It’s amazing to see the developments of the different wine producing farms in Stanford since our arrival here in July last year. Not only new vineyards are planted but we also noticed that wines from this village are merely exported to upmarket Europe and North America. While most wine-tasting tourists limit themselves to visit known wine cellars in the Stellenbosch/Franschhoek/Paarl and Breedekloof/Robertson areas we found out that the lesser known wine producers in the ‘Hemel en Aarde’ Valley near Hermanus and in Stanford are gaining momentum amongst connaisseurs. Here in and around our village are about 10 wine farms and we still have to visit most of these but we do it in rural slow pace. Raka Wines (where the pictures are taken) is one of the most prominent visible ones if you enter Stanford from the North. The Robert Stanford Estate you will see when coming from Hermanus and situated behind this major producer is Stanford Hills that just invested in a new tasting room and is also a major grower of Fynbos flowers (export). A bit hidden away along a ‘dead end road’ is Springfontein (on top of our list!!!) with its unique terroir bordered at one side by the ocean and the lagoon at the other side. This cellar (German owned we understood -?-) is heavily investing in amongst others a restaurant. It also attracted Tariro Masayiti from Paarl as the new General Manager, Winemaker and Viticulturist and that on its own is a promise for the future. What else can we say? A lot! But we keep it to the mentioning of farmers/farmworkers relations. Recently there have been severe (damaging) protest actions by farmworkers in the Western Cape about their wages and living conditions. We don’t know what the average farmworker earns in Stanford (no strike here) but we do have the clear impression that the living conditions (housing, etc.) are far better than in the main wine producing areas. And we noticed so far that the ’employers’ don’t patronize their (‘non-white’) staff in public but treat their ‘human capital’ more as equal. And this must appeal to the more conscious visitors from abroad. It’s also a good base for becoming a great destination for true wine-lovers!
Herman van Bon Photography