Most of us who enjoy a glass of South African Wine will be familiar with the country’s famous labels. The Mediterranean climate, ancient soils and breezes influenced by the Indian and Atlantic Oceans truly bless these magic valleys of the Western Cape and produce some of the best wines in the world. From Jan van Riebeeck’s first wine made in 1659 to over 6,000 wines produced over 350 years later, it seems fitting to celebrate the Rainbow Nation’s achievements.
We have selected three areas, all of which are just a short drive from Cape Town: Stellenbosch, the oldest region; Franschhoek, renowned for its scenery; and the Overberg, best known for its whale route. Whichever you choose to visit, ensure you spend time to enjoy the Cape Dutch Architecture, stunning scenery, excellent eating and most of all the wines. Pick an area and visit just a few wineries and tasting rooms (spit the wine instead of swallowing if driving) and appreciate the best produce of this special region.
Stellenbosch is the oldest and largest Wine Route and is known for Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc and South Africa’s own variety – Pinotage. South Africa’s second oldest town – with its leafy oak lanes, historical buildings, art dealers and famous University – lies at the heart of great wine estates and eateries.
Franschhoek, named after its Huguenot settlers, safeguards its heritage in the names of many local estates. Chardonnay, Semillon, Shiraz and excellent Cap Classique (SA’s bubbly made in the Champagne style) are produced here. The central road leads you towards the Huguenot memorial past some of the Cape’s best restaurants, quaint homes and many art and antique
Hermanus lies at the heart of the Overberg region and is nowadays best known for some of the world’s best shore-based whale watching. This cool region produces some of the best Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines in the Cape; the spectacular scenery, gentle pace of life and warm welcome come as unexpected bonuses. The Southern-most vineyards in Africa offer activities such as hiking trails, whale watching, surfing, wind surfing and much more. With cheap holidays in Cape Town available for holidaymakers willing to shop around, there has never been a better time to check out the Cape Winelands.