The Region of Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch holds the honour of being the most well-known and awarded wine region in South Africa.

Rich soils and unique locations ideally suited to a variety of grape cultivars have ensured that Stellenbosch continues to dominate South African winemaking, with the vine being by far the region’s most prominent agricultural feature.

As many South African wines continue to gain global recognition, Stellenbosch remains at the heart of the South African wine story.

The recorded history of Stellenbosch dates back to 1679 when this name was given to a small island on Eerste River by Simon van der Stel, the then governor of the Cape. It can be reasonably assumed that prior to its official naming the Stellenbosch surrounds were home to various indigenous communities.

Stellenbosch was quickly identified as an area in which to settle, with great potential for agriculture. The surrounding areas proved rich in soil and correct climate for producing vegetables to sustain the ships passing by the Cape of Good Hope en route to the other Dutch colonies in the East. Add to this the thirst of the Dutch and other settlers which necessitated the making of good wine, Stellenbosch soon saw its hills and valleys planted to vines along with other agricultural crops.

The Geography
The typography of Stellenbosch is characterised by its undulating red hills with the distinctive
high mountains looming in the background.

It is important to note that these rolling hills are not that steep, allowing vines to be planted to their very tops, with the highest vineyards growing at 250m above sea level.

The Geology
South Africa boasts the oldest vineyard soils in the world, originating from the ancient seabed that decomposed over millions of years to form a soil type known as the Table Mountain sandstone.

The lower hills bear decomposed sedimentary clay soils known as weatherbed shale. These clay soils have excellent water-retentive capacity, enabling the plant to draw sufficient moisture right up to harvest time.

The Climate
The climate is Mediterranean, with cold, wet winters and dry, hot summers.

The Simonsig vineyards are situated 15 km from the Atlantic Ocean, with sea breezes cooling the vines in summertime, guarding against exposure to excessive heat.

Simonsig Wine Estate