Whenever anyone heard I was going to South Africa, the immediate response was: “You have to go to Stellenbosch.” But I couldn’t have been less interested.
After all, Stellenbosch is South Africa’s big wine country, but—you may have heard—we have a Wine Country that’s second to none just an hour outside of San Francisco. I spend a lot of time there. Not to mention, we had but six days in one of the most fascinating cities on the planet. Why did I need to channel my (faux) oenophile while halfway across the world when I could be soaking up the Cape Town culture or coastal atmosphere? Here’s one reason:
WOW would be the word I was looking for. We actually only ended up there in the first place due to my sister, the eternal troublemaker in the family.
Her boyfriend Richard was dead set on visiting Stellenbosch, so while Mom and I were busy learning to cook roti and curries on our Cape Malay cooking safari, he hired a driver to take Kari and him all over the wine region, which is conveniently just 45 minutes outside of Cape Town.
At the end of the day, they needed a way home, which is where we came in. The drive there was nothing to take lightly; soaring mountains emerged from among the vines, and my mom was thisclose to popping yet another Xanax. One thing that blew my mind was how fancy-pants the wineries in ‘bosch are. I was expecting rustic, family-operated vineyards; nothing like this:
While I wasn’t drinking (responsible driver here), I could have been content hanging out on the porch or in the lounge at Delaire Graff Estate all day long.
Someone else felt the same way. (She was sampling the goods, however, in case that isn’t drastically obvious.)
Now, I’m a big fan of California’s Wine Country—specifically, St. Helena, Yountville and parts of Sonoma—but nowhere do you see as vivid colors as you’ll find in Stellenbosch.
Nor will you find a tribal treehouse-type restaurant where they paint your face upon arrival and sing and dance until the cows come home. (The food, an unlimited buffet, was pretty awesome, too.)
So when next you find yourself in South Africa? Don’t listen to this idiot here, and get thyself to Stellenbosch, stat.