Bottelary Hills, the less travelled part of the Stellenbosch Wine Route, carries its three centuries of agricultural history in the name. Bottelary, Dutch for ‘pantry’, is the area settled by hard working farmers that supplied old Cape Town with fresh farm products.

Situated on the cool side of Stellenbosch, enjoying the soft south-westerly wind and lovingly worked for generations, the area keeps producers signature fruits and wines.

Mooiplaas Wine Estate & Nature Reserve (Afrikaans for ‘Beautiful Farm’) is situated in the heart of the area, the Bottelary Conservancy. A small turn off the M23 leads you through a long tree avenue, up the hill to a road that ends when you get to a heavenly garden. But we’ll get back to that later.

With respect to Mother Nature and the fruit she bares for the land owners in the area, the Bottelary Conservancy was established. It is estimated to be as small as 3%-5% of the total Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve, totally surrounded by populated land, but it holds part of the Renosterveld – the Cape Floristic Region – a global hotspot. It is best visited during the flowering period from August to mid-November.

The Bottelary Conservancy is a wonderful opportunity to explore these wonders by foot or on bicycle along an 80 kilometer MTB route. Mooiplaas is a starting point for both. Tielman Roos, the estate viticulturist, will guide you and share his knowledge when prior arrangements are made.

The Mooiplaas Manor House is a national monument. A pristine example of Cape Dutch architecture, built at 1833 with many original artifacts, including a wood panel that tells the story of South Africa’s early decades. The self-catering unit with antique furniture, crisp white linen and towels is available to rent – a night in a fairytale.

The tasting room and garden are open for day visitors 7 days a week most of the year. Closed on Sundays during the winter months (June, July and August). Bring your own picnic and choose your spot in one of the seating areas around the garden. Romantic cast iron furniture, old shading trees and leafy pergolas, rolling lawns and a large variety of flora and fauna creates picture perfect scenery for a day out in the winelands.

You might also notice some special wooden furniture around the garden. They are a re-birth of old wine barrels, handcrafted by a resident employee. Some pieces are on sale in the tasting room and specific orders can be placed too.

Being one of the largest properties in the area, with a variety of vines and different direction facing slopes, translates to a large and interesting range of wines.

The top range includes Rosalind, Latin for ‘most beautiful rose’ and an award-winning Boudreaux blend.

Tabakland honours the father that planted tobacco in the old days. It is a cultivar Cabernet Sauvignon.

Laatlan, the youngest in the family, is a noble late harvest. Each harvest has the potential to produce only one or two barrels of this wine and since the search is for a specific sweetness, this wine was bottled only twice since the Roos brothers are running the estate.

Houmed, Afrikaans for keeping faith, is produced from an old bush vine, growing on dry land, planted in 1973. It is a Chenin vine and the wine is fermented in wood barrels.

The range ends with the Dual MCC- a signatory Method Cap Classique bubbly.

There is also a collection of six, family friendly, easy drinking and modern style wines, each named after the flavour that comes across when drinking. Making it easy to pair with your food and mood. They are a reflection of the Langtafel- young wines to share, available too.

The pleasant surprise we found on the packed shelves in the tasting room was the Baruzzo. A light, Chianti like, 9.5% alcohol wine that is meant to be drunk cold, preferably every day.

Most of the Mooiplaas wines are also available at the The Bottelary Hills Wine Centre, Devon Place Corner of Koelenhof Road and Bottelary Road. Tutored local residents will guide you through the flavours of the region. At the center you can also get day and annual permits to visit and ride through the conservancy.


Recommended Posts