stellenbosch represents heaven to me.
Still, there are a couple of tings to point a finger at in Stellenbosch too. There are undeniably some cruel things going on of labour exploitation and underpayment of colored and black people under the beautiful modern farming‘s surface. But then again, Stellenbosch is also part of this still-a-very-long-way-to-go-before-people-are-equal country called South Africa. You find racism everywhere here. But that’s for another post.
Now, let’s look at what Stellenbosch has to offer a hungry and thirsty traveler. With respect to the concerns mentioned above, I’ve done some research to find out which wine farms have outstanding social (and environmental) responsibility schemes, so that you can make a small difference by going there.
Because you know, it’s not all about the wine (though that’s an important part of it).
I’ll mention four companies that stand out with regard to social responsibility; each and every of them discovered through personal visits, among many other stunning wine farms that also have delicious food and wine and outstanding service (all of which is very common in Stellenbosch actually).
The wine farms I’m about to highlight however has that extra touch of feelgood due to their outspoken social responsibility in addition to the brilliant wine, food and service they offer. Not to mention the beauty of the sites.
The wine states are: A) Solms Delta B) Spier C) Clos Malverne
The three wine farms each cover areas of large land, and are located far away from each other. While it might not be totally correct to say the first I’ve listed as in Stellenbosch, it does actually have a Stellenbosch address. If you plan to go to Stellenbosch over several days, or perhaps spend a day or two in Franschoek – the neighborhing wine land– it may be a better option to visit Solms Delta then.
Either way, the three places are all reachable within a day, meaning they could be perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a wine tasting in each. 🙂 Click on the names above the pictures below and you’ll get to each company’s social responsibility communication.
As for Spier they are undeniably a pioneer in the region on everything that has to do with sustainability throughout the whole production circle. Sustainability is also implemented in every corner of their supply chain. Their garden and kitchen (and wine) is perhaps also the fanciest, and a couple of hours here (often with live music) in between the mountains is really like a retreat of meditation.
Solms Delta is also very beautiful, but a much more low key place. Their garden is more closed than the two others, but in change they have their own museum and probably the happiest staff you’ll find in Stellenbosch. The owner truly is an inspiration and every time I go here I make new friends (among the staff). Also, their food is delicious! All in all I’d say they are my favorite, especially what concerns their social development commitment. They also arrange live music events in the weekends so check their calendar.
Clos Malverne is one of the places where I’ve eaten the best food in Stellenbosch. No wonder maybe they are ranked among the top 3 restaurants in the area. The service is outstanding and so is the wine. Besides, it’s such a good value for the money!
There are hundreds of other places and many of whom deserve a blog post for various reasons. This however was an attempt to highlight three of the places that I’ve always really enjoyed in this gorgeous place on earth where time just pauses.
Enjoy your time in Stellenbosch!