The historical town of Stellenbosch, which features some of the finest examples of Cape Dutch architecture, boasts a winemaking tradition which stretches back to the end of the 17th-century.

Stellenbosch, the 'town of oaks', is the educational and research center of the winelands. Stellenbosch University is the only one in South Africa with a viticultural and oenological department, and many of the country's most successful winemakers studied there.

The Elsenburg School of Agriculture is also near Stellenbosch, as is the Nietvoorbij Institute of Viticulture and Oenology. This organization has one of the most modern experimental wineries in the world and, at its experimental farms (situated in several wine growing districts), important research into new varietals, clones and rootstocks is undertaken.

The mountainous terrain, good rainfall, deep well-drained soils and diversity of terroirs make this a sought-after viticultural area. The rapidly increasing number of wine estates and producers (in excess of 140) includes some of the most famous names in Cape wine.

The district, with its mix of historic estates and contemporary wineries, produces excellent examples of almost all the noble grape varieties and is known for the quality of its blended reds.

The intensively farmed Stellenbosch district has been divided up into several smaller viticultural pockets including Jonkershoek Valley, Papegaaiberg, Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Bottelary, Devon Valley and Banghoek.

*Stellenbosch Wine Route, the oldest in the country and one of the most popular attractions in the Western Cape, has created several manageable sub-routes for tourists: Greater Simonsberg, Stellenbosch Mountain, Helderberg, Stellenbosch Hills and Bottelary Hills.