Recently, I had the pleasure of being invited to experience Kunjani Wines and their latest Sunset Fridays event.
The wine farm is a still-new kid on the Stellenbosch wine block. And while Kunjani Wines – only two years in the running – may be new, it is one of the most impressive, welcoming and relaxing wine estates I have visited to date.
This Stellenbosch wine estate offers visitors private, self-catering villas, a quality restaurant-deck area, excellent wines and sweeping views. With these, it makes a fast impression… but there’s so much more heart and soul at Kunjani Wines than just its quality facilities.
At its core, it is the passionate people who make this wine farm truly special. This is present in owners, husband-and-wife team Paul Barth and Pia Watermeyer, as much as their staff.
It is rare to encounter an estate where the staff show this same kind of love and passion… At Kunjani Wines, everyone lives and breathes the estate – that much is abundantly clear.
Kunjani Wines: A Stunning Stellenbosch Wine Estate
With its unmistakable bright red and dark grey facade, Kunjani Wines is edgy and daring among the vineyards. Tucked away down an unassuming country road, it is like discovering a hidden oasis among the trees.
As you enter, you pass the first of four villas the estate offers. At one time, they can accommodate up to 12 guests.
This makes them perfect for family visits, couple getaways or overnight business trips. Furnished with the finest appliances and creature comforts, the villas are surely a restful respite from the pressures of everyday life.
Thereafter, the estate’s wine tasting facility and restaurant announce themselves… They are eye-catching from the first.
The laser-cut staircase and flashy red touches draw you in… Only to be greeted by the most sumptuous, stunning restaurant interiors.
Above all though, my favourite part are the uninterrupted views across the valley. These can be enjoyed from inside the restaurant – or out of the expansive deck.
Either way, you are in for a visual treat. Pia and iconic South African design firm, Haldane Martin have spared nothing in the way of aesthetic beauty.
The modern, bold interiors are further enhanced by unique artworks… Courtesy of Krisjan Rossouw and Peter Pharoah, these make their presence felt in a subtle, yet poignant way.
Welcome to Kunjani Wines
Kunjani Wines has an air of consummate professionalism about it. Again, this is something you feel from both Pia and Paul – but also from their staff, who are quietly efficient, attentive and wonderfully polite.
Everyone from Executive Chef Lamek Mnisi to the waitrons possess an air of pride, humbleness and passion for what they do.
Pia, meanwhile, is perhaps the most special part. She somehow manages to be present in every aspect of the running – while also keeping her guests company in the most sincere and reassuring way.
There is no sense of forced hospitality at Kunjani Wines… When you are there, you are as much a part of this estate as the ground you stand upon.
Kunjani is a Zulu greeting that translates to ‘Hi, how are you?’ While you are at Kunjani Wines, I think the only appropriate answer is, “All is well with me, thank you… because I am here.”
Two Cultures, One Passion and a Fist Bump
I was meant to attend this wonderful Sunset Fridays event with a friend to enjoy a platter for two and a complimentary bottle of wine. Unfortunately, a last-minute cancellation meant that I ended up going alone.
Pia, upon learning this, did not miss a beat and spent the whole evening keeping me in the best of company. And it was wonderful to hear more about the estate, their vision and the coming together of two cultures in one passion directly from her.
I especially loved hearing about how she and Paul have joined together their South African and German roots. Their union is both a personal and professional triumph and has undoubtedly made Kunjani Wines characteristically unique.
Along with their quietly impressive logo ‘Two Cultures, One Passion’, which even includes a fun fist bump… Just in case you didn’t already know Kunjani Wines is cool.
The Home of Fun Dining
The restaurant at Kunjani Wines certainly feels cut from the same cloth as any fine dining restaurant… But rather than the usual pretension that comes with fine dining, Kunjani Wines have instead opted for a more relaxed approach. Here, it is all about fun dining… a concept I love beyond words.
And with its al fresco dining on the deck, superbly varied menu (made up of excellent breakfast and lunch offerings) and humble, yet hugely knowledgeable chef, the restaurant excels at fun dining.
The restaurant is open seven days a week (Monday – Sunday) for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast times are 08:30 am – 10:30 am – while lunch is available from 11:00 am – 16:00 pm.
Award-Winning Wines: Top Class Reds, Whites and a Very Special Rosé
Excellent food aside, Kunjani Wines also offers lovely wine tastings seven days a week. This experience allows wine lovers to enjoy exploring the estate’s range of six quality wines. Included in the range are a Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and a special Rosé, with a touching, humourous story and label behind it.
Wine tastings cost R60 and can be enjoyed daily from 10:00 am – 17:00 pm. Kunjani Wines warmly welcomes wine clubs and tasting- and/or tourist-groups – but I would recommend advanced booking for large groups.
During my visit, I was fortunate to sample some of the Chenin Blanc, ‘Stolen Chicken’ Rosé and Shiraz (a Gold Medalist at the 2015 Michelangelo International Wine Awards) respectively.
Honestly, each of the wines is deserving on an easy 9/10 rating from me. I especially loved the Chenin Blanc, which is a definite 10/10 (and not just because I am a biased white wine drinker).
But the wonderful and rare thing about Kunjani Wines is that all their wines are excellent, easy drinking and above all, hugely enjoyable and delicious. The flavours are beautiful across the range… I honestly couldn’t fault one sip.
Sunset Fridays at Kunjani Wines
One of Kunjani’s latest events is the popular Sunset Fridays, which invites guests to join the estate for a feast of wine and platter nibbles as the sun sets across the valley.
Running until the season ends at this stage, the event takes place every Friday from 16:00 – 19:00 pm, when the kitchen closes.
Included in the Sunset Fridays offering is a platter (either artisanal cheese, German charcuterie or a mixture of both) and complimentary bottle of wine of your choice for two sharing.
There is no booking required, as it runs on a first come, first serve basis.
If you wish to join, I would advise you arrive early because, on the evening of my visit, Kunjani Wines was pumping for the entire evening.
In good weather, the restaurant deck is a truly enchanting place to sit. It possesses its own aesthetic appeal, thanks to the lovely head bust pot plants (of special significance to Pia and Paul), comfy red-and-orange couches and weighty, 300 kg carved wooden tables.
Sunset Fridays: What’s on Offer
The choice of platters for Sunset Fridays range in the price of R135-R295, depending on whether you are sharing. For my platter experience, upon recommendation, I opted for the Mixed Platter for Two to Share (R295).
Included in this was locally sourced German sausages and cured meats, piquante peppers, wholegrain mustard, artisanal Jersey- and goat’s-milk cheese, marinated olives, mixed nuts, preserve and toasted bread. There were also slices of strawberry and pickles.
I would love to say that, with my indomitable appetite, I was able to conquer the mixed platter and accompanying bread and olives… But even for two sharing, servings are most generous.
No one leaves for home hungry… If this is not the truest cornerstone of good, African hospitality, then I don’t know what is.
How My Sunset Fridays Experience Rated
The platter’s fine presentation, portion size and overall taste was pretty faultless and I happily sampled a bit of everything. My favourite was the German sausage, salami, mixed nuts, olives and cheeses, enjoyed with the tasty, smoky flavoured bread. Add to that the quality wine and you have an inexpensive, quality evening of soothing bliss to enjoy.
Overall, Sunset Fridays at Kunjani Wines are an easy 10/10 rated event. This is thanks to the fine setting, comfortable surroundings, ample, delicious food, excellent service and beautiful wines.
I can strongly recommend this experience. It is ideal for foodies, friends, couples and of course, wine lovers too! 🙂
In the Works: Wine Pairing Dinners and an Exciting Shop
Kunjani Wines already offers guests so much but they are constantly looking for new and inventive ways to provide for their guests. This is capably fronted up by Pia, who is a most astute businesswoman.
Some of their latest ideas still in the works include:
- An exciting downstairs gift shop. It is equipped with an assortment of ceramics, thoughtful gifts, African wares, inventive, artsy wine coolers, spices, teas and even clever Himalayan salt graters.
- A captivating cellar room designed for more intimate, private wine tastings adjoining the shop.
- A new wine pairing dinner presented by Pia and Chef Lamek. This will take place every last Wednesday of the month so keep an eye out for new dates!
I am excited about all that is still to come at Kunjani Wines and I have no doubt that they will continue to grow from strength to strength.
But the bottom line is that they are already one of the most quality estates around – Stellenbosch or otherwise – and have a very good thing going here indeed. If you need one single, defining reason (although I have a fair few) to visit Kunjani Wines – that is it.
A Word of Thanks
I wish to extend a special thank you to Kunjani Wines (as a whole) and Zelda Furstenburg of Liquid Pulse Communications for inviting me to share in this special event with you. It was a pleasure to finally visit Kunjani Wines – this will certainly not be my last visit because your estate is so delightful on every level.
In particular, I would like to also thank Pia Watermeyer, Paul Barth, Madeleine and Chef Lamek. Each of whom made my Sunset Fridays visit so welcoming, fun and utterly enjoyable on the day. Pia, I was particularly honoured to spend the evening with you! I am so grateful for your time and wonderful company.
Kunjani Wines can be found at Farm 90/20, Blumberg Drive, Devonvale, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa.
For more information on Kunjani Wines, please contact: +27 (087) 630 0409. Alternatively, email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website.
Author: Tamlyn Ryan
Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.
Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.