The South African luxury wine producer Vilafonté opened its new winery facility in Stellenbosch this week, with honors conducted by the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, Eric M. Bost. A joint venture between California winemaker Zelma Long, viticulturist Phil Freese and South African general manager Mike Ratcliffe, Vilafonté represents one of the first American-South African wine partnership. Vilafonté previously shared cellar space with Tokara winery, also in Stellenbosch, then moved to an interim facility called Bosman’s Crossing in Stellenbosch town. The new facility contains other wineries’ crush facilities, a grappa distillery and a modern apartment block, in addition to the Vilafonté cellar. An Italian bistro and coffee shop is due to open this month and a five-star hotel is in the planning.
Ambassador Bost expressed his enthusiasm for the venture, saying it paved the way for not only good relations between the two wine producing countries but had created opportunities for both winemakers and winery workers to work in and learn from each other’s industries.
Vilafonte has produced wine since 2003, with red Bordeaux vineyards planted in nearby Paarl.
The new Vilafonté cellar premises are open daily, except Christmas and Easter, for tastings and sales. For more information, go to www.vilafonte.com.