Recommended by a German couple at a not very good winery down the road! Our first sight was of an armed guard, with a "little" armoured car at the front gate. A bit off-putting... read more
This boutique winery is picturesquely nestled in the Jonkershoek Valley,...
This boutique winery is picturesquely nestled in the Jonkershoek Valley, just 3 kilometres outside town in Stellenbosch. The setting is simply overwhelmingly beautiful - hence, the name of the Postcard Cafe. What was intended to attract more feet to the tasting room; a little cafe linked to the winery, has now become the winery linked to the Cafe instead.
The winery is intensively family-run; German father, Japanese-German daughter and Cuban-American husband co-own the winery with their two daughters working weekends to help in the fully booked cafe. Winemaker and co-owner, Jose Conde hand-crafted his first-ever Cabernet Sauvignon vintage in a store room of the winery at the time in 1998. The four barrels aged gracefully and received five stars by John Platter -evidently Jose had been destined to be a winemaker and not a graphic designer. Adding to the talent, the farm's higher elevations and finely textured soils (perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon), made it a painless career change.
2013 celebrated Jose's fifteenth vintage with Old Mutual (South Africa) and won Stark-Conde the acclaimed trophy for Most Successful Producer in South Africa, Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon and Trophy for Best Shiraz.
Steep alterations in vineyard elevation make for a range of sites with distinct characteristics. Combined with the tremendous winter rainfall in Jonkershoek, (3 times more rain than Stellenbosch) these qualities ensure a more than suitable terrain for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Syrah and Pinotage.
Jose firmly believes in traditional winemaking - hand-picking, careful hand selection of the grapes, manual punch-downs, open-tank fermentation, basket pressing, and patient maturation for 22 months in French oak barrels.
With only 6000 cases produced annually, wines are not sold commercially and the proverbial 'word of mouth' is solely relied upon for advertising. Not that the scenery should not be enough of a reason to visit - a charming, small Balinese tasting room floats on its own little island in the middle of the dam surrounded by mountain peaks, vineyards and tranquil valley vegetation. Tastings are personal and intimate, with attention paid to the finer details of each wine.
Stark-Conde has three different brands. The Three Pines range is a single-vineyard, flagship estate selection while the Stellenbosch wines are blends from different vineyard blocks on the estate. Stark-Conde Field Blend is the only estate white wine produced and is compiled from a single block of three different cultivars grown together namely Roussanne, Chenin Blanc, Viognier and Verdelho. This wine is elegantly balanced with richness and aromatics from the Roussanne and Viognier, combined with fruit and acidity from the Chenin Blanc and Verdelho components. Stark-Conde Postcard Series are from selected vineyards outside the farm.