‘Wine Route’ in South Africa Part III

‘Wine Route’ in South Africa Part III

EcoTourism Expert continues to introduce readers to the wineries of the Western Cape that our correspondent visited.

The famous ‘Wine Route’, Western Cape, begins in the city of Stellenbosch and passes through the valleys of fabulous beauty - with green vineyards, age-old oaks and branchy Cape pines. The local climate proved to be extremely suitable for the cultivation of wine grapes, and the wine production is among the main activities of the farmers here.

Part 3


The next stop was The Boekenhoutskloof Estate. It was founded in 1776 by the French Huguenots in the Franschhoek region, which means ‘French corner’. The name of the farm itself consists of two words, ‘Boekenhout’ and ‘Kloof’ meaning a local ’beech tree’ and a ‘gorge’, respectively. In 1993, the farm was purchased and restored by seven partners, including Mark Kent, the winery’s senior winemaker. By the way, the seven chairs on the labels of the highest line of the Boekenhoutskloof wines symbolize the seven business partners who bought this estate, rooted up poor quality grapevines and planted Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Semillon and Viognier on their farm. Along with this, the old vineyards planted at the beginning of the 20th century remained at the Boekenhoutskloof Estate. The farm takes great care about the environment and does a lot to preserve the flora and fauna of the region. Mark Kent is the main winemaker and a driving force behind the dynamic Boekenhoutskloof Estate. He is not afraid to experiment with unconventional vinification methods, but the quality at every production stage and in every detail is at the heart of everything they do.

Marc KENT, chief winemaker and co-owner of Boekenhoutskloof Wines:

Marc Kent

“We have been actively producing wine since the mid-1990s. More than 140 hectares of vineyards are located on five different areas in the Western Cape. We started bottling our wine in 1997 and now we supply it to 60 markets. Everyone knows our brands Popcupine Ridge, Chocolate Block and the home brand Boekenhoutskloof. Our main production variety is Syrah, the grapes come from different regions, and these are only the best quality grapes. We have an excellent vineyard in Swartland, in the north, as well as on the coast, in Franschhoek, and the vineyards in Stellenbosch have a long history. Our farm in Franschhoek has a combination of the Old and New Worlds. It combines the power of the New World with the elegance of the Old World. I think that our production, our philosophy and, of course, our wines feature this.”

On the one hand, Boekenhoutskloof can be called a merchant economy that buys grapes from grape growers who do not want, cannot, or do not know how to make good wines. Still, South Africa does not have the concept of a ‘wine merchant’, and a great number of wineries practice this not to save on the costs, but to produce fine wines. In 2010 and 2012, Boekenhoutskloof was considered the best winery in South Africa, according to Tim James, and in 2012, Platter's Wine Guide also recognized it as the best winery of the year. The fact that 95% of the grapes for their wines are ‘outsourced’ speaks only of the high level of the winemakers’ skills and the quality of the raw material. Mark Kent likes to consider himself a ‘terroir hunter’ who prefers to work only with certain grape varieties from certain regions, so that each variety expresses its character as much as possible in his wines.


Marc KENT, chief winemaker and co-owner of Boekenhoutskloof Wines:

“We are in the southeastern part of the Franschhoek Valley, just an hour's drive from Cape Town. We produce a lot of quality wine bottles that go to the Russian market, too.”

Not only the grapes from the best terroirs gave the Boekenhoutskloof wines the opportunity to become so popular and be in demand, but also the innovative techniques used at the winery: aging white wines in young oak barrels at a low temperature, aging red wines in huge ‘foudres’ (barrels) and egg-shaped cement vats, macerating white wines, and etc. Today, the Boekenhoutskloof winery is one of the most famous in South Africa and on the international market.

Stellenview Premium Wines 


This winery produces some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc in the Stellenbosch region. On a nice day, the tasting room offers an excellent panorama of the entire region. All the wines are handmade here, which means a special attention is paid to details in every bottle of wine produced. The grapes are picked by hand and carefully selected, crushed and fermented, and then aged in oak barrels. The quality is never compromised and allows you to enjoy the taste showing the character of the entire region.

Reino KRUGER, Managing Director of Stellenview Premium Wines:


“Our company produces a variety of wines and exports them all over the world. Many brands are well known in the Russian market, such as Rovos, Stellenview Reserve, Kruger Family Reserve, Cape Five Reserve. They are available in wine supermarkets. We can say that we are one of the leaders in sales in Russia.”

The Cape Five wine line pays homage to the African Big Five, a symbol of the region's natural beauty, strength and natural harmony. As the African evening skyline tinges a kind of burnt orange hue, it’s the best time to step out onto the terrace with a glass of excellent wine and experience Africa for real.

Reino KRUGER, Managing Director of Stellenview Premium Wines:

“Trout with dill and asparagus is perfect with Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, we offer red wine with Chinese pancake rolls with crispy duck, vegetables and plum sauce. And finally, Syrah goes well with antelope tenderloin with mushroom sauce.”

To be continued