Currently around 101 325 hectares of vines producing wine grapes are under cultivation over an area some 800 km in length. Under the auspices of the Wine of Origin Scheme, production zones in the
WINE OF ORIGIN PRODUCTION AREAS
List of production areas defined in terms of the Wine of Origin Scheme
The Breedekloof district is characterised by vineyards which flourish on alluvial valley soils with adequate drainage as they rest on a bed of river stones. It covers a large proportion of the
Most of these maritime vineyards are situated in the ward of Elim near Africa’s southernmost point,
These maritime vineyards, some of them a mere kilometre from the sea, are situated on the western fringe of the narrow
On the southern slopes of the
There are only a handful of cellars in this premier ward, where the cool climate favours the production of white wines, notably Sauvignon Blanc, and where the tradition of producing remarkable wines since 1685 continues.
Darling, with its own wine route and several tourist attractions, is just an hour’s drive away from
The vineyards of Durbanville, like those of Constantia, lie very close to
The district of Franschhoek, the ‘gourmet capital’ of the
This semi-arid, elongated region stretches from Montagu, via higher-lying Barrydale towards Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn and the Langkloof. It’s known for relative extremes when it comes to soils and climate. Viticulture takes place mainly in kloofs, valleys and riverine sites in a rugged mountainous landscape.
Calitzdorp is famous for its port-style wines and here you’ll find plantings of Tinta Barocca, Touriga Nacional and, on a small scale, Souzao. More recently, red wines made from the varieties typically used to make port are creating new interest here. The Klein Karoo is renowned for the quality of its pot still brandies which have brought home international accolades.
The most recently proclaimed wards in the region are Langeberg-Garcia – situated north of the Langeberg mountain range between the
This geographical unit stretches from Greytown to Oribi Flats and the Midlands, where altitudes are up to 1 500 metres, in the
The most northerly winegrowing area in the Cape, it’s also the fourth largest, totalling in excess of 17 000 hectares, which stretch in close proximity to the
Large trellising systems are employed in this region of which the hut, gable and T-trellises are the most in use. These create special microclimates which protect the grapes, allowing them to ripen away from exposure to the direct rays of the sun. Specific mesoclimates are created within vineyards located on the islands between the different streams of the
The styles of wine produced by the various wineries along the 350 km stretch of river differ singularly in style and flavour from the eastern to the western wineries. The soil types also vary greatly. The wines of the more eastern cellars are characterised by higher natural acids and lower pH readings, resulting in quite delicate sensory profiles.
This region stretches in a belt from north to south along the broad valley of the
The predominantly citrus-producing Citrusdal valley lies in the southern reaches of the
Some exciting wines are emanating from the cooler, high-altitude vineyards of the stand-alone Cederberg ward which borders on the
Newer viticultural areas have opened up in the southerly Overberg district. The high-lying
About 50 km from
The Paarl district includes the wards of
Some of the
A newer ward north of Durbanville,
The first vines were planted in 2000 in this pioneering district, the newest and furthest appellation up the east coast, in mountainous terrain some 20km east of
Dubbed the ‘valley of vines and roses’, the Robertson district’s lime-rich soils make the area eminently suitable for racehorse stud farming and also, of course, winegrowing. Situated in the
Robertson is renowned for the quality of its wines and while traditionally considered white wine territory and known mainly for its Chardonnays and more recently for the quality of its Sauvignon Blanc, it is also the source of some of the Cape’s finest red wines, particularly Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, while the distinctive fortified dessert wines for which it was originally famed continue to be produced. The district of Robertson incorporates several wards, including Bonnievale.
The historical town of Stellenbosch, which features some of the finest examples of Cape Dutch architecture, boasts a winemaking tradition which stretches back to the end of the 17th-century. The mountainous terrain, good rainfall, deep well-drained soils and diversity of terroirs make this a sought-after viticultural area. The rapidly increasing number of wine estates and producers (in excess of 160) includes some of the most famous names in
Stellenbosch, the ‘town of oaks’, is also the educational and research centre of the winelands.
The intensively farmed Stellenbosch district has been divided up into several smaller viticultural pockets including Banghoek, Bottelary,
Traditionally a grain-producing area, in summer the Swartland district is marked by green pockets of vineyards clambering up the foothills of the mountains (Piketberg,
The Swartland literally translated means ‘the black land’ and the area takes its name from the indigenous renosterbos (rhino bush) which still turns the landscape a dark colour at certain times of the year. The district was traditionally a source of robust, full-bodied red wines and high quality, fortified wines.
In recent times, some exciting award-winning wines have emerged, both red and white, and the area continues to produce top port-style wines. Increasing percentages of Pinotage,
Surrounded on three sides by the Groot Winterhoek, Witsenberg and Obiekwaberg mountains, the vineyards of the Tulbagh district grow alongside orchards and fields of wheat. Soils in the valley are extremely variable. The area is characterised by extreme differences in day and night temperatures. Mountainous terrain creates numerous different mesoclimates which can be used to great advantage.
Unique to the valley’s geographical composition is the ‘cold trap’, a phenomenon which occurs as a result of the encapsulating mountains, shaped like a horseshoe, with Tulbagh situated at the north of the ‘bowl’. Within this bowl, once a prehistoric lake, the cold air of the previous night lies undisturbed. With no air movement from the sides, this cold bubble is trapped under the warming air above as the sun makes its way from east to west. The result is relatively cool average daily temperatures.
The town of
This district, surrounding the seaside town of
Both the Groenlandberg and Kogelberg reserves with their wealth of indigenous flora and fauna lie within this area, which also boasts some of the best land-based whale watching in the world in season (June to November).