South African Wine Routes

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Around Cape Town, from Wine Estate to Wine Estate

Villiera specialises in Cap Classique and has a strong reputation for Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tokara wine estate is also an olive farm. The estate has on the premises a restaurant, a fine art gallery and a delicatessen. The Tokara Director’s Reserve White is among the Cape’s finest white blends.

Delaire Graff wine estate has on the premises guest cottages, two restaurants, a spa, clothing boutique, and a diamond shop. As for wines, they specialise in Bordeaux varieties and make a Bordeaux Blend with Shiraz called Botmaskop, as well as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cape Vintage fortified wine.

Neethlingshof produces a range of premium red and white varietals, including their flagship Short Story Collection, and has two restaurants.

Zevenwacht offers accommodation, dining, conferencing, and, of course superb wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Spier wine estate has picnic facilities, a farm-to-table restaurant, a village-style hotel and horse riding. Their flagship wines include the Frans K Smit blend, composed predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz; 21 Gables Chenin Blanc; and 21 Gables Pinotage.

Waterford winery is styled to resemble the classic Bordeaux chateaus of France. Among other attraction, they offer Wine and Chocolate tasting, Reserve Vintage tasting, and a safari-type Waterford Estate Wine Drive.

Vergelegen (“Situated far away”) is famous for its red and white wines and for its themed gardens. Several majestic 300 year old camphor trees grow on the estate.

Other Stellenbosch area wine estates include: Asara, Avontuur, Delaire, House of JC Le Roux, Kaapzicht, Lanzerac, Meerlust, Rustenberg, Rust en Vrede, Simonsig, Zorgvliet, to name just a few.

Cape Point Wine Route

Cape Point became a wine district only in 1998, so the Cape Point Vineyards are still relatively new on the tourist itinerary, but their young wines have already received awards both at home and overseas.

Focused mainly on white wines (Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon), Cape Point is set to diversify into reds as well, as some red wine vineyards have been planted recently. Noordhoek and Scarborough are the estates to visit in this region.

And there you are – having started from Constantia, you have practically made a circle around Cape Town, hopping from wine route to wine route, from wine estate to wine estate. With some planning, you’d be able to make it without interruption, staying overnight at wine estates that offer accommodation, or at nearby towns.

Once you have completed the wine circle around Cape Town, you’ll probably want to venture further south-east, into Cape South Coast and Klein Karoo, or north-west to Olifants River, or... (see the full list of South African wine routes and Wine of Origin production areas).

All in the noble quest of getting acquainted with the delectable South African wines. Cheers!

 

 
South Africa’s wine tourism received special recognition in 2012. The International Wine Review rated it as the best in the world, and the US Weather Channel ranked the Cape Winelands second only to Spain’s Andalucía in its annual list of the World’s Top Ten Wine Trails.

The majority of South African wine estates grow grapes, ferment, blend and bottle own signature wine and provide additional facilities: wine tasting tours, restaurants, picnics, hotel accommodation, horse-riding, and so on. As a rule, South African wineries produce a gamut of wines, both whites and reds, as opposed to specialising in one or two varieties.

There are approximately 800 to 1000 wine estates in South Africa. Most of them are situated near the coast, along the Western and Southern Cape. There are thirteen main wine routes across the area, with numerous sub-routes.

When visiting Cape Town, a day or half-day long visit to one or more wine estates is de rigueur. You may book a wine route with an agency (you can do that easily from most hotels), or you may take off on your own. If you opt for the latter, it is advisable to call in advance, because some estates offer tastings and tours only by prior arrangement.

It is practically impossible to make a wrong decision. Whichever route you choose, you will be rewarded with delectable wines and breath-taking scenery.

Here is a selection of wine routes and estates that are within easy reach of Cape Town.

The Constantia Valley Wine Route

About twenty minutes from the centre of Cape Town, the Constantia Valley Wine Route is the oldest wine-growing area in Southern Africa. Constantia’s whites are famous, namely Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. This is also the home of the well-known sweet white wine, Vin de Constance.

Groot Constantia (“Big Constantia”), one of the wine estates in this area, is both a fully operational farm and a national monument, with one of the finest examples of Cape Dutch architecture. 

 

The Paarl Wine Route

Comprising of over thirty wine estates, some with excellent restaurants, this warm area in Paarl is known for red wines, especially Shiraz. That is why this route is called the Red Route.

Nederburg estate produces its flagship wines in small quantities. Luckily, they make more of their – also excellent - table wines.

Boland Kelder (“Boland Cellar”) is famous for its Sixty.40 blends, including a Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc blend, a Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz blend, and a Rose.

Some of the other Paarl route wine estates include Avondale, Backsberg Estate, Glen Carlou, Fearview, Nelsons Creek Wine Estate, Perdeberg Co-op, Simonsvlei, etc.

The Franschhoek Wine Route

Franschhoek (“French corner”) has about fifty farms, best known for Cabernet Sauvignon and Sémillon.

Boschendal (“Wood and Dale”) is considered by many as South Africa’s most beautiful wine estate. Boschendal has three restaurants and exquisite wines. The Boschendal vineyards include substantial plantings of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, together with recent plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz.

La Petit Ferme is one of the more intimate wineries and takes pride in delicately hand-crafting its wines.

La Motte offers excellent wines (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cap Classique, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz), as well as several restaurants, a farm shop, museum, historic walks, hiking trails, and classical music concerts.

Among Franschhoek wine estates are Allèe Bleue, Boekenhoutskloof, Jordan, Vrede en Lust, Val de Vie Wines, Rickety Bridge Winery, Mont Rochelle, La Petite Dauphine, and so on. Many of them offer accommodation.

The Stellenbosch Wine Routes

Stellenbosch Wine Route was the first wine route to be formed in South Africa, in 1971. This area is famous for Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet based red blends. It also produces quality Chardonnay, Shiraz, Pinotage, Sauvignon Blancs and sparkling wines.

 
 

Buitenverwachting (“Beyond Expectations”) produces notable white and red wines and boasts an exquisite restaurant.

Some of the other wine estates on this route are Klein Constantia, Constantia Glen, Eagles Nest, and Steenberg.

The Durbanville Wine Route

Situated 20 kilometres north of Cape Town, Durbanville is one of the coolest wine-growing regions in South Africa.

Durbanville wines are usually intense and fruity and the region has a reputation for Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Some of the wine producers from this region are De Grendel, Klein Robertson, Nitida and Meerendal.

 There are so many wine estates in the Stellenbosch region (about 300) that this wine route has to be divided into sub routes of Greater Simonsberg, Stellenbosch Berg, Helderberg, Stellenbosch Valley, Bottelary Hills and Helderberg (different classifications are possible).

Some of the many excellent wine estates to be found on the Stelenbosch wine route and sub routes include:

Hartenberg estate, like many others in this region (and indeed in SA) is the proud recipient of a very long list of national and international awards. Their key red wines are Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage, while their white wines include Chardonnay, Weisser (Rhine) Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.

 

 

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