The name Bottelary Hills is often misunderstood as being associated with a factory of sorts; the Afrikaans word for bottle being bottel. In fact, it gets its name from earlier times as having been the source and supplier of fresh produce to the early settlements and ships rounding the Cape. The Dutch bottelarij, refers to a pantry or store-room.
As with the Greater Simonsberg, soils of this region were found to be exceptionally fertile and suitable for agriculture. A series of low hills and undulating plains characterise its geography, essentially the fringe creases between Table Mountain and the Cape Fold Mountains.
Other contributors to its wine excellence are the diversity of aspects and resultant climates that have made it perfect for farming diverse varieties of grapes. The crop has thrived in these parts for centuries, which also explains the presence of vineyards registered with the Old Vines Project (OVP).
The OVP is a Stellenbosch-based initiative that lobbies for the protection and restoration of vineyards older than 34 years, promoting the unique character of the wines they can produce. In addition to Bottelary Hills, vineyards listed with the organisation are present throughout the wider Stellenbosch area.
The sub-route however occupies another treasured part of South Africa’s winemaking history in that it saw some of the first plantings of Pinotage. The variety was first cultivated in Stellenbosch in 1925 and has since spread around the world.
Located in the northwest from the town of Stellenbosch, Bottelary Hills is bordered approximately by the R304 and M22.
It too incorporates conservation areas. These include the Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy that was founded in 1992 and involves private landowners in the preservation of regioal fauna and flora.
The wineries of the Bottelary Hills that surround the conservancy include Beyerskloof, Hartenberg, Kunjani, Domaine Coutelier, Bellevue, Fort Simon, Groenland, Mooiplaas, Kaapzicht and Hazendal. At the intersection of the old Paarl Road and R304 are Villiera and Koelenhof.