Cape Winelands in Style

The Cape, we think, boasts the most beautiful landscapes of all the wine-producing regions in the world. The Cape winelands have gentle hills and sea views in Constantia and Durbanville and great mountain peaks dominating Stellenbosch and Paarl.

©David Rogers
Mountains, vineyards, whitewashed farm buildings, food and wine conspire to woo visitors to the Cape Winelands.

They stretch from Elgin’s timberline near the coast to the rugged scrub of the interior around Robertson. And they encompass widely differing valleys: lush and green Franschhoek; extreme Tulbagh, with its summer heat and winter snow; the beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde, where vines share space with fragrant fynbos. 

Winemaking has been a colourful thread in the fabric of local life since the first Dutch settlers arrived in Table Bay in 1652. On 2 February 1669, Cape Commander Jan van Riebeeck recorded in his journal:

'Today, God be praised, wine has been pressed for the first time from the grapes of the Cape'. Some 370 years later, wine farms celebrate this proud tradition. We introduce a special selection of them here.

Power and Elegance

©David Rogers
South African wines offer power and elegance, presented with modern sophistication backed by centuries of tradition.

More than in any other leading New World wine-producing country - Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Argentina or Chile - winemaking in South Africa has been strongly influenced by the culture of the Old World.

Historically, the classic grape varieties and wine styles of France and Germany held sway. But in recent decades South African wine has begun to establish its own distinctive identity, keeping pace with the country's acquisition of political independence and the deregulation of international trade and industry.

Well-qualified, widely travelled viticulturists and winemakers are embracing the Cape's Mediterranean climate. They're exploring new areas, identifying the finest viticultural soils and coolest slopes, and planting the varieties that do best.

They're combining simple, hands-on, age-old winemaking ways with ultra-sophisticated technological aids, and they're following sustainable farming principles in vineyards and wineries through active environmental conservation and the social upliftment of farmworkers and their communities.

The result? Wines of top quality that straddle the New and Old Worlds: naturally fruit-rich and powerful, but nurtured with elegance and classicism in mind.

More Than Just Wine

©David Rogers
The world of Cape wine is intertwined with food, whether fine dining or rustic fare.

The Cape’s return to the global wine stage has not only brought its wines international accolades, but also inspired its vintners to embrace wine tourism, combining sophistication with warm country hospitality. Visit beautifully restored Cape Dutch manor houses and see cellars that are centuries old or avant-garde architectural masterpieces. 

Taste world-class wine in the chic glass-walled space overlooking a hi-tech production facility or by candlelight over a simple wooden barrel. Eat at the tables of acclaimed chefs or picnic under camphor trees. 

Stay in a luxuriously restored 18th-century Cape Dutch manor house and appreciate art among the vines or receive a grape-skin spa treatment.

Watch a bride arrive to say her vows in a converted cellar chapel; or hike a pristine patch of fynbos bordering vineyards. A glass of wine is simply the start of a varied and wonderful journey.

By Wendy Toerien

Winelands of Constantia and Durbanville

The winelands of Constantia and Durbanville share more than just their conveniently close proximity to Cape Town. Their elegant, fruit-rich ...more

Winelands of Stellenbosch North

Stellenbosch is arguably the wine capital of South Africa. Winemaking dates back to its settlement in the 17th century and remains the lifeb...more

Winelands of Stellenbosch South

The southern part of the Stellenbosch winelands is dominated by the Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountains and, further south, by the magnif...more

Winelands of Paarl

The Paarl winelands border Stellenbosch to the north and northeast, opening up into a broad valley with granite outcrops of Paarl Mountain a...more

Winelands of Franschhoek

This mountain-ringed valley’s celebrated French character comes from the Huguenots, refugee French Protestants who settled here during the...more

Winelands of Overberg

Across the Hottentots Holland Mountains range over Sir Lowry’s Pass lies the Winelands of Overberg a high, rocky plateau where timber plan...more

Winelands of Robertson and Tulbagh

Head across the magnificent Du Toitskloof Mountains and the vine-clad expanse of the Breede River Valley onto Route 62 , and you’ll experi...more