Thankfully, there’s only so much you can write about a day of wine tasting but fret not, i have plenty of photos to overcompensate for that. Matt impressed us again with his knowledge during our second day with him but this time, it was all about that vino. The scenery in Stellenbosch is straight out of a dreamy magazine so it was hard to decide what made me want to stay forever more: the wine or the view. I got a little bit of backlash about spending an entire day at wineries while there’s a lot more culturally enlightening things to do in another country, of course, but yet again, Matt came to my rescue. One specific person (who will probably never read this but if you are, hey!) gave me grief for not doing a township tour. And while I can totally appreciate that that is an eye-opening experience and everyone should be aware of the extreme poverty that exists in both other countries as well as pontentially your own back yard, something about it felt a little icky to me. As in, these people aren’t zoo animals and who am I to trample through their living arrangements for my own betterment of educating myself? Matt made this exact argument to us before I could even express my guilt so it was nice to hear from a local that I wasn’t a horrible person. It’s a controversial situation in the Cape Town area that I could now go into depth about but I’ll save that for an in-person debate with those who are interested. Now that we have that out of the way..
Let’s talk about some grapes, people. If you find yourself in the area, I’m now not ashamed to admit this is a must-do (if you have the time). Stellenbosch was like entering another country in itself and accompanied with delicious wine all day had me falling in love over and over again. It’s a university town with charm pouring out of every corner. We did a quick drive through the quiet campus streets lined with Dutch architecture and changing leaves before winding through the mountains and vineyards. To me, it seems like you really can’t go wrong with what wineries you choose but obviously I’m impartial to the ones we visited.
Our first stop was the gazebo tasting room at Stark Conde. I don’t even care how many times I say it: this view was epic. And going during off season of course meant we had the tasting room to ourselves. Matt also used to work here so he did our tasting himself which allowed me to ask 15,378 questions guilt-free! Aside from the bubbles that we ended our day with, this was my favorite wine. And gun to my head, if I absolutely had to choose, probably my favorite venue. PS that castle up in the mountains is supposedly a replica castle someone built to coax his wife into moving here from their homeland so she’d feel like they were still at home in their old castle but she still said no. Yet another story I was unable to verify but my middle name is gullible so it makes no difference to me.
Next up: Rustenberg winery which reminded me of Steenberg. It was very Dutch influenced and serene but I will say if there was one winery I’d compromise and not return to, it was this one. Although, they did have a Chardonnay I ACTUALLY enjoyed as the queen of hating all things Chardonnay. And I took essentially no pics here which is a bummer because the tasting room had a mind blowing spiral staircase and chandelier that looked like they made their way there straight out of 1800.
Oldenburg was next and I WILL be going back there. It started to rain as we arrived so photos don’t do justice (but the websites can show what was behind the clouds). Instead, check out the renovated home you can rent on the vineyard. I’ve already mentally planned a return trip to stay there! They had a party in the main room when we walked into the tasting “house” so Andy and I were treated to our own private room that made me want to cuddle up in all day. If a fire had been roaring, I’m not sure I could have left!
I insisted on lunch at Delaire because of Pinterest, of course. The views were just as beautiful as they seemed in photos and the estate itself was larger than life. The front doors alone are bigger than our house. And the details were just mind blowing like the water throughout the entire building that made you feel like you were walking on a bridge from room to room (2nd & 3rd photos above). The rain cleared just in time for us to get a photo after lunch which made the visit worth it since the wine was probably my least favorite, sadly.
We ended the day with bubbles at Simonsig because Andy casually mentioned to Matt the day before that I’m Heather Dubrow’s spirit animal (jk but I’d be so impressed/scared if he understood that reference). But again, another reason we loved him! He went out of his way to make sure we were going to wineries that would accommodate what we like. After a delicious flight of bubbly, we called it a day and headed back to Cape Town.
We capped off our (early) evening with a cocktail at the Oprhanage Cocktail Emporium and burgers/shakes (both vegan for me, whaaaat!) at Royale. It was the perfect way to send us off on our last night in Cape! Which means.. Finally, getting to the safari! I can’t believe y’all are still reading. Til next time..
PS if you find yourself in the area, here’s a few other things I wish we had time to do:
- Robbed Island tour
- Kirstenbosch gardens (still really bummed we didn’t just do this when we got there)
- And if we really had a lot of time, I would have loved to spend some time along the garden route.
- Cape Aghulus (and Hermanus for whales but we were there at the wrong time)