Villiera is one of the biggest private wineries in the country, thanks to an excellent wine business philosophy established by the Grier family in 1983.
Acclaimed winemaker and Cape Wine Master, Jeff Grier, utilises Villiera’s unique terroir to craft a range of wines that retain the distinct characteristics of the different varietals. The Griers’ innovative approach has also made them pioneers in the Cap Classique and Brut category.
The foundations of the cellar were laid in the early 1940s, and since the Grier family purchased Villiera in 1983, it’s become a functional and spacious wine-producing powerhouse.
The Villiera vineyards cover approximately 180 hectares, each producing a conservative yield of around 8 tonnes to ensure top quality. The vineyards consist of around 40% red vines which is a clear indication of how preferences have changed since the early 80s when only 5% were red.
The use of hand labour in the vineyards means that they provide much employment in the region. They are involved in some upliftment projects including a day care centre and an after-school club for children of the Villiera farm workers.
Villiera embarked on an international venture in 2006 when they invested in a small vineyard, Domaine Grier, in the Roussillon region in the South of France, adding a new dimension to Villiera’s offering of superb wines.
Viticulturist Simon Grier has always supported environmentally friendly vineyard practices. Hence, the farm hasn’t sprayed insecticides in thirteen years. A flock of 1,000 Peking ducks take pest control into their own ‘hands’ and the farm is veering in the direction of organic viticulture.
They focus strongly on water conservation, recycling and planting indigenous trees which has resulted in a vibrant eco-system including flocks of guinea fowl and pheasant, steenbok, Cape foxes, grey mongooses, porcupines and the blue crane.
In 2010, Villiera installed approximately 950 square metres of solar panels on cellar roofs, making it the largest roof mounted Solar Project in South Africa at the time.
This eco-friendly approach has resulted in Villiera being accepted as suppliers to Marks & Spencer in the UK and Woolworths in South Africa and they have some other eco-friendly achievements under their belt.
Activities at Villiera
A range of wines are available for tasting at the Wine Tasting Room (The Wine Sanctuary) including Méthode Cap Classique, White, Red and Dessert wines as well as special wines from their French vineyards, Domaine Grier. Old oak trees provide shade to the lovely terrace outside where you can enjoy an outdoor wine tasting, cheese platters or a bubbly and Sally Williams nougat experience. If you wish to enhance your wine experience further, a self-guided cellar tour is also available.
Villiera set aside 220 hectares of land as a wildlife sanctuary in 2009 which includes 12 dams with marsh areas teeming with bird-life. They have populated the area with indigenous trees; by May 2015, they had planted an impressive 100,000 trees. The Wildlife Sanctuary features Springbuck, Kudu, Giraffe, Bontebok, Eland, Gemsbok, Black Wildebeest, Bush Pig, Burchell’s Zebra, common Duiker, Steenbuck and Grysbok. Booking is essential for the game drive which lasts approximately two hours.
Villiera received a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor in 2015 which means that they have consistently earned great reviews from travellers.
Enjoy a day out in the Winelands and be sure to check on Villiera’s events diary for additional specials.
When Wine tasting hours: Monday – Friday: 9 am – 5 pm, Saturdays: 9 am – 3 pm, public holidays: 9 am – 5 pm. Closed on New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Christmas and Sundays
Where Corner R101 and R304, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch (directions)
Contact+27 21 865 2002, [email protected], www.villiera.com