A celebration of love recently beckoned us into the open arms of the Stellenbosch winelands for a weekend of festivities. Included in those merriments, was a visit (or two!) to the home of Kunjani Wines.
When two friends get married in Stellenbosch, you turn the occasion into a friend-reunion and weekend road trip. With our large group of friends once again reuniting from across the continents to take part in a special wedding weekend, it was simply a given that there will be good food and wine involved.
Imagine my utter delight when I realised Kunjani Wines was right on the doorstep of our accommodation at Devonvale Golf Estate. We agreed to all meet at Kunjani Wines for a little Friday lunch-time soirée to kick off the festivities. But, as you’ll soon find out, I simply couldn’t stay away from the welcoming embrace of Kunjani Wines.
Kunjani is the latest addition to the Bottelary Hills sub-route of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Paul Barth & Pia Watermeyer, husband-and-wife team and owners of Kunjani, have created a contemporary and soulful establishment that reflects cross-continental influences like no other in the winelands of the Western Cape. It is here where good food, fine wine and luxurious accommodation combine to truly reflect the good life … and the true character of this spectacular place where love and passion are reflected in every creation (https://kunjaniwines.co.za/).
As you slowly creep up the hill towards Kunjani Wines, their uber-modern red and charcoal tasting room and restaurant is simply breathtaking as it keeps a watchful eye over the hectares of lush vineyards. Seemingly floating above the wines, it offers uninterrupted panoramic views across the valley, to where the winelands finally meet the foot of the majestic mountains.
Upon entering the home of Kunjani Wines, it’s evident that the venue was designed around maximising the natural environment and landscape. With wide expanses of glass shutter doors, the outside is invited indoors for the ultimate al-fresco dining experience. A shaded terrace offer visitors intimate round tables, sets of over-sized couches or long dining tables to enjoy, whilst lapping up the fresh air, sun and views on the side.
The interior is cool and welcoming, and the beauty lies in the detail. From the boldly printed gold and black wallpaper, to the bright art pieces adoring the walls; from the contemporary light fixtures and signature red statement chairs, it’s an aesthetical wonderland for the senses.
My fingers itched for my camera, hoping I could capture the details as beautifully as I experienced them first-hand. It was every bit as stunning as I was secretly hoping it would be, and I was exited to spend more time here, learning about their journey and their wines.
The reunion soirée
Friday afternoon was blistering hot, and as The Tall Hedonist and I entered Kunjani Wines early afternoon, we were hoping for a cool reprieve from the heat. Following the familiar voices of our friends, we found them on the patio, occupying a large corner of the terrace, sunk into the couches with flights of wine on the table. After hugs and hello’s, we joined our group of reunited friends halfway through their wine tasting. Eddie was our waiter and sommelier for the afternoon, and eased us into the wine tasting, whilst the others finished off platters of pizzas and nibbles.
It was beautifully cool on the terrace, without compromising the views. We worked our way through the wine tasting until we were caught up at the reds, and Eddie comfortably continued guiding us on our wine journey. The afternoon was underscored by bouts of laughter, a lot of clinking glasses, sharing plates of food, and quiet moments as we tasted the passions of Kunjani. The Stolen Chicken Pia Noir Rosé became the anthem of our weekend, and a firm favourite with the whole group.
A few hours later, we reluctantly had to detangle ourselves from the couches, but not before I booked a table for The Tall Hedonist and I to join Kunjani Wines again for a bit of Sunday sipping, before we’d head home to the city after our winelands break.
Fast-forward to Sunday afternoon lunch time. A beautiful wedding and an equally beautiful celebration later, and we were back at Kunjani for a more relaxed and quiet lunch. Eddie reserved us a little table at the edge of the terrace, so that we could enjoy their signature never-ending views over lunch. Only having had the smallest taster of their wines, The Tall Hedonist and I decided to indulge in the wine tasting all over again, this time at a slower pace. But first, let’s talk about the food.
After a round of nibbles from the kitchen, The Tall Hedonist decided to go for the Thulani pizza, whilst I had my heart set on the vegetarian tortellini pasta. The Thulani pizza captures a bit of Kunjani’s heart between its crispy wood-fired base and the Chenin soaked red onions. Lavishly topped with chicken, bacon, avocado and spinach, this beauty made me rethink my lunch choices.
Having said that, when my tortellini arrived, I was giddy with excitement. Served with tomato fondue, pea shoots, basil oil, mushrooms and parmesan shavings, I couldn’t wait to cut into the pillowy soft tortellini filled with butternutty indulgence.
Eddie looked after us in his fluid easy-going manner, gently pacing our wine tasting to fall in line with our meal and taking the time to run us through each wine.
At this point, almost all the restaurant was taken up by tables of jovial diners, happily chatting, cheers’ing and celebrating. I glimpsed owners Pia and Paul seamlessly moving between tables, checking in with the patrons and stopping for chats and laughs. The staff easily shifted between presenting plates and topping up glasses, taking both aspects of the dining experience in their stride.
I loved the laid-back atmosphere at Kunjani Wines. There was a certain sense of camaraderie in the air – everyone gathered here with the same purpose and were delighting in the same experience. I felt incredibly comfortable as I sat back in my chair, savouring yet another taster of their Stolen Chicken Pia Noir Rosé. I’ve been looking forward to tasting this wine for months, and I can promise you it was worth the wait.
There was nothing laid back about the plates that left the kitchen; all the meals were hot, fresh and colourful and innovatively presented, but without the unnecessary bells and whistles. Kunjani’s menu is an honest reflection of honest ingredients; made to be enjoyed with their range of honest wines. It really is that simple.
The wine tasting
Our tasting flight included the following: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Rosé, Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tastings cost R60 per person and are offered between 10h00 and 17h00 daily.
I know you might find it incredulous to hear that I thoroughly enjoyed each and every wine, but that was exactly the case. Every time The Tall Hedonist and I thought we tasted our favourite of the range, Eddie brought out the next, and we were forced to re-evaluate what we thought was our favourite. In my very humble opinion – one of the few wine estates who makes red as well as they do white as well as they do rosé. Everything touched by Kunjani turns to gold.
A last few things
Please remember to pop into their exquisite little gift shop downstairs in the cellar, which will also give you a glimpse of their stunningly beautiful wine collection. If you want to see something magnificent and just breathtaking, please do not miss this feature; their cellar is an art gallery in itself.
Also – and yes, it can get even better, Kunjani also offers luxurious winelands accommodation in the form of four self-catering villas, adjacent to the restaurant. The villas are wrapped up in the vines, removed from all that will remind you of the city. Perfect for a romantic getaway, a family stay-cation or a celebration of friends.
Our beautiful weekend in Stellenbosch which started and ended at Kunjani Wines, is an experience I’ll remember for a long time to come. It was the most appropriate place to gather to say hello to long lost friends. To say hello to new beginnings and different adventures. To say hello to friends made and fresh faces that we welcomed into our circle. To say hello to the magic that is Kunjani Wines.
Thank you, team Kunjani, for welcoming us into the open doors of your heart’s passion.
The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.
Disclaimer: I was invited to this event in my personal capacity. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.
The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.
Don’t drink and drive. Not for persons under 18.