Spookfontein is a boutique wine estate in the scenic Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, 15 minutes’ drive from the coastal town of Hermanus. With origins dating back to 1847, the farm is an indigenous fynbos heaven, with a mere 14 hectares under vine and olive trees growing stoically on the road towards our magnificent mountaintop cellar.
We offer a renowned restaurant and traditionally-inspired accommodation for an authentic Hemel-en-Aarde getaway.
The origins of the seaside town of Hermanus date back to 1815 when Hermanus Pieters, a Dutch farmer and teacher, arrived in the Cape. Legend has it that he ‘followed a path etched by elephants’ from nearby Caledon towards the ocean, where he discovered a fresh spring.
This spring and newfound fertile lands were favourable for livestock, so more farmers followed and the area became known as ‘Hermanuspietersfontein’, or ‘Hermanus Pieter’s Spring’. The town grew in size and in 1902 the name was shortened to simply ‘Hermanus’.
The Hermanus wine region is renowned for being one of the most southerly in South Africa, heavily focused on producing small quantities of elegant, ‘cool climate’ wines in a sustainable fashion. Most Hermanus wine farms are based in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, located 15 minutes west of town. Translating from Afrikaans to ‘Heaven and Earth’ in English, this picturesque valley was so named due to the hills which appear to touch the sky, so much so that you “cannot see anything but heaven and earth”. Several farms in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley have partnered together to collectively form the Hemel-en-Aarde Wine Route, to specifically focus on wines representative on their unique terroir (note, there is technically no ‘Hermanus Wine Route’).
The first vineyards were planted here in the 1970s, with many others being established from the 1990s onwards. Although relatively young in wine terms, wines from this region are becoming highly sought after, with a host of local and international awards for the area’s most popular varietals: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Wine tasting in Hermanus offers you the opportunity to immerse yourself in unspoiled nature and visitors to this wine region are in for an unforgettable and memorable whale of a time.
The cool maritime breezes of the nearby Atlantic Ocean combined with the area’s unique fertile soils have majorly influenced the wines of this region. Hermanus produces cool climate wines, which are often lighter in body and alcohol, with delicate aromas.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay heavily dominate, however you can also expect Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Grenache. Some wine farms may complement their offerings with grapes brought in from nearby warmer areas, in order to offer you a wider selection.
Due to the close proximity of most of the Hermanus wine farms to each other, it’s easy to make a day of wine tasting. Should you be starting in Hemel-en-Aarde village, don’t miss a visit to the Hermanus Wine Village, a treasure trove stocking over 3000 labels of South African wine from nearly 800 producers as well as craft beers, gins and brandies.
From there you can explore over 15 renowned wine farms, starting from the village all the way up the 20 kilometre-long Hemel-en-Aarde mountain road (the R320). The sizes of these farms do vary, with some offering simple traditional tasting rooms and others full-service premium restaurants. On your way out of town, don’t miss stopping off at the award-winning waterside Benguela Cove wine estate, which offers a host of activities and experiences.
For those wishing to explore the spoils of the valley, Hermanus has a number of wineries that offer a tranquil environment, sensational views and a variety of food and wine options.
Nearly all visitors base themselves in the seaside town of Hermanus, located around 90 minutes’ drive from Cape Town. Part of the World Heritage ‘Cape Floral Kingdom’ in the Overberg region, Hermanus is surrounded by mountains, beaches and unique biodiversity. Here a myriad of fun activities are on offer for both adults and kids alike – setting it apart from wine farms in Cape Town.
Visitors to Hermanus are spoiled for choice, with a plethora of hotels, guesthouses, shops, art galleries, markets, waterfront cafés and restaurants. You also have easy access to nature walks and hikes, landscaped gardens, mountain biking, picnics and of course wine tasting.
A popular activity is to stroll along the famous Hermanus Cliff Path, a 12km beach walk which hugs the coastline offering fabulous vistas. This is especially popular between July and November when Hermanus also becomes South Africa’s whale-watching capital! The annual Hermanus Whale Festival is held at the end of September and the whole family can delight in watching these gentle giants of the ocean come into Walker Bay to breed.