Over the last few years, Cape Town’s Winelands have been attracting a fair bit of attention. Quite impressively, the South African wine industry produces 1,000,000,000 litres of wine annually and is becoming known for its great value products at all levels of the quality scale. Wine connoisseurs from around the globe are flocking to South Africa’s Western Cape on the promise of fantastic wines and world-class food.
To guarantee you make the most of your trip, here is a list of the Top 5 Wine Regions close to Cape Town that are causing quite a stir.
1 – CONSTANTIA
This is the most historical of the wine regions and is located in the affluent southern suburbs of Cape Town, just 15km from the CBD. The first vineyards ever planted in South Africa were planted in this beautiful district on the slopes of Constantia Mountain. Although only home to five wine estates, they are some of the best. They include; Klein Constantia, Steenberg, Groot Constantia, Buitervenwachting and Constantia Uitsig. The fine wine of the area has attracted top restaurateurs and high profile public figures such as Earl Spencer and Mark Thatcher, Margaret’s son.
2 – STELLENBOSCH
Stellenbosch is the second oldest wine region in South Africa and was planted way back in 1679. The town is located just 45km east of Cape Town and is surrounded by the picturesque Stellenbosch Mountains. The region is held in particularly high regard for their Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Pinotage – which was created in 1925 by the first ever Professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University. The Stellenbosch Wine Route was established here in 1971 and has since become a world-renowned tourist destination for both wine aficionados and those who just enjoy a casual tipple.
3 – FRANSCHOEK
Franschoek is located in South Africa’s West Cape Province just 75km from Cape Town and is one of the oldest towns in the Republic of South Africa. The small town is situated inland from Stellenbosch and is surrounded by the imposing and creepy sounding, Drakenstein Mountains. The mineral rich soil and relatively high rainfall in the area permits production of a wide variety of wines. Franschoek is a foodie’s paradise and its high concentration of quality restaurants has seen it labelled the “Gourmet Capital of the Winelands”.
4 – PAARL
This well-known area to the north west of Cape Town is home to several leading wine producers including Veenwouden, Nederburg, Fairview, Glen Carlou and Plaisir de Merle. Although traditionally a white wine region, growers in the area have recently been experimenting with red varieties and enjoying great success. Paarl is considerably hotter than Stellenbosch which means that the better products are hailing from the more elevated vineyards. The name Paarl may ring a bell with visitors, as it was where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for the final three years of his 27-year prison sentence.
5 – WALKER BAY
Although not firmly established just yet – this area is the newest kid on the wine-producing block. Located on the picturesque Whale Coast, south of Cape Town, Walker Bay’s cool climate attracts producers of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. The region is most famous for offering the best land-based opportunities for whale-watching but this could all be about to change if the area’s winery owners have anything to do with it.
By Amy Baker
Amy Baker is a travel and music writer from London. She’s been lucky enough to have travelled far and wide but is always on the lookout for her next adventure. She is currently a freelance writer for My Destination Cape Town. Image by mwiththeat