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South Africa's Cape Winelands is an absolute paradise. Travelers and wine lovers should visit to explore, sip, and learn about the history of wine in the region.
Travel just under an hour out of Cape Town, and you'll find yourself surrounded by stunning scenery and vast vineyards in South Africa's Cape Winelands district. Spending a day exploring the Cape Winelands on your visit to Cape Town is essential. The area is known for its rich history, exceptional scenery, and superb wines. The winemaking tradition in the area goes back over 300 years and is world-renown. Travelers can visit the Rustenberg Estate, where wines have been bottled for an unbroken period since 1682!
With a climate similar to the Mediterranean in Europe, the Cape region is ideal for wine production. Within the region, you'll find the valleys of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, two world-class areas for wine production. Beyond the delectable wines, you’re sure to find the Cape Winelands a scenic wonder.
Perhaps the most famous wine-producing region in South Africa is Stellenbosch; a charming, Dutch-influenced countryside region is famous for its mesmerizing hills and mountains. The region and town (also called Stellenbosch) are located on the Eerste River. Stellenbosch region, in particular, produces some of the most renowned wines in the world, including South Africa’s signature variety, Pinotage (PIN-ə-tahzh). A cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut grapes, Pinotage is notable for its rich, earthy flavors. The unique Pinotage is delightful to the palate, with distinct notes of red fruit, and sometimes even wild berry and banana. Stellenbach is also known for doing Bordeaux-style wines, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot as two of the most planted grapes.
The town of Stellenbosch, in the Western Cape's Coastal Region, is South Africa’s second-oldest settlement, after Cape Town, and is home to the country’s best-known wine estates. The wonderful Waterford Wine Estate among them. The town itself features many historical buildings in the Victorian, neo-Dutch, and Georgian architectural style, dating back hundreds of years. Home of the prestigious Stellenbosch University, much of South Africa’s viticultural research takes place in this region. Before you leave, we highly recommend that you enjoy a tasty lunch in one of Stellenbosch’s acclaimed restaurants.
Perhaps you’ll sojourn to the Franschhoek Valley, the ‘food and wine capital’ of South Africa! As you make your way into the valley, you’ll notice that most of the farms still bear their original French names, some complete with a spectacular Cape Dutch homestead, towering oaks, and rolling vineyards. Franschhoek has grown to include terrific places to wine and dine while still maintaining all of its charms from the days when it was known as le Coin Francais (the French Corner), and has become one of the most sought-after places to visit in the country.
The fertile Franschhoek Wine Valley is home to some of South Africa’s noble cultivars and classic styles. These range from superb whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, and Chenin Blanc, to the full-bodied reds of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, and Merlot. The area also produces some of the country’s extraordinary Méthode Cap Classiques.
Find hidden gems, uncover local secrets, hear the stories best told by the locals and travelers in the know, and discover more than simply good wineAll South Africa Trips
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