Brand-new Root44 wine emporium showcases offerings of local producers

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The wine shop on the first floor of Root44 is inspired by a journey of discovery through the wine route of Stellenbosch.Foto:
The wine shop on the first floor of Root44 is inspired by a journey of discovery through the wine route of Stellenbosch.Foto:

Visitors to Stellenbosch have yet another, brand-new local attraction to pop by this festive season, the The Wine Emporium at Root44, which officially opened its doors for business on Wednesday 14 December.

Many people are familiar with the pre-Covid and ever-popular market that has been going for quite a few years. It was the pandemic that gave owner Dax and Irene Hunt the chance to build what they envisioned for Root44, a state-of-the-art building where traders can have a more permanent stand, and where vibrancy, style and quality meet the avid market goer. The building blends well with its surroundings and then opens to a spectacular view of Stellenbosch’s best – its mountains and rolling vineyards!

The dream didn’t stop there. Tied in with his love for wine, job creation and the remarkable setting, Dax envisioned another offering for the first floor of the building.

It hosts offerings for the cultured person with a keen interest in wine, art and good food. There are no vendors on the floor; instead, it is a curated space driven by Dax and Irene.

Surrounded by a well-designed structure and stylish interior, it boasts an art gallery, sport’s bar, oyster bar, coffee shop, restaurant and – most importantly – a wine shop and tasting room that showcases local wines and also gives guests a tasting experience of an array of Stellenbosch wines.

The wine shop is inspired by a journey of discovery through the wine route of Stellenbosch. It lists more than 300 wines and the shelf displays are divided according to the five sub-wards found on the Stellenbosch Wine Route. The five wards are presented with an artist’s interpretation of the region’s character and gives the client a visually explorative experience. An alphabetical index at the emporium entrance is a good starting point to find your favourite wine brand as it directs you to the sub ward where it can be found.

For Dax, this platform is to not only showcase the well-known wineries of Stellenbosch, but to also provide exposure for the smaller, dynamic wine producers in the region. It is a state-of-the-art shop and has beautiful gifts as well as an oversized walk-in fridge that causes you to linger a little longer in front of the bountiful racks.

If this does not keep you busy long enough, the tasting room is located next to the wine shop. Here one can do comparative cultivar tastings from the five wards, with over 50 wines available for tasting.

Depending on your appetite for tasting, one can get a magnificent overview of wines and styles from Stellenbosch. The tasting room also boasts three signature pairings – a bubbly and meringue pairing; white wine and shortbread pairing; and red wine and charcuterie pairing.

The charcuterie is supplied by meat guru Ryan Boon and also sold in the wine shop. You can balance your wine intake with abundant cheese and meat platters and, if that is not enough, make your way to the continental style restaurant, which has something for everyone’s taste. There is no reason not to spend the day at Root44.

The first floor of Root44, specifically The Wine Emporium, is the ideal landing pad for the first-time visitor to Stellenbosch, who has limited time to get a bird’s eye view of what the region offers in wine. It is the place where exploration and discovery are key, and that may just lead the wine farms’ next big fan to them after a remarkable tasting experience at Root44.

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