Driving up into Devon Valley, it feels as if you’re in an autumnal Tuscany dream. Kunjani Wines, is perched up on a beautiful hill, where you immediately recognise the bright red hues and unique architecture in the building of the young winery. I’ve only read and heard good things about Kunjani wines, so this would be my very first time visiting. I quickly accepted an invite a few weeks back to the launch of their refreshed wine labels for their entire range of wines and to experience all they have to offer.
The afternoon was filled with an amazing warm autumnal ambience, which one could taste not only in the wines but the food too! The industry’s best attended to document and celebrate this important milestone for Kunjani Wines. I went home with a new favourite Shiraz, new friends made at this auspicious event and a taste for more of what Kunjani has to offer.
Kunjani means ‘hello, how are you?’ in isiZulu, and like co-owner Pia Watermeyer says that is how a friendship or warm dialogue starts. Quite serendipitous. Kunjani wines is a new boutique winery situated in the Bottelary Hills of Stellenbosch, that opened it’s doors in November 2017 and made a name for themselves as a wine destination that. offers, modern chic accommodation with spectacular views of the valley, fine food and wines that are already racking up a few awards!
Co-owner Paul Barth, Pia’s husband, wanted to retain a the two hands doing a ‘fist-bump’ on the label which symbolises a greeting. Pia wanted to incorporate the architectural elements of the tasting room and restaurant building. The new labels are printed in a trendy charcoal hue with a glossy high to contrast the matte paper.
A chance encounter brought together a German entrepreneur, Paul Barth, and Pia Watermeyer, a South African businesswoman. Their relationship has proven that with great wine and good food, even language and culture barriers can be overcome.
“We believe wine is a universal language,” explains Pia. “Nothing builds a relationship, and keeps friendships going, like sharing a bottle of fine wine and excellent food. And we offer both here at Kunjani.”
Paul, however, is more than just an entrepreneur. He hails from the Rheingau wine region of Germany and both his father and grandfather were winemakers. As a child he helped with the harvest every year, so coming to South Africa and establishing his own wine brand on his own “piece of heaven” was a dream come true for him.
Behind every wine bottle is a great winemaker! Carmen Stevens is just that. Carmen graduated from the Elsenburg Agricultural College in Stellenbosch in 1995, becoming the first POC winemaker in South Africa. She joined Distell as assistant winemaker for the Zonnebloem brand. Later she took on the role as winemaker for Distell’s new Tukulu brand, a BEE project.
Two award-winning top 10 Pinotages, a stint in California and representing the Tukulu brand abroad was followed by a period at Welmoed for Stellenbosch Vineyards. Then spent 8 years at Amani where she won the 2008 Decanter Red Bordeaux Varietals Trophy for her Amani Cabernet Franc/Merlot 2006.
Today Carmen utilises Kunjani’s very own Shiraz grapes and sources other varieties used in the estate’s wines. “We are very meticulous about where and from whom we buy grapes,” says Carmen. “Quality is of the utmost importance as we strive to always put the best in every bottle of Kunjani wine.” The Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards adjacent to the property are managed by the team at Kunjani, providing a hands-on approach for all red wines in the portfolio.
Kunjani has only 2½ hectares under vine, all Shiraz, while Carmen also has access to nearby Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vineyards. The winery’s Riesling is imported from Germany’s Rheingau region. Being one of the most distinguished wine regions in the world. Riesling being one of two grape varieties that is prominent in the wine region of Rheingau.
Kunjani’s restaurant menu is tweaked and curated by the stellar chef Lamek Mnisi, who has been at the helm of the Kunjani kitchen since it’s opening in 2017. Not only does he look for high quality seasonal ingredients and innovative ideas when creating each season’s menu, but he continually renews the menus so that regular patrons always find a new dish that will surprise them when visiting the estate.
In line with their philosophy to only source seasonal ingredients and the very best fresh produce, Kunjani has streamlined their menus to reflect their passion for locally sourced, fresh, wholesome and healthier food options that are sustainable. By sourcing only locally grown produce, the restaurant aims to act responsibly towards the planet and its natural resources and reduce its carbon footprint. As a result, they only source fish from the green list of South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI).
Kunjani’s accommodation consists of four private, self-catering villas with stunning views – Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet and Stolen Chicken. Shiraz and Stolen Chicken can sleep up to four people, while Merlot and Cabernet each accommodates two guests. The villas are conveniently close to Stellenbosch and Cape Town and surrounded by vineyards. They are fully equipped and include luxuries such as washers and dryers, coffee machines, wall-panel heating, air-conditioning, smart TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi and private, shaded verandas with braai facilities to enjoy an alfresco dinner by the vines.
Make a date with your bests for a wine tasting paired with delicious food or plan a wine-filled getaway at Kunjani Wines.
Tel: +27 87 630 0409
Open 7 days a week.
Mon – Fri: 9am – 5pm
Sat & Sun: 9am – 5pm
Public Holidays: Open
Farm 90/20, Blumberg Drive
Devonvale, Stellenbosch, 7600