Exploring the Cape Winelands in South Africa

For wine lovers, the Cape Winelands is an absolute paradise.

Explore and learn about the history of wine in the region and how the unique cape climate has contributed to creating one of the world’s best winemaking regions. Beyond the delectable wines, you’re sure to find the Cape Winelands a scenic wonder.  

Exploring Stellenbosch

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.

Franschhoek Valley

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 charm 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.

Explore South Africa’s Cape Winelands and 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 wine.