On the corner of Andringa and Church streets in Stellenbosch is where you’ll find the town’s newest wine bar, simply called Stellenbosch Wine Bar.
This simplicity carries through to the ambience and décor of the wine bar, with beautifully crafted wooden chairs and tables filling the interior and spilling out onto the pavement outside. The interior is larger than that of most other wine bars in the area, an effect that is further enhanced by large windows thrown wide open to let in the fresh summer breeze. But where you want to be is outside, under the ancient oak trees that line Andringa Street. It’s almost reminiscent of a small town in Europe, but Stellenbosch lends it its own unique vibe, with cars idling by and students walking hand in hand. Take it all in while you enjoy a glass or two of the area’s finest wines.
The team behind Stellenbosch Wine Bar describes it as “a casual meeting place, designed to showcase the wines from the company’s greater portfolio. The focus is on the wine, with some shared plates to introduce a Mediterranean way of eating and sharing food. It’s a place where you can meet after work for a drink, a quick business lunch, or a pre-dinner drink.”
With a number of wine bars already in existence in Stellenbosch, you may wonder if one more is too many, but Jean Engelbrecht, the proprietor of Rust en Vrede, doesn’t believe you can ever have enough wine bars in his hometown. “We view Stellenbosch as the capital of our wine industry, where visitors from all over the world come to experience our wines above all else. From this perspective, Stellenbosch needs at least 10 more wine bars! We’re in the business of getting people to drink wine, and we would ideally like visitors to hop from one wine bar to the next, to experience the variety and quality that our wine industry has to offer.”
To this end, the wine list at Stellenbosch Wine Bar is small but comprehensive, with a range of both varietals and prices to suit everyone. It’s the home of Stellenbosch Reserve wines (R135–160 per bottle), and the Guardian Peak wines are also well-priced (around R95 a bottle). Both ranges offer some reds and whites, all by the glass. Other options include the Afrikaans range (either a white or a red blend, both available by the bottle and glass) and Cirrus pinot noir. For something more mid-range, select from the Donkiesbaai range, which hails all the way from the West Coast, with grapes from Piekenierskloof. Here, the options include grenache blanc, cinsault, grenache noir and a local variety traditionally called steen in South Africa (now more commonly known as chenin blanc). If you prefer to push the boat out, opt for the top wines from Rust en Vrede, which range from a 2019 syrah (at R320 a bottle) to a 2018 cabernet sauvignon (at R1,100 a bottle). Rounding out the wine list are coffees and a small selection of MCCs and Champagnes.
Of course, this wine bar being from the team at Rust en Vrede, you can be sure the food takes centre stage too. While the selection is small, the ingredients are fresh with nods to the Italian side of Chef Fabio Daniel’s heritage. The dishes will be subject to change but, for now, you can choose from the smoked salmon, which is light and summery, or the fior de latte mozzarella, served with freshly made pesto and ciabatta. Or go for the quintessential Italian appetiser of bruschetta – either the classic basil and tomato or one with beef tartare, red pepper and parmesan. Other options include Parma ham with olive marmalade and goat’s cheese, herb arancini with a lemon crème fraiche dip, and a 500g red Angus steak to share.
Stellenbosch Wine Bar is open seven days a week, from 11am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 11am to 6pm on Sundays. They will be closed on Christmas and Reconciliation Day, as well as Good Friday.
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