Experience the beauty and bounty of South Africa's winelands.
Whether you come for the renowned wines, stunning rolling hills and quaint country villages, or the opportunity to uncover hidden gems and surprises, there is something for everyone in the picturesque settings of South Africa’s winelands region. The main regions in South Africa’s winelands are Constantia, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Worcester.
The South African winelands offer some of the finest wines in the world and there are many opportunities to explore them. The region is home to dozens of wineries offering wine tastings, vineyard tours and other activities. Take the time to learn about local grape varieties and how the wines are produced and you’ll gain a greater appreciation as you sip glass after glass.
The South African winelands are home to several iconic grape varieties, most notably Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage. Each has its own flavor profile and brings something unique to the table. If you’re feeling adventurous, venture beyond the classic varietals and explore lesser-known grape types like Palomino or Roussanne; you may find a new favorite! In addition to winery tours and tastings, some wineries also provide seminars that discuss wine production techniques as well as sensory (taste/smell/mouth-feel) training. Don’t miss out on these informative experiences as they can teach a lot about what goes into creating the perfect glass of wine and leave you ahead of the rest of the table at your next dinner party.
The history of South Africa’s winelands
The winelands of South Africa are situated in the beautiful Western Cape and have been a source of local pride for centuries. The region is brimming with a rich history and thriving winemaking culture that dates back to 1659 when it was first established by Dutch settlers. For many years, these lands have been known for their lush soil, unique microclimates, and abundant grape harvests. Today, the area continues to be celebrated for its award-winning wine production as well as its spectacular scenery and fantastic hospitality.
South Africa’s winelands region stretches from the coastal mountain ranges all the way to the interior Karoo area and is home to just over 200 wine estates. Here, some of South Africa’s most iconic brands are crafted including Nederburg, Ernie Els Wines, KWV, Vergelegen Estate and Rust en Vrede Winery. Many of these estates have storied histories that date back centuries, offering evidence of South Africa’s commitment to winemaking excellence. You will be able to enjoy wonderfully diverse terroirs while sampling the country’s famous Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay varieties.
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Gastronomy in the winelands
South Africa’s winelands have a long and rich history of gastronomy, with a vast selection of wines to satisfy even the most sophisticated palates. Anchored by the distinctive Cape Malay cuisine and the vibrant flavors of South African spices, each meal promises to be a tantalizing experience – especially when paired with one of the area’s fine wines. Explore local restaurants, farms and markets where you can try all kinds of traditional dishes, as well as an array of international fare served up with a hint of African flair.
Our team is full of suggestions for the best restaurants to eat at whilst in the winelands and can help secure reservations at some of the area’s top hotels.
Whether you’re into haute cuisine or prefer more rustic fare, the winelands have something for everyone. Popular dishes include lamb bredie, a slow-cooked stew made with seasonal vegetables blended with spices; warm samosa served with chutney; and bobotie, a popular dish made with minced meat and flavoured with curry spices. Don’t forget to save room for dessert – Cape Brandy Custard is a favorite, while koeksisters are an iconic South African treat of twisted dough deep fried in hot oil. Better than it sounds, we promise!
The scenery and landscapes of the winelands
Experience a taste of South African life in the magnificent winelands. Whether you’re searching for a top-class wine tasting experience or exploring the surrounding countryside, it won’t take you long to fall in love with this part of the world. Get swept away by breathtaking landscapes, as rolling hills and lush vineyards provide an alluring backdrop – perfect for a romantic getaway or family adventure.
The South African winelands offer plenty to see and do. Stroll through charming villages, visit wine estates, sample delicious West Coast seafood, cycle or horseback ride, watch wildlife from the higher vantage points or enjoy a picnic in the vineyards. All this while taking in the breathtaking views of winding valleys, rivers and mountains that give the area its unique character. With award-winning wines to tantalize your taste buds, there’s something for everyone. So come experience the ultimate blend of rural charm and high-quality hospitality with a trip to the majestic South African winelands.
The best vineyards in South Africa’s winelands
Our team have visited the winelands many times and have sampled some of the finest South African wine. Whilst wine is a personal preference, we can offer you some of the top recommendations for the best vineyards in South Africa.
Located in Stellenbosch, the Lanzerac Wine Estate is one of South Africa’s oldest and most respected wineries. Established in 1692, it has a rich history that dates back to the country’s earliest settlers. One of the estate’s crown jewels is its much-loved Pinotage wines, first bottled in 1959 with its distinctive smoky taste. Other highlights include Waterford Estate, Spier Wine Farm and the Delaire Graff Estate.
Nearby in Franschhoek, Babylonstoren is widely regarded as one of the best vineyards in the region. Located just 40 minutes from Cape Town, visitors can sample their excellent wine, tour the massive farm and savor seasonal meals at the onsite restaurant. This historic and charming winery also dates back to the same year as Lanzerac – 1692, making it one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in the Cape Winelands. We recommend a visit to Babylonstoren’s Tasting Room for a unique experience of their great wines and a view of the vineyard’s history.
Also in Franschhoek, we would recommend Haute Cabriere which also has a fascinating history dating back to 1694 when French Huguenot Pierre Jordan was given a plot of land in the area. A lot of our clients will also opt to take the famous wine tram. The Franschhoek Wine Tram provides visitors with a unique experience to explore and savor the picturesque valleys of Franschhoek. The service utilizes its own dedicated tracks and transports guests to different wineries in easy hops on and off its tram. With multiple routes offering a variety of charming wineries, you are free to explore the wine country at your own leisurely pace. The tram ride is the perfect way for you to take in all that Franschhoek’s diverse range of wines has to offer – without the need to drive between them yourself. Allow yourself to enjoy the wines a little.