are most commonly encountered in the Western Cape of South Africa, set amongst beautiful landscapes reminiscent of the prettier parts of France and Northern California.
Wine has been produced in this area for almost four hundred years, when supply stations were first established on the Cape to provision ships sailing around the Cape of Good Hope. They were pioneered largely by French Huguenot settlers, whose residual influence on the region is still very strong.
Although wine is produced over a much broader area, this region of absolutely beautiful agricultural valleys to the northeast of Cape Town
is the real heart of the winelands.
The original old vineyards of the Constantia area just to the southeast of town can easily be visited for a couple of hours, for lunch or an evening meal.
The main winelands, which lie further inland, can be visited on a day trip from Cape Town
, but we generally recommend staying out here for at least one night, longer if you are genuinely interested in fine food and wines.
The village of Franschhoek
is by far the prettiest area, is very much the gourmet capital of the country and has an excellent range of high quality wineland and village accommodations.
The elegant and historic town of Stellenbosch
is the region's capital and contains a good range of accommodation for those in search of an in-town base from which to explore.
The towns of Paarl
are pleasant but less alluring, although lodges here are often rather lower priced.
There are more winelands further to the east, notably in the McGregor
areas, with the wines generally getting redder and heavier as one travels in that direction, ultimately ending up at the port producing centre of Calitzdorp
Drier white are produced in a number of much younger wineries along the Whale Coast
Many of the wineries of the region are open to the public for tastings and many have fine dining restaurants as well, so touring the vineyards is very much an option.
If you are really into your wine and want to put together a proper specialist trip, then please do get in touch, between us we know lots of special little places where you can get beyond the usual commercial operations.