With open arms, the Cape Winelands welcomes you to explore, discover and experience the lifestyle of great food, fabulous wines, luxury accommodation and outdoor living available here. Winemaking in South Africa has its origins with the first European settlers to the Cape. Jan van Riebeek, tasked with setting up a refreshment station for passing ships, was the first to plant vines in Cape Town and in 1669 the first wine was pressed.
The Cape’s wine regions stretch from the semi-arid Kalahari in the north with the Orange River wine cellars to the lush Garden Route region that has only recently been planted with vines. The best-known wine routes of the country wind around the towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl and Constantia famous for their internationally award-winning wines. You are welcome to taste wines along these routes, settling into comfortable tasting rooms, and many of them with fantastic views and other attractions on offer.
The emphasis on good food paired with fabulous wines is found throughout the Cape Winelands, take a culinary and wine tour for an overview of what is on offer. The growth of the wine industry has led to an increased appreciation for culinary skills and wherever there are wine farms you are also going to find olive oil producers, artisanal cheeseries, passionate bakers and a more recent trend, charcuteries. Dining options range from candlelit meals in underground cellars to picnics in vineyards or aboard river cruises, organic delis and bistros to fine dining award-winning restaurants.
The ancient undisturbed soils of the Cape and distinct microclimates enable a huge variety of wine grapes to be cultivated in South Africa. The cooler areas along the coast enable the production of fruit-driven expressive whites while the warmer areas are known for rich reds, internationally acclaimed port-styled wines, brandies and ‘soetes’, naturally sweet and dessert wines. South Africa’s homegrown varietal Pinotage is a firm local favourite and it is a great accompaniment to the national sport of barbecuing. In South Africa we call sparkling wines, made in the same style as Champagne, Methode Cap Classiques, look out for our award-winning bubblies, they have made an impact at international competitions and most definitely reflect the terroir and talent of our winemakers.
The scenery of the Cape’s wine regions is stunning and conducive to loads of outdoor activities. Many activities are centred on the wine farms allowing you to combine tasting experiences with exploration of the surrounding countryside – cruise down the rivers, take a horseback safari through the vineyards or book a tour combining your favourite options.
Stay awhile in the beautiful Cape Winelands to get the most out of each route. Come and revel in the beautiful scenery, outstanding luxury accommodation options and share in the wine and food lifestyle so celebrated in the Cape Winelands.
Stellenbosch Wine Route
Spend some time exploring the largest and most prestigious wine route around Stellenbsoch. With hundreds of farms on the mountains and valleys around the town, the Stellenbosch wine route offers you a range of experiences catering for all tastes and age groups.
Franschhoek Wine Route
Visit the Franschhoek Wine Valley for a gourmet culinary and wine experience. Home to a fifth of the country’s five star chefs, the gorgeous valley is a haven for foodies and lovers of the good things in life. Upmarket accommodation, exclusive activities and a multitude of handcrafted artisanal foods are on offer here.
Constantia Wine Route
Taste one of the first wines made in South Africa that had international acclaim, Vin de Constance. This sweet was drunk and favoured by Napoleon Bonaparte and Charles Dickens amongst other leading historical figures through the years. Constantia is the oldest wine-producing region in South Africa and all of the farms along this route are steeped in history and offer you superlative dining experiences.
Fun in the Robertson Wine Valley
The Robertson Wine Valley is a fabulous destination both for the quality of its wines and friendly reception at the farms but what sets it apart is the fantastic range of outdoor activities on offer from horse-riding to hiking and river trips to reserve trails. They host some of the best South African wine festivals in the country.
Venture into the Klein Karoo
Venture into the semi-arid Klein Karoo region for a great country experience. This region is the furthest easterly wine route in South Africa and famous for its award-winning port-styled wines and ‘soetes’ – naturally sweet and dessert wines. A visit to their annual Port Festival held in Calitzdorp is a must, both for the wines and the fun festival experience.
Stand at the end of Africa in the Elim and L’Agulhas wine region
Cape Agulhas is the most southerly point of the African continent, where the Indian and Atlantic ocean meet, wines coming from this relatively new region are attracting international attention for their expressive tastes. The route is charming interspersed with tiny villages and nature reserves.
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