South Africa’s Major Wine Regions
Tourists from all over the world flock to the shores of Cape Town where they have the best access to most of the well known wine regions in South Africa. There are currently over 560 wineries in the Western Cape and they are divided into four main regions: The Breede River Valley, Little Karoo, Coastal, and Olifants River. Most of them are part of the longest wine route in the world – Route 62.
The oldest of all the wine routes is Stellenbosch with over 300 wineries to boast. To make traveling the wine routes easier, they have been further broken up into Bottelary Hills, Helderberg, Devon Valley Vintners, and lastly Simonsberg.
The Bottelary Hills area produces the best red wines in the area as it faces the North. The Pinotage from this area is considered to be the best in the country. Moving on to the Helderberg area you will find a unique blend of wines resulting from the merger of maritime and mountain climate. Located just 15 minutes away from Cape Town International Airport, the Helderberg offer the visitor options of wine tasting in 300 year old cellars, or enjoying the classy wine boutiques. In the Devon Valley you will find many smaller wine farms that produce mainly red wines, although certain premium white wines and sparkling wines have caused quite a stir. In the center of Stellenbosch, the Simonsberg wineries are famous for their rich, full bodied Cabernets.
The other major wine routes include Wellington, Paarl, Robertson, Walker Bay, Cape Point, Constantia Valley, Durbanville, Franschhoek, Tulbagh, Elim, Breedekloof, Orange River, Olifants River, Worcester, Darling and the Swartland.
If you move further up country, you will find that other provinces have also begun producing wine although these vineyards are still very young. In Kwazulu Natal the pioneering winery was established in 2004 and it is located beneath the Drakensberg Mountains.
The Free State in the centre of the country has also begun producing wines under the Jacobsdal name, while you will find the sun scorched land near the Orange River in the Northern Cape offers some super wines too. Another new winery outside of the Cape has been established called Loopspruit which you will find in Mpumalanga and are South Africa’s most easterly vineyards.
Regional Climates and Grapes
The geography of the Cape makes it possible to grow different varieties of wines that each bring with them unique and compelling flavors. You are able to travel around Cape Town easily and experience each of these regions while on vacation here. Most of the regions are not far from Cape Town itself and there are many tours that will take you on outings to the further away regions like Walker Bay (which is a 2 hour drive from the City Center). Below we will take a look at each of the wine producing areas that make up the wonderful South African wine industry.