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South African Wine Regions

The South African Winelands region has many fine wine estates offering wine tasting and cellar tours as well as gracious farm accommodation and hidden restaurants.

There are now hundreds of different wine farms producing anything from simple table wines to award-winning special vintages.

The Cape Winelands is a loose term used to describe several quite distinct wine-growing regions spread over several hundred kilometres, with the Coastal Region covering what many would consider to be the most famous of South Africa’s wine producing areas including Constantia, Paarl and Stellenbosch in the Cape Valley.

The Constantia Valley is the most historic of the country’s wine growing areas. Four of the five estates in the region form part of the original farm, Groot Constantia, established in 1685 by Simon van der Stel, the first Dutch Governor of the Cape.

This is a good region for Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet. There’s a legendary Muscat produced here called Vin de Constance, a wine regarded by many as a benchmark.

SimonsbergStellenbosch is a picturesque university town and one of the most visited spots in the Cape. Renowned for its Cape Dutch architecture and oak-lined streets, Stellenbosch is also home to many of the country’s leading wine estates.

Stellenbosch, with its mix of historic estates and contemporary wineries, produces excellent examples of almost all the noble grape varieties and is known for the quality of its reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage, and Shiraz.

FranschhoekThe Franschhoek valley is a small but significant region. The area is distinctively French and many of the wines are created in traditional French ways. With its profusion of trendy restaurants it can rightfully claim to be the gourmet capital of the Winelands. It offers visitors a wide range of wines to accompany fine French cuisine.

Glen Carlou VineyardsPaarl is situated beneath a large granite outcrop formed by three rounded domes. Paarl is one of South Africa’s premier wine producing districts and some of the most prestigious wine producers are situated here. Chenin Blanc accounts for a lot of the vineyards, but Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsaut and Pinotage are widely cultivated.

Located close to Paarl, Wellington is known for its top quality red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinotage as well as old favourites such as Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

Durbanville hosts several estates and wineries situated mainly on the rolling hill slopes of the Northern suburbs and make a wide variety of wine styles. This is one of the less commercialised wine routes but produces some sophisticated wines at affordable prices.

Swartland (Black land), is a region named for the characteristic dark foliage of its bushes. This region is particularly dry and harsh and a large percentage of the vines in this area are grown under dry land conditions in bush form. Vines are grown without irrigation and the resulting wine is of an excellent quality with various concentrated flavours.

Tulbagh is a small area east of Swartland and the vineyards of this district grow alongside orchards and fields of wheat. There are 16 wineries and several of them are relative newcomers making acclaimed wines with local cultivar Pinotage. Tulbagh’s historic Church Street boasts no less than 32 national monuments.

Schalk Burger Wine EstateBreede River Valley which flows through the fertile Valley, gives the Breede River Valley its name. The Breede River Valley region is the largest wine producing area in South Africa. It consists of Worcester, Robertson and Swellendam.

Worcester produces nearly 25% of the country’s wine and spirits. It is the most important brandy producing area and home of the KWV Brandy Cellar, the largest of its kind in the world. To the wine lover, Worcester offers a big Wine Tasting Centre, where one can savour the excellent Breede River wines. The KWV Brandy Cellar is definitely worth a visit.

Robertson is renowned for the quality of its wines. It is the source of some of the Cape’s finest red wines, particularly Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The distinctive fortified dessert wines for which it was originally famed continue to be produced.

The Klein Karoo Wine Region in the Southern Cape is the most diverse of South Africa’s wine regions. It is the easternmost wine producing region in the country and stretches from Montagu to Oudtshoorn in the west and encompasses the district of Calitzdorp.

Calitzdorp is the source of the country’s finest Port wines. Port-grape varieties prefer a hot, dry, climate such as that of Calitzdorp.

Olifants River region stretches along the broad valley of the Olifants River. It incorporates the Cederberg Mountains and Lutzville Valley. The wine route winds over 200km through the Cederberg Mountains and Namaqualand, famed for its profusion of wild flowers in South Africa’s spring.

Nestled between the picturesque Cederberg and surrounded by numerous orchards of citrus fruits is Citrusdal. Citrusdal Cellars produce exceptional wines from grapes grown high up in the Cederberg and Piekenierskloof mountains.