The Wellington region supplies the majority of South Africa’s vine cuttings, or ‘stokkies’ and although better known for its role in the propagation and supply of phylloxera-resistant rootstock, Wellington has become an acclaimed wine-producing region.
There are 11 wine farms that make up the Wellington Wine Route. Douglas Green Wine (one of South Africa’s largest independent wine and spirit producers and distributors) does not have a tasting room open to the public. So, we’ve covered the 10 that you can visit and try their produce!
See them below, in alphabetical order:
If you are a fan of Shiraz, make sure not to miss Andreas Winery. The boutique estate, owned by a group of wine enthusiasts from the UK, produces a single varietal, Shiraz (or Syrah). Winemaker, Shaun Meyeridricks (formerly of Boekenhoutskloof) puts all his passion and dedication into this full-bodied red, produced in a New World style.
Andreas also provides four-star accommodation, with views across the gardens and vineyards in the renovated farm house that dates back to 1799.
Tastings are by appointment only.
The Bosman family began winemaking at Lilienfontein Farm in Wellington in 1707. Today, the eighth generation of Bosmans own a number of farms in the Wellington area and one in the Hemel en Aarde Valley, near Hermanus. The grapes used to produce Bosman wines are harvested from across the family’s farms and the wine is produced at Lilienfontein.
Tasting is done in a 260-year-old cellar with a large green barn door at Lilienfontein. Inside the cellar you’ll find a small room that acts as a museum. It houses old farming implements, as well as an oak barrel which was once filled with communion wine and auctioned to the local Dutch Reformed Church.
The Bosman Family has a wide range of wines. Look out for the Bosman Adama (named after Adama Apollas who was a farm worker and forefather of many of the current Bosman staff), the Twyfeling Cinsaut from the Single Vineyard Range, the Cabernet Sauvignon from the Signature Range and the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Sauvignon Blanc.
Diemersfontein is known for producing the first chocolate/coffee Pinotage. While there are some inferior copies on the market, the original is worth trying. After sanding off excess charcoal, Diemersfontein uses burnished oak staves which are placed in contact with the wine to produce this unique Pinotage. This contact accentuates the chocolate and coffee overtones.
The Diemersfontein Voigner is popular and the Ovation Merlot makes a pleasant, everyday drinking wine. It falls under the farm’s Thokozani brand, which majority owned by a cooperative of Diemersfontein farm staff.
Steal away to what may be the most picturesque part of Wellington. At Doolhof you’ll get to enjoy fine wine in a modern tasting room, set in a forested valley between Bainskloof and the Groenberg Mountain Range. French Huguenot settlers planted grape vines in the area as early as 1728 and the estate acquired the name Doolhof (labyrinth) from the settlers after they discovered the many hills and valleys here.
The farm’s Signatures of Doolhof range includes its single-vineyard Malbec (the flagship wine), as well as single-vineyard Pinotage, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
The Legends of the Labyrinth range links to the farm’s history and includes red wines named Minotaur and Theseus, as well as the Lady In Red, Lady in White and Dark Lady.
Pre-book a picnic lunch to enjoy on any of the picnic spots along the farm’s Kromme River Walk or at the tasting room (24-hours notice required). Various cheeses are also available to pair with your tasting.
The family-run winery, which lies beneath the Hawequa and Limiet Mountains in the Bovlei Valley, produces Shiraz, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Shiraz Rosé. Grenache and Mourvedre vines have been planted, which wine maker Neil Marais plans to incorporate in future blends.
In addition to wine tasting, Dunston Winery has a modern bistro – the Stone Kitchen. Here you’ll find delicious meals, such as the home-made lamb burger topped with feta and merlot-onion marmalade. There’s also a kids’ menu and both indoor and outdoor play areas.
Imbuko Wines are produced on the farm Uitkyk, near Wellington and the wines are blended from an array of grapes harvested not only in Wellington but also from farms in Stellenbosch, Paarl, Worcester and Robertson.
Uitkyk farm cultivates rootstock, which extends past its own needs and it supplies to a large part of the South African wine industry.
Visit the farm and enjoy a gourmet pie and wine pairing near the fireplace in winter, or outside overlooking the lawns in summer (booking for lunch or tastings is essential).
Craft beer and farm produce, like jams and olive oil, is also sold here.
The farm is named for the jacaranda trees which grow around the manor house and the vineyard. With 3,2 hectares under vine, Jacaranda Wine Estate claims to be the smallest registered Wine Estate in South Africa. The annual production ranges between 20,000 – 25,000 bottles and wines include Shiraz, Mourvedre, Chenin Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay.
Booking for wine tastings is essential and the farm also offers accommodation in two renovated guest cottages.
The scenic Mont du Toit lies beneath the Du Toits Kloof Pass, at the foot of the Hawequa mountain. The farm focuses on producing full-bodied red wines with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz, Alicante Bouschet, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot and Tinta Barocca grapes planted across twenty-six hectares. White wines and rosé are a recent addition and you’ll find a Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Cabernet, Sauvignon Rosé in the La Colline range.
The limited edition Le Sommet (the peak) is only made in exceptional years, while the Mont du Toit range is highlighted by its single-cultivar Cabernet Sauvignon and single-cultivar Merlot.
Owned by Stephen du Toit, vines were first planted by one of his French Hugenot ancestors over 300 years ago. Stephen employs German vintner, Bernd Philippi to make wine. He was recently joined by Philip Costandius, a winemaker who has a deep knowledge of Bordeaux varieties.
Wine tastings are by appointment only.
Upland Organic assures customers that all its products ‘are organic, sulphite-free, unfined and vegan, made the way wines used to be made before chemical and animal product additions became commonplace.’
Besides not using any artificial or harmful chemical fertilizers, fungicides or poisons, the farm is managed in a way that minimizes the impact on indigenous fauna.
Picking, pruning and packaging is done by hand, which not only provides work for people but minimizes injury to birds, chameleons and other creatures.
Although walks and picnics spots are not open to the general public, if you buy from Upland organic you are welcome to request access and bring your own picnic to enjoy along with a bottle of wine at the riverside.
Three Wellington co-operatives (Wellington Co-operative Winery founded in 1906, Bovlei founded in 1907 and Wamakersvallei founded in 1941) joined forces in 2013 to form Wellington Wines. The newer cooperative is made up of 32 wine farms and the wines are made mostly from grapes from the Wellington region.
A wide range of both red and white wine can be sampled at the Wellington Wines tasting room. The tasting room is housed in the renovated Bovlei Building on Bainskloof Road, which has a view over the valley.
Tastings can be done from Tuesday to Saturdays and on public holidays. Wine pairings need to be booked in advance.