Landmark Stellenbosch winery Stellenzicht has unveiled an innovative eco-pod offering visitors an environmentally-friendly wine tasting experience immersed in natural surroundings of fynbos wilderness at the foot of the towering peaks of the Helderberg mountains.
The historic farm has been transformed over the past four years since its sale to renowned German wine collector Baron Hans von Staff-Reitzenstein and they have re-launched an entire portfolio of wines in 2021. With a focus on sustainability at the heart of the estate’s revival, vineyards have been replanted, alien vegetation removed, and indigenous flora and fauna gradually re-established.
“Stellenzicht is on an ongoing journey of sustainability and it was important to us that our brand home reflects our values. The pod is erected with no need for excavations and none of the environmental impact of conventional construction.
“With its beautiful surroundings, the pod and outdoor deck is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a glass of our wine in close touch with nature, and a light meal prepared with locally sourced ingredients” Stellenzicht Sales and Marketing Manager Nina Barkhuizen said.
The new eco-pod is in keeping with Stellenzicht’s aim to tread lightly on the earth – it has no concrete foundation and sits on “crows’ feet” with little impact on its surrounds. Waste water from the pod is treated and returned to the farm dams while the structure will soon be running entirely on solar power, and the pod is easily moved and reusable, leaving little trace behind.
Indoors, large windows allow natural light and the spectacular views inside, with fire-side seating for winter. The tree-shaded deck offers endless views across the restored fynbos wilderness with its “dancing” dragonflies, and into the Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountains.
The focus is on wine tastings, complemented by wood-fired pizzas and cheese platters.
Stellenzicht has adopted the dragonfly as the farm’s emblem and icon on its wine labels, as the insect’s return is a key indicator of the return of balance to the ecosystem, and “balance” is the watchword in the estate’s wine growing and making approach.
Part of Stellenzicht’s sustainability journey is an exploration of the rich cultural and archaeological heritage of the farm, first established in 1692, with the discovery of Early Stone Age hand axes from the Acheulean period indicating an early human presence from 500 000 to 1.5 million years ago.
The prehistoric implements and the soils of the farm provide the inspiration for viticulturist Nico Nortje and winemaker, L’Ré Hughes’ vision of “preserving the voice of the land” in Stellenzicht’s portfolio of premium wines.
The Stellenzicht wine pod is open from 10.00-18.00 Wednesday to Friday, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 09.00-17.00. Tasting flights of the three different wine ranges are priced between R60 for 4 wines from the Thunderstone and single varietal ranges, or the top-level Acheulean Red and Acheulean Chardonnay, and R120 for the full Stellenzicht Experience of 8 wines.
The mountain-biking trails are open to members of the Winelands Cycling Club and day passes can be purchased.
Bookings are advisable, but walk-in visitors are always welcome.