Stellenbosch crowns a year of world-class achievements
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Awards and recognition abound for excellence in wine, food and talent

Stop the presses! Stellenbosch is to lop the head off the bubbly following a brilliant year for its champion wines and trailblazing personalities. Primed for the annual influx of local and international wine lovers, Stellenbosch will again be on display as South Africa’s most excellent wine and food destination thanks to a consistent string of awards this year.

“The year 2017 will be remembered as another great demonstration of what fine produce and exceptional talent are capable of,” says Stellenbosch Wine Routes manager Elmarie Rabe. “While Stellenbosch is known for heritage, its reputation as the South African region with the most wine awards per capita is also a reflection of the outstanding pioneering work that keeps it at the forefront.”

While Stellenbosch wines have been showered in gold, chefs in the City of Oaks have also played their part, underscoring Stellenbosch’s reputation as the Gourmet Capital of South Africa and contributing in large part to the international success of the destination overall.

Glowing wine achievements

The Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2017 was an exceptional highlight with 14 of a total 15 top wines selected, hailing from Stellenbosch. Similarly, at the Prescient Chardonnay Report 2017, 23 wines from Stellenbosch made it into the top 42 that scored 90-95 points.

At the Veritas Wine and Brandy Awards, Stellenbosch clinched no less than 29 out of the 71 Double Golds, whilst this year’s top three producers also stem from South Africa’s first and foremost wine region. As with last year, the Stellenbosch-based Distell was named top achiever with seven Double Golds and 18 Golds. The company also triumphed in the brandy category with six Double Golds and two Golds. Another famous local, Spier, received the first Veritas Vertex Award for the competition’s overall champion wine – the 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2015, as well the rank of second-best performer overall with six Double Golds and nine Golds. In third spot was Kleine Zalze with four Double Golds and four Golds. The Best Performer by Entry was Neil Ellis Wines in the category for ten wines or less, while Distell took top honours in the class for more than ten wines.

The much-awaited announcement of the Platter’s South African Wine Guide five-star wines in its 2018 edition brought further joy. Stellenbosch clinched an impressive 36 out of the 111 enviable five-stars awarded. The guide’s ultimate accolade, Winery of the Year, also went to a Stellenbosch producer, Raats Family Wine Estate, which garnered an incredible five five-star results - the most of any producer.

At the ABSA Pinotage Top 10, Stellenbosch again dominated. More than half the winners hailed from the region, while a local producer also collected a trophy in the Museum Class. The wineries that made the wines were Delheim, Flagstone, Kanonkop, Lanzerac, Neil Ellis and Stellenbosch Vineyards. The Stellenbosch winner in the Museum Class was the Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection Jonkershoek Pinotage 2007.

This year the coveted Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year Award also went to a Proudly Stellenbosch ambassador, Wade Roger-Lund of Jordan Estate. He claimed this sought-after title for the Jordan Blanc de Blancs Méthode Cap Classique 2015 (White Wines category).

On the global front, Stellenbosch wines stood proud too. A total of four out of six varietal trophies at the International Wine & Spirit Competition were from Stellenbosch while the title of South African Wine Producer of the Year went to Kanonkop. The cherry on the cake was the announcement that Kanonkop’s Abrie Beeslaar was also named International Winemaker of the Year – an accolade he collected in 2008 and 2015.

It was international acclaim for Stellenbosch that also arrived with a special award for one of the legends of the region. Glenelly Wine Estate owner May de Lencquesaing was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Wine Challenge in London. The award honours a person in the trade that has shown dedication and commitment, and has made a significant difference to the global wine industry. She acquired the Stellenbosch farm in 2003, at the age of 78, and continues to run it with her two grandsons.

Foodie’s delight

This year, Stellenbosch also reaffirmed its wealth of creative, top-end gourmet talent by clinching eight nominations in the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards. The achievements shone the light on a trend of good quality restaurants opening at many of the region’s outstanding wine estates. The local venues that rose to glory were The Restaurant at Waterkloof Wines; Camphors at Vergelegen; Indochine at Delaire Graff Estate; George Jardine at Jordan Wine Estate Stellenbosch; Jardine Restaurant; Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House; Overture Restaurant; and, Terroir Restaurant at Kleine Zalze.

The place to be

Of course, no success happens in isolation and much of the world’s familiarity with South Africa’s most famous wine region is due to the work of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes destination marketing organisation. This was recognised again this year when it was singled out for the third time as a champion among leading wine regions of the world at the UK-based Drinks International Wine Tourism Challenge.

Having claimed titles in 2014 and 2015, Stellenbosch Wine Routes was again named winner of the category for Best Promotional Body. The award recognises Stellenbosch Wine Routes for its commitment and excellence, while the judges paid particular attention to consumer-facing initiatives that entice visitors to the region.

For more information, contact Elmarie Rabe at tel: 021 886 8275, send an email to or visit Also follow @StellWineRoute on Twitter or on Facebook (


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