South African Wine Regions

Friday, April 27th, 2007 at 12:00 am

South Africa vineyardConstantia – This is a historical region located in the southern suburbs of Cape Town, the area where the first vineyards in South Africa were planted. This area is famed for its fine wine production. Most of the vineyards in Constancia are beautifully situated on the slopes of Constantia Mountain, where the grown grapes are cooled by the sea breezes. Notable among the wines coming from the region is the aptly called Constancia, a dessert wine made from the Muscat de Frontignan grapes.

Paarl – Paarl is a well known wine region located north-west of Cape Town and probably one of South Africa’s leading wine producers known both locally as well as internationally. This wine region is the home to several of the country’s leading wine producers- Veenwouden, Nederburg, Fairview, Glen Carlou and Plaisir de Merle. Paarl is known more as a white wine region but is slowly trying to establish wineries that also focus on the reds. Paarl enjoys a climate that is hotter than Stellenbosch, so the very best wines from this area are produced in the more elevated vineyards.

Stellenbosch – This is South Africa’s leading wine area. It is also home to many of the country’s leading wine estates. Stellenbosch has over three centuries of colorful wine history has made it the location of the finest in what South Africa has to give. In fact, wines from this region has been able to garner a number of awards both locally and internationally.

Franschoek – Although Franschoek valley is small in terms of total area, it is still considered as a significant wine region in South Africa. Located inland just west of Stellenbosch, Franschoek is surrounded by the the imposing Drakenstein mountains and is blessed with the wide variety of soils that offer diversity in terms of wines. It also enjoys a relatively high rainfall that further allows this region to come up with a wide variety of wine styles.

Robertson – Some 120 km east of Cape Town, next door to Worcester, this hot region is best known for its production of whites that have been the recipient of numerous awards both inside and outside of the country. Famous wine cellars found in the Robertson area include Graham Beck, Springfield, Bon Cap and Majors Hill. There is also a number of small boutique wineries as Rosendal and Fraaii Uitzicht.

Swartland – Swartland is a large region to the north of Cape Town which is relatively new as a viticultural area. Rainfall is light, so irrigation is usually needed. The cooperatives dominate. Grapes in the region are grown under dry land conditions, and can thrive with or without minimal irrigation. And because of this ideal condition for growing grapes, the wines coming from this region are of an extraordinary quality and very much in demand.