Stellar Winery is situated 275 kilometres north of Cape Town, just outside Vredendal on the road to Namibia. This is an area famous for its spring flowers and is the only semi-arid biosphere hotspot in the world. The company is a joint venture created by the Roussouw brothers in 2000 between four farmers and the winemaking cellar, which now has the capacity to handle 900 tonnes of organic grapes from these independent farms straddling the northern boundary of the Olifants river wine region and Namaqualand. Working closely with the farmers, winemaker Klaas Coetzee, produces a excellent range of wines with great consistency and no small amount of individual flair. The coastal location of their vineyards contributes to the unique characteristics of their wines. Unlike other wineries in the Olifants River region, these vineyards are located closer to the Atlantic Ocean, and are constantly cooled by the sea breeze giving a lovely freshness to the wines.
There is very little light pollution in this area, allowing excellent views of the magnificent cosmic displays in the night sky which give the winery its name.
Stellar have been pioneers in ethical practices: workers on the farms and in the winery, including seasonal workers, own 26% of the enterprise through shares in the Stellar Empowerment Trust.
The first vintage from organically-grown grapes was released in 2001 and since then the cellar’s output has grown to over two million bottles a year. The winery’s reputation is now solidly built on innovative winemaking, eco-friendly farming and production and fair trading. The no-added-sulphur wine range, created in 2004, has been so successful that today Stellar is the world’s leading producer in this category.
It is often said, and rightly so, that the production of quality wines begins in the vineyards. This has never been truer for Stellar Winery than now. The benefits of new technology, including minimised losses and oxidisation, spurred Stellar Winery into action. In their quest for quality wines and minimised losses, the team realised that with high-density planting came benefits for producers, but also the need for specialised equipment. A new high-tech harvesting machine was purchased. The initial cost of this new multifunctional machine harvester is rapidly recovered, as better quality grapes are delivered.