A journey of discovery at Springfontein, Stanford

It has taken much patience and belief in doing the right things which has brought Springfontein Wine Estate to where it is now.  A barren piece of limestone discovered by engineer and business economist, Johst Weber, through a insightful ad in Decanter in 1994 is now producing wines of note. Initially nurtured by Tariro Masayiti, the farm is now passionately guarded and goaded by Johst's partner, vigneron Jeanne Vito, who comes to the property with wine in her blood, having grown up in Chablis, Burgundy where her Togan father raised his family.

Johst's German ancestry has meant that the visitors attracted by Springfontein are predominantly European, and we were surprised and delighted to find their cottages all fully booked by many happy sunshine-seeking northern-hemisphere guests. And the bonus is that they have a choice of 2 restaurants on the farm. One is the 200-year-old thatched stable barn called Ulumbaza and another the fine dining understated Wortelgat, reopened recently in the original farm house. There, we were hosted to 7 courses of beautiful fare, craftily made by chef Janine van der Nest. Each course is a childhood memory of hers brought to life in delicious plates prepared with love and authenticity.  It is a calm, beautiful and unfussy space, and we were warmly welcomed by the local staff who clearly are an integral part of the farm.

Johst specialised in natural resource management and the organic farm is a testament to his commitment with a focus on varieties truly South African, Chenel and Pinotage, but of course plenty of Chardonnay too on those limestone soils, irrigated by the natural spring after which the farm is named.