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The essential guide to wineries of Stellenbosch and the Helderberg

South Africa is now producing more than 7,000 wine brands, from more than 580 wine cellars, with new brands and cellars emerging weekly. The heart of the South African wine industry is Stellenbosch and more than 180 wineries and wine producers surround the beautiful town.

Use the Wine Reviews tab above to access wine scores and reviews of individual producers

  •     More than 4,700 wines

  •     More than 180 wineries and wine producers

  •     Tasting notes and scores by David March CWM
  •     How much to expect to pay and when to drink each wine
  •     Includes past vintages
  •     Includes discontinued wines
  •     New wine scores and reviews being added constantly
  •     Stellenbosch’s Top Winery based on wine scores
  •     Top Red and White Wines
  •     Top 20 wines and Top 20 Good Value Wines

Scroll down for more details, latest news and the latest wine updates

Each wine tasted is given a score out of 100. The score is made up of key elements, such as colour, aromas and taste. Wines are assessed as objectively as possible, based on years of experience, judging and academic foundation.

There are several methods of scoring wines, but I have chosen the 100 point system as it is recognised worldwide and gives a clear picture of the quality of the wine.

Each wine tasted is given a score out of 100.  The score is made up of key elements, such as colour (clarity and depth), aromas (condition, intensity, complexity) and taste (condition, balance, complexity, intensity, length). Wines which are faulty do not get scored. As wines develop over time, any changes to scores necessitated by later tastings are made when possible.

Scores equate to the following South African Show Competition medals:

Below 84 points – Everyday, enjoyable, well made and pleasant  if undemanding wines, ready for drinking immediately.

85 – 89 pts – Bronze Medal. A step up from everyday wines, offering more depth and character.

90 – 92 pts – Silver Medal, very good wines of real intensity and personality, with quality and complexity and offering years of evolving pleasure.

93 – 95 pts – Gold Medal, World class, impeccable, delicious and outstanding, and made in very good vintages with particular care.

96+ pts – Trophy Winner at least, exceptional, icon wines, as close to perfect as is possible, a truly wonderful and rare experience.

Also included in the Review is a guide price that you might expect to pay for the wine. Prices are in Rands.

R – expect to pay up to R100 for this wine

RR – expect to pay under R200

RRR – expect to pay between R200 and R400

RRRR – expect to pay more than R400

It is wrong to think that South African wines cannot keep, many improve over the years and some will keep for decades, provided they are kept in reasonable conditions.

The Stellenbosch Wine Review gives a recommended drinking range for each wine. These ranges are based on winemaker’s opinion and comment and my assessment of the wine and the vintage.

Green highlight = optimum drinking period

Red highlight = wine may be past its best

These are estimates, of course, but serve to show when that wine will be at its peak, and whether you can expect that old, dusty bottle discovered at the back of the cupboard to still give any pleasure.  To make identification easier, those highlighted in red should be drunk immediately if it is not already too late, and those highlighted in green are drinking now, or are not ready yet and may have long lives ahead of them.

Discontinued Wines

The Review includes many wines which have become discontinued. This unique feature recognizes that those wines may still be available and that many may still have them at home. Such wines may be past their best (indicated by red colouring) but many will still be enjoyable and because of this they are included.

Wine Articles

The Stellenbosch Wine Review allows you access to all related articles written by me about the wine industry, wine people and wine places around Stellenbosch and published on www.wine.co.za

Top Winery and Top Wines

The Stellenbosch Wine Review is constantly updated, with wines being added weekly and scores are correlated to reveal the Top Stellenbosch Winery, the Top Wines and the Top Good Value Wines. Refer to those pages to see the scoring method.

Latest news

More than 30 Stellenbosch wines achieve 5 stars in Platters 2019

Successes for Warwick, Spier and Beyerskloof at the 2018 IWSC Awards

Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2015 scores 100points in the Tim Atkin MW Wine Report

Article: ‘Ansela. the slave, the love story and the wine farm’

Interview with winemaker Ian Naude in ‘Wine Articles’

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 scores 94 points

Nic Van Aarde to be Oldenburg’s new winemaker

New wine from Pieter van der Merwe

Yonder Hill completes its remodelling and offers a great tasting experience

Latest Wines Reviewed:

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Pre-releases

Morgenster                           Lanzerac

Lourensford                         Stark-Conde

Vergelegen                           Koopmanskloof

Kruger Family Wines        Migliarina

MAN Vintners                    Kleine Zalze

Vergelegen                           Bartinney

Fort Simon                          Rainbow’s End

Idiom                                    Joostenberg

Journey’s End                     Blackwater Wines

Annandale The Key Merlot 2004 (94pts)