Holidays to South Africa – visiting the celebrated wine regions – words Alan Woods
With a huge amount of culture, vibrant attractions and sightseeing opportunities, you should not forget the country’s wine regions that offer an amazing option for holidays to South Africa. With over 300 vineyards, South African wine has become famous and the country is now one of the world’s largest wine producers creating everything from Sauvignon Blanc to Pinotage.
With this many options, it can be hard to decide where to go. Here’s a quick guide to the best South African wine and the top vineyards in each region. Read on to find out about how to get the best experience of the South African wine regions.
Just a 15 minute drive from Cape Town, the Constantia Valley is an extremely popular wine route and one of the closest you’ll find to the city. Here you will find a mixture of South Africa’s oldest, well-established vineyards right alongside emerging new comers. Among the estates here are some that you may be familiar with, including Groot and Klein Costantia and Buitenverwachting.
You’ll find myriad of award winning South African wine types, miles and miles of beautiful greenbelt and plenty of fine dining to perfectly compliment your wine. There are vineyard tours and wine tastings all year around as well as plenty of music, festivals and art to enjoy.
Spend some time in the established wineries, learn about the history and what kind of work goes into making the wine. Constantia is well regarded as being the historical hub of Cape Town, with roots dating back hundreds of years with the first vines planted in the 1650s.
This small but very well-established wine region is a must visit for anyone thinking about taking a trip to South Africa. Thanks to having several varieties of soils and a relatively high rainfall, there are many different wine styles to be found here. Unlike other wine regions, Franschhoek has kept its French Huguenot character and is dubbed as the ‘culinary capital’ of the Cape.
You’ll find many old buildings, elaborate restaurants and small producers emerging here giving you a real taste of the traditional South Africa. With a very boutique feeling within this region, it provides the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Make sure to try the South African Cabernet Sauvignon while you’re here as it gives a delightful flavour of black pepper, blackberry and plum creating a very savory wine without the grit of a French Bordeaux Superieur. Pay a visit to the Franschhoek Kitchen as well, which offers simple, delicious bistro dishes using seasonal, locally sourced products.
Babylonstoren Wine Estate is another very popular option, featuring a stunning five star farm hotel complete with sprawling gardens and an exquisite restaurant which serves food fresh from the garden. If you’re lucky enough to be in this region during December then you’ll be treated to the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne festival. This extraordinary event provides you with the country’s best offerings of foods and wines, perfect for enjoying the best of culinary South Africa in one place.
As South Africa’s leading wine area, Stellenbosch is an area that’s home to a many award-winning estates. Vineyards are fringed by the Drakenstein Mountains and provide stunning views along the entire wine route. Thanks to the granite-based soils in the east, this is a great spot to find fine red wines, while the west of Stellenbosch has sandstone soils that offer the perfect climate for white wines to grow in.
You’ll find the most famous international names in this region, including Kanonkop, Meerlust, Rustenberg, Thelema and Warwick. This is a region that’s relatively large and is therefore broken down into separate wards within the districts. – Jonkershoek Valley, Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Bottelary, Devon Valley and Papegaaiberg. All these regions provide a unique, interesting and enjoyable wine tour.
Due to the varied geography in this area you’ll find an incredible range of wines here. The Syrah in this region is known for providing a unique, savoury taste and is produced by a number of award winning estates. Interestingly, Stellenbosh University is the only place in South Africa where you can study and achieve a degree in viticulture and oenology and has many of the country’s most successful winemakers as alumni.
One of our most recommended tours is to the Waterford Wine Estate, where you can enjoy a day of not just wine tasting, but chocolate as well! This truly unique tasting experience makes this a must-visit destination for wine connoisseurs and food lovers alike. The wines and chocolates are paired beautifully together to create a taste sensation that will leave you wanting more.
The regions listed above are arguably the most popular wine locations in South Africa, but they are by no means the only places worth visiting. Tours are also available to some of the less well-known winelands around Cape Town:
- Overberg Wine Route – with legendary wines crafted within this cool, maritime climate, this is a popular destination for many wine lovers. Set between the rugged mountains and the peaceful sea, expect staggering views in every direction.
- Wellington Wine Route – taking in 21 different wineries, this route really gives you a full sampling of South Africa’s different wines. You’ll find some of the most popular export wines on this tour, allowing you to enjoy your favourites at source.
- Worcester Wine Route – more than just wine, the Worcester route also takes in a number of olive estates creating the perfect tour for true food lovers.
- Tulbagh Wine Route – this award winning valley is the perfect destination to enjoy a wide range of wine from estates and private cellars alike. Unlike other areas Tulbagh has thrown off traditional winemaking for an innovative approach, including night harvesting, which gives the wine a very unique taste.
Don’t just read about it, why not visit South Africa’s wine regions for yourself? There are some great holiday packages in South Africa available, so why not start planning your dream holidays to South Africa now?