South Africa is a world renowned wine-producing country, with a long history of winemaking that dates back over three centuries. From the lush vineyards of Stellenbosch, to the rugged mountains of the Swartland, South Africa boasts some of the world’s most beautiful wine regions, each with its unique terroir and winemaking style.
In 2020, South Africa produced 258.2 million litres of wine, a 9.7% decrease from the previous year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions on alcohol sales. Of this total, around 151.3 million litres were exported, with the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands being the top export destinations. The domestic market accounted for the remaining 106.9 million litres, with the majority of wine consumed in South Africa being produced domestically.
According to the South African Wine Industry Information and Systems (SAWIS), the total area under wine grape cultivation in South Africa is around 93,562 hectares, with approximately 3,338 grape growers and 534 wineries. The Western Cape region is the most significant wine-producing region in the country, accounting for around 95% of the total wine production.
South Africa’s winelands are known not only for their excellent wine production but also for their stunning scenery. The winelands region, located in the Western Cape province, is characterized by rolling hills, verdant valleys, and majestic mountains, which provide a beautiful backdrop for the vineyards and wineries that dot the landscape.
One of the most picturesque regions in the winelands is Stellenbosch, which is widely regarded as the heart of South African wine country. The town is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges, including the Simonsberg, Stellenbosch, and Helderberg mountains, which offer breath-taking views of the surrounding countryside. The vineyards in Stellenbosch are also visually stunning, with neat rows of vines stretching as far as the eye can see and changing colour with the seasons.
Another beautiful area in the winelands is Franschhoek, which is nestled in a lush valley surrounded by towering mountains. The town has a rich history, having been founded by French Huguenots in the late 17th century, still retaining much of its French charm and influence today. Visitors to Franschhoek can enjoy scenic drives through the vineyards, explore the town’s quaint streets and architecture, and take in the stunning mountain views from vantage points such as Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.
Overall, Mzanzi’s winelands offer a stunning mix of natural beauty, rich history, and excellent wine production. Visitors to the region can enjoy scenic drives, hikes, and walks, as well as wine tastings and gourmet meals at some of the country’s finest wineries and restaurants. With its stunning scenery and world-class wine production, the winelands of South Africa are a must-see destination for any wine lover or nature enthusiast.
Here are seven of the top wine destination areas in South Africa:
- Stellenbosch: Located just a short drive from Cape Town, Stellenbosch is one of South Africa’s most famous wine regions, known for producing some of the country’s most outstanding wines. The region boasts over 150 wine estates. The historic town of Stellenbosch is also home to many art galleries, restaurants, and museums, making it a must-visit destination for wine and culture lovers.
- Franschhoek: Nestled in a picturesque valley surrounded by towering mountains, Franschhoek is a wine region renowned for its award-winning wines and gourmet cuisine. The region is home to some of the country’s oldest and most historic wine estates, including La Motte, Haute Cabrière, and Grande Provence, all of which offer tours and tastings.
- Constantia: Located on the slopes of the Table Mountain range, Constantia is South Africa’s oldest wine region, with a history of winemaking that dates back to the 17th century. The region is known for its elegant white wines, including Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, as well as its sweet dessert wines, such as Vin de Constance.
- Hemel-en-Aarde Valley: Nestled between the mountains and the sea, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is a stunning wine region known for its cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The region is also home to many excellent restaurants, making it an ideal destination for food and wine lovers.
- Robertson: Located in the Breede River Valley, Robertson is a wine region known for producing excellent Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Shiraz wines. The region’s vineyards are spread over a vast area, and visitors can enjoy wine tastings, cellar tours, and picnics at many of the estates.
- Swartland: Located north of Cape Town, the Swartland is a rugged and wild wine region known for its bold and spicy red wines. The region has many small, independent wine estates producing some of the country’s most exciting and innovative wines.
- Elgin: Located in the cool-climate Elgin Valley, this wine region is renowned for its elegant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. The region’s vineyards benefit from cool breezes from the Atlantic Ocean, which help to create wines with exceptional freshness and acidity.