Wine tasting

Most tourists to South Africa who focus on wine tasting limit themselves to the known wine producing areas in and around Cape Town and the Breede River Valley including Robertson. And virtually all visit the known cellars of which the wines are also available in the supermarkets abroad. We always prefer the off the beaten track cellars for it’s there where visitors experience one after the other surprise and most of the time it’s the farmer himself who creates the wines and speaks with the visitors. We are lucky to live in this wonderful village with excellent wines (including 5 star ones!!!) and most of the wines are made by the farmer/owner. The local tourism bureau (Stanfordinfo) has all the contact details of these wine makers (most of them remotely located and that guaranteers some magnificent sight viewing). Wine farms are Bosch Rivier, Raka, Brunia, Vaalvlei, Misty Mountains, Springfontein, Stanford Hills and Sir Robert Stanford Estate. Hope we didn’t forget one… Don’t drink and drive! (Thanks)_DSC5023

Vineyards and their spin-off

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!

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