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The Wine Emporium Root44 - My best discovery of 2022

As if Stellenbosch does not have a long enough list of must see’s and must do’s – here is another must for the local visitor; The Wine Emporium @Root44. In fact, this destination might just have to be placed top of the list!

Many people are familiar with the pre-covid and ever-popular market that has been going for quite a few years; but it was Covid that gave owners, 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 vibrance, style and quality meets the avid market goer. The building blends well with the surroundings, and then opens to a spectacular view of Stellenbosch’s best – mountains and vineyards!

The dream didn’t stop there. Being born in Stellenbosch, together with Dax’s love for wine, job creation and the remarkable setting he envisioned another offering for the first floor of the building. A dream takes shape with the opening of the first floor on 8 December 2022.

The first-floor hosts offerings for the cultured person with a keen interest in wine, art, and good food. There are no vendors on the first floor, and instead, it is a curated space driven by Dax and Irene themselves. Surrounded by a well-designed structure and stylish interior, it boasts an art gallery, sports 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 over 300 wines, and the shelf displays are divided according to the 5 sub wards found in 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 Stellenbosch 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 where one can do comparative cultivar tastings from the five wards. Over 50 wines are 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 with 3 signature pairings – a bubbly and meringue pairing, white wine and shortbread pairing as well as a red wine and charcuterie pairing. The charcuterie is supplied by meat guru, Ryan Boon and also sold in the wine shop. 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, and specifically The Wine Emporium is the ideal landing pad for the first-time visitor to Stellenbosch that 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 might just lead the wine farms’ next big fan to them after a remarkable tasting experience at Root44.

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