Stanford Wine Route cellars promising something different off the beaten track

SCHEDULED to be launched to the public at the Sunset Market on the old square in the village on Friday 27 November, the Stanford Wine Route spans the area east of Hermanus, north of Gansbaai, south of Caledon and west of Cape Agulhas. Another beautiful part of the Cape winelands, it includes eight members on a meander that’s been growing and gaining in popularity for some time prior to the winemakers and proprietors of the farms reasoning that the time was right to begin pooling their knowledge and collaborating on the marketing front.

The most successful cellar on the Stanford Wine Route has been Piet Dreyer’s Raka alongside the R326 in a valley among the Klein River Mountains – Raka also being the name of his fishing boat with which he plied the sea for three decades or so. Biography is among South Africa’s Top 10 Shiraz wines on the basis of reviews over the past 10 years, with the Bordeaux-style red blend Quinary among the family’s other reds with good track records.

Theodore de Villiers’ Boschrivier is next door to Raka. Here the range of wines includes Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Rosé, with the main focus being to produce boutique Shiraz. And around the corner on the road to Elim, Naas Terblanche’s Vaalvlei is a tiny farm with just three hectares planted to Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz. Terblanche is committed to nature conservation and particularly the protection of indigenous plants, birds and the 13 frog species on the wetland. Visitors can try their hand at fly-fishing and there is farm cottage accommodation for those wishing to stay over.

Johst Weber and partners’ Springfontein estate, alongside the Klein River en route to the lagoon and the sea, has had turns in the spotlight with their Jonathan’s Ridge Pinotage and their Terroir Selection reds. The farm specialises in Chenin Blanc and Pinotage, and connoisseurs’ expectations were heightened with  the appointment of winemaker Tariro Masayiti, previously of Nederburg in Paarl. Springfontein guests are welcomed at a new tasting room and there are also good accommodation options as well as a restaurant of note.

Off the Hermanus road (R43) on the other side of the Klein River relative to Springfontein, Misty Mountains Estate  is owned by André van Vuuren, whose vines comprise mostly Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz, and whose other endeavours on the farm include olives and bottled water. The Malan family’s Sir Robert Stanford estate is just outside the town, and here the attractions include Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, a Cabernet Merlot blend, the Stookhuis distillery and Madrés Kitchen for wholesome meals.

The Malans’ neighbours Peter and Jami Kastner grow flowers, olives and grapes at Stanford Hills. There’s Pinotage and Shiraz, but also Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, all served in the Tasting Room, the restaurant on the farm, which also offers a variety of accommodation to choose from.

And lastly, Stanford is home to the Birkenhead Brewery and Walker Bay Vineyards, complete with playground, function venue and pub grub. Company business.