Stellenbosch Wine Routes turns Gautenger’s lifelong dream into a splendid reality
South Africa’s first and foremost wine destination, the Stellenbosch American Express ® Wine Routes, turned a lifelong dream into a splendid reality when it fulfilled a Gauteng barman’s wish of visiting the Winelands for the very first time in his life.
Londi Radzilani, an experienced bar manager at the exclusive Summer Place in Hyde Park, has never flown in an aeroplane, nor smelled the ocean, slept in a luxury hotel or visited the Cape let alone the Stellenbosch Winelands! He was recently given the opportunity to tick all these desires off his bucket list, courtesy of South Africa’s granddaddy of wine tourism.
“I met Londi in 2010 and his excellent knowledge of Stellenbosch wines left an indelible impression on me. I could not believe that he has never been to any of the Stellenbosch wine estates he so efficiently ‘represents and promotes’ in his daily grind and I realised that the heart of the South African wine industry has to show some heart,” shares Annareth Bolton, CEO of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, who organised his entire trip.
Londi and his wife, Munzhedzi, were flown to the south for a four-day encounter with the grapes, glitz and glamour of the country’s premium wine region and soaked up the true spirit of Stellenbosch in style. Their ‘maiden voyage’ included a luxurious stay at D’Ouwe Werf Hotel; a wine tasting and lunch at Spier Estate; dinner at Volkskombuis; cellar tours and tastings at The Bergkelder, The House of J.C. Le Roux and Rust & Vrede, and a memorable dining experience at the magnificently appointed ‘restaurant in the sky’ at Waterkloof Estate.
“Sanlam Private Investments surprised Londi with a digital camera, so although his visit was short, Londi now has all these captured memories which he can treasure forever,” adds Annareth.
The Stellenbosch Wine Routes was founded in 1971 and this pioneering initiative has changed the face of wine tourism in South Africa, spawning a host of similar regional wine routes in the country of which there are 18 today.
From humble beginnings the Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Routes now boasts more than 150 wineries as members, offering a myriad of unique attractions and leisure invitations in and around the historic oak-lined town of Stellenbosch.