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When there are ships in the bay

salute some of South Africa’s best red wines

As you park your car under a great old oak, and head for the tasting room, the rambling farm buildings don’t give you much clue that this is one of the Cape’s most successful and internationally esteemed wineries. But, enter the tasting room, and the warm and knowledgeable welcome gives you a taste of the professionalism behind this family owned estate.

The name Kanonkop , which means cannon hill, recalls the seventeenth century when a cannon was fired from the hill above to let the local farmers know that ships were entering Table Bay and they should load their produce onto their wagons, span in the oxen and head for Cape Town.

The estate only produces red wine (and a little rosé as well) and is world famous for Pinotage (a variety developed in South Africa from a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut). Kanonkop sells out its ultra premium Black Label Pinotage, a very expensive wine made from old low-yielding vineyards, before it is even bottled.

Devotees who would like to have a private tasting in the ancient atmospheric cellar, surrounded by wine graffiti and dusty old bottles, can book online at the website.

But if you are just popping in for a tasting, you can relax in the spacious tasting room with its vaulted ceiling, recently renovated after a fire. There is now a little shop (humorously called the Kanonkop Mall by the tasting staff) that sells Kanonkop apparel, wine books and colourful ostrich leather bags.

Take a moment to walk to the art gallery through the red barrel cellar and check out the vintage wall, where there are quirky comments on the harvest and happenings of each year’s vintage. Our favourite? “2009: strong winds dump 50% of our crop in Table Bay”

In summer the casual visitor can buy a cheese platter and, settle down with a glass of red wine under the trees for a lazy afternoon.

Insider tip: get a party of 15 or more together and book a traditional snoek braai: the Cape’s own barbecue. The barracuda type fish is liberally basted with olive and lemon juice and grilled by the farm owner on an open fire. It's served with home-made jam, thick slices of home-made bread, farm butter, sweet potatoes and salad. The sweet and savoury mix is a typical feature of local cooking and a well braaied snoek is traditional Cape food at its finest.


Google maps

Paul Sauer 2012
Pinotage 2013

R44 outside Stellenbosch
+27 21 884 4656

Mon – Fri 09h00 – 17h00
Sat 09h00 – 14h00
Public Holidays – 10h00 – 16h00
Closed New Years Day, Good Friday & Christmas Day

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Kanonkop Wine Estate, R44, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa, -33.852878, 18.85630500000002