See also Encounter Magazine's comprehensive guide on South African Wine Routes.
Since the founding of Stellenbosch in 1679, the region's cool climate and fertile soil, combined with the planting of suitable varieties of grapes, led to wide knowledge of wine-making, which was started at the Cape by the Dutch settlers.
The Stellenbosch Wine Route, synonymous with a variety of high-quality, award-winning red and white wines, was established in April 1971 by the late Neil Joubert of Spier, Frans Malan of Simonsig and Spatz Sperling of Delheim. The Wine Route comprises 44 cellars which produce between them a large variety of red and white wines.
The cellars of the Wine Route are situated along the four main roads leading to Stellenbosch. Each cellar entrance is clearly signposted with the official Wine Route logo. Most of the cellars offer cellar tours as well as lunches in their shaded gardens or restaurants together with a bottle of wine of your choice.
The route takes you along several winding country roads dotted with white-washed homesteads and tradition-rich cellars that peep out from within vine-covered hills and valleys.
Discuss wine and the wine-making process in the Stellenbosch-tradition with wine masters and their folk. Savour the delights of a vintner's platter; picnic basket or fine meal during you tour of the Wine Route.
For a wider appreciation of the area enjoy spectacular views whilst traversing the four passes which make up the fruit route. Starting with the Helshoogte Pass to the Berg River Valley, over the Franschoek Pass to the upper Riviersonderend Valley, then over the Viljoenspass to Elgin and finally back to Stellenbosch down the Sir Lowry's Pass.