If you enjoy wine tasting “and drinking” you’re on your way to heaven and will absolutely love the experience the Cape Winelands has to offer, by the way, you don’t have to be a wine lover to appreciate the beauty of the Winelands.Most wine estates have restaurants and offer a fabulous farm style eating experiences.
With that in mind, this morning you are collected for a full day tour of the magnificent Cape Winelands. The picturesque towns of Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, in the heart of South Africa’s wine producing areas, will be visited today. Apart from magnificent scenery, these towns have much to offer and one thing that may not be missed is a visit to a few of the many wine estates, where some of South Africa’s best wines can be sampled.
We now visit perhaps one of the most interesting Towns in South Africa, its history and culture piqued the interest of both visitors and scholars alike.
In 1679 Simon van der Stel, while on an inspection of the outposts and a search for more arable land in the Hottentots Holland area, came across the Eerste Rivier (“First River”- named by Corporal Willem Muller simply because it was the first river he crossed on an expedition in 1655) and set up camp on an island formed by the double course of the river. He named the area Simon van der Stel se Bos (Simon van der Stel’s bush) and knew this beautiful valley called for settlement, it was suitable for agriculture and watered by the Eerste Rivier, later it became known as Stellenbosch (Stel’s Bush).
In 1683 some farmers settled around the Stellenbosch area. The town however, was only established in 1685 when Commissioner Baron Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede accompanied Simon van der Stel on a visit to the area and stipulated that a Drostdy be erected on the island and a town be laid out. Van Rheede was managing the affairs of the VOC (De Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie – the Dutch East India Company) in the Cape. Jan Mulder was appointed as the first landdrost (magistrate) and the town was laid out. By now farms were being cultivated and the first vines were planted in Stellenbosch, some of the farms’ names have survived to this day, which include: Mostertsdrift, Jonkershoek, Idas Vallei, Coetzenburg and Koelenhof.
The Stellenbosch Village Museum currently comprises of four houses of historical interest and their gardens. Each of these beautiful homes represents a different period in the architectural development of Stellenbosch. The houses, their interiors and their gardens have been wonderfully restored, furnished, planted and decorated to illustrate the particular style and taste of the time.
One of the houses in the museum which has restored is the Schreuderhuis. This home was built in 1709, and it survived the first great fire in Stellenbosch. “Schreuderhuis” is the oldest restored and documented town house in the whole of South Africa. The interior furnishing and the garden are typical of a Stellenbosch home from the period of 1680 – 1720, in true pioneer spirit much of the furniture was made from locally available materials.
The strings of onions, herbs and salted fish hanging from the rafters, the open hearth in the kitchen and the primitive Cape furniture lend a special charm to this dwelling. You will notice that there is sharp contrast to the handsome appointments of later, more opulent homes. In true pioneer spirit much of the furniture was made from locally available materials
We drive only 5 minuets from the Town centre to the rustic effortlessly tranquil hideaway of the 2nd generation Rozendal Guest Farm, internationally acclaimed for its Balsamic Vinegar;
Heritage is key in the preparation of the Rozendal award-winning vinegar. Nathalie Ammann the vinegar maker and Owner of the farm uses the traditional French Orleans method, passed down by her father Kurt Ammann. During fermentation, oak barrel-matured red wines are cultured by an indigenous ‘mother’ bacteria – from the first vinegar made on Rozendal in 1988. Organic herbs are carefully selected for their culinary and health properties and then infused, and the resulting balsamic-style vinegar is matured for up to 12 years..