Stephen Flesch is a registered tour guide and a member of the Cape Tourist Guides Association. The former Chairman of the Wine Tasters Guild of South Africa, he has a wide and intimate knowledge of the wines of the area, accumulated over forty five years of wine tasting. He also knows personally many of the winemakers and proprietors of the most important wineries. Currently he is the Leader of the Cape Town Slow Food Convivium.
INTERVIEW WITH STEPHEN
When did you discover your passion for wine?
In my early twenties I was lucky to taste some outstanding wines and this ignited my interest. Membership of The Wine Tasters Guild Of South Africa followed and the fascination and beauty of wine became a lifelong interest.
What are your key highlights of the Stellenbosch wine region?
With 150 wineries in the region and so many really excellent ones this is really difficult to answer. However the scenery is breathtaking with mountains towering above lush green vineyards. Tuscany is lovely but in my opinion Stellenbosch outshines it.
When are the best times to visit Stellenbosch?
Late spring and early summer, October and November is lovely and the autumn harvest period in February and March is also a very good time to come.
Do you have a personal favourite winery in the region and if so why?
If I have to mention one it would be the tiny winery of De Trafford. It is tucked away, high up at the end of a lovely valley. The wines are exceptionally good – all hand crafted and naturally fermented with wild yeasts and minimal interference. Its only drawback is that it is only open on Friday and Saturday mornings.
What would be your top 3 tips for the keen wine traveller?
Advise your guide of the sort of wines you enjoy. Allow sufficient time to explore the area properly. Enhance the experience by doing some advance research.
Finally, which wine region in the world would you like to visit next?
Two areas I have not yet visited are Spain and Argentina but I cannot decide which one should be next.