The Cape Town area is world-famous for its wine, so it comes as no surprise that I head out to the beautiful sustainable vineyards upon my (virtual) arrival in Cape Town. Come along, as virtual traveler Julie finds out about some of the eco-friendly vineyards of the area, traces the region’s rich wine history, and discovers some of the social initiatives that make these vineyards so sustainable.
If you haven’t read my last blog post, I’ve just finished a Masters in African Studies and read lots on social responsibility and enterprises. I am also a big fan of Southern African history and love visiting places that showcase their heritage. The first wine of the Cape was recorded to have been produced in 1659 by Jan van Riebeeck and although his endeavor wasn’t successful, another vineyard was established in the 1680s by Governor Simon van der Stel, kickstarting the wine industry in the area. Check out this page for more information regarding the history of viticulture of the Cape Colony if you are interested.
These eco-friendly vineyards immediately caught my eye due to their approach to heritage and their social initiatives. I can’t wait to pay them a visit once I get to Cape Town!
Green Wine Champion Icon
The Cape’s vineyards have also made significant efforts to become greener, investing heavily in conservation, which is why CTGM launched its new, first-of-its-kind icon – the Green Wine Champion. The new icon – added to the universal set of symbols developed by Green Map System – made its debut in 2015 on the Nedbank Green Wine Route, so check out this map for more fantastic eco-friendly vineyards.
All of these eco-friendly and sustainable vineyards are in the Cape Winelands, so you could combine the visits or stretch them over a few weekends. There are also some excellent bike routes in the Stellenbosch area which you can see here, so why not pedal from one vineyard to another for the ultimate day in the sun?
Spier Wine Farm, Stellenbosch
R310 Baden Powell Rd, Stellenbosch, 7600
Source: Spier Estate
Starting in Stellenbosch, the Spier Wine Farm is not only stunning with its restored Manor House from the 1800s, but they also have a fantastic and extensive concept of eco-friendly wines, care for their workers and the local community, and heritage tours. The vineyard was established in 1692 by Arnoud Jansz as one of the first vineyards in the newly established Stellenbosch. Today, the vineyard is as eco-friendly as it gets, with 100% of black and grey water being recycled, as well as 98% of solid waste. They have removed alien vegetation extensively and replanted more than a million indigenous plants on their land. All of their produce, including the vines, are grown without any artificial fertilizers or pesticides. Spier also has programs for empowering the local community to get involved in creating environmental and social change. One of their projects is called ‘Tree-preneurs’, where people can plant trees in order to get essential goods to survive. Visitors can get in touch with the vineyard’s history through several heritage walks and there are even art exhibitions to experience! One of the audio tours is narrated by the voice of fictional enslaved Sannie de Goede’s ghost. At Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery and the farm café, visitors can taste the delicious home-grown produce for a ‘farm-to-table’ experience.
INFO: Contact 021 809 1143 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book a Wine Tasting: 10:00-17:00 Spier Farm Café: open daily 9:00-16.00) Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery: Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00-11:00, Daily Lunch from 12:00-16:00, Dinner only Friday and Saturdays from 17:00-20:00. Make a reservation to avoid disappointment.
Bartinney Private Cellar, Stellenbosch
off R44, Old Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch, 7600
As the small town of Stellenbosch is legendary for its wine, it comes as no surprise that we remain in the area. Only a 25-minute drive from Spier Wine Farm, the Bartinney Estate is located in the stunning Banhoek valley. Taste some of their excellent wines on their terrace, enjoy the breathtaking views over the valley and Simonsberg or buy some wine to take home from the vineyard’s shop! Their eco-friendly approach to growing wine is sustained by a holistic idea – that making excellent wines is not just about quality but also preserving the estate and the entire Banhoek valley. The vineyard has its own nursery for the indigenous fynbos. Bartinney is Carbon Neutral – a huge success for the vineyard! Owner Rose is also a founding member of the Banhoek Conservancy, an organization that works hard to support the local community. I would go on Fridays, when they are open till late, so you can watch the sunset while enjoying a glass of their Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.
INFO: Cellar Tours are by appointment only, so don’t forget to give them a ring. The Tasting Shed: Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday 10:00-17:00, Friday 10:00-20:00, Sunday 11:00-16:00, Closed on Monday.
Vondeling Wines, Wellington
Voor Paardeberg, off R45, Wellington 7646
Source: Vondeling Wines
As we are moving North, past Paarl, we come across Vondeling Wines, another sight for sore eyes with its historic Cape Dutch homestead and St. Clement’s Chapel. Due to its location on the Paardeberg there are stunning views over the countryside all around. You can sample their celebrated wines, paired with excellent food, at the tasting center. I’ve heard their Shiraz is particularly good due to the warmer climate! Vondelig does fantastic environmental initiatives, ensuring the preservation of indigenous fynbos and utilizing an innovative wastewater management system among other projects. I also love their social endeavors such as the Paardeberg Sustainability Initiative which recognizes economic pressure on surrounding communities as a major threat to the environment and thus supports social upliftment opportunities.
INFO: Wine Tastings: Monday-Friday 10:00-17:00, Platters and Weekend bookings need to be made 24 hours in advance.
More for you to discover
I recommend checking out Vergelegen in Somerset West and La Motte in Franschhoek if diving deeper into South Africa’s heritage is what you are after, as they offer museums and historical tours, as well as wine tastings around their estates. While it is quite a bit further off, Stellar Organic Winery also deserves a mention for its social projects empowering local communities, so why not do an overnight trip out of this vineyard?
I hope you enjoyed this selection of vineyards in and around Cape Town! Just looking at these vineyards got me inspired, so I’m going to crack open a bottle of South African green white wine and relax on the couch to enjoy my virtual adventure.
Until next week,
Cape Town Green Map Virtual Intern