The Waterfords estate, in the heart of the Stellenbosch wine region.
The world is finally waking up to what South Africans have always known. The wines and wine growing areas of the Cape are world class.
The buzz that the growth of the South African wine industry is making can be heard all over the world, but no where louder than at home.
While all the hoopla about full-bodied reds and crisp sparking white wines of South Africa may be relatively recent, the roots of the country's wine industry actually date back to the 17th century. That's when Dutch traders first began planting the first vines around what is now Cape Town.
The dry African heat and cool Atlantic ocean breezes were the perfect combination for growing wine, and decades later the first wine estate, Groot Constantia, was established.
Today, the Constantia Valley wine route is made up of eight winery estates easily accessible within a 20-minute drive outside of Cape Town. In addition to a visit to South Africa's first historic winery, others along the way include Buitenverwachting, Constantia Glen, Constantia Uitsig, Eagles Nest, High Constantia, Klein Constantia and Steenberg.
The Stellenbosch district, the country's second oldest wine region, is famous for its red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage and Shiraz grapes.
Located minutes outside of Cape Town is
oldest established winery, historic Groot Constantia.
Other notable wine regions include the Franschhoek Valley, (Dutch for "French corner"), which was established by early French settlers in the present-day Western Cape province.
Today, Franschhoek is considered South Africa's "food and wine capital",
While traveling the Franschhoek Valley wine route be prepared for breathtaking scenery -- as well as an unforgettable culinary experience -- with visits to more than 40 wineries and some 30 restaurants along the way.
One of the most recently touted regions in the country is cool climate Overberg, famous for plantings of Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Sauvignon blanc. Located about 60 minutes from Cape Town, in the southernmost region of Africa, the Overberg wine route provides a hip, off-the-beaten track experience for those who want to see what all the fuss is about!
More about South African wine around the Web:
Wines of South Africa - WOSA represents the South African
wine exporters and the site has an incredible amount of very well
written information on the history, climate, viticulture, types
of wines produced, statistics and more. An excellent site for
reading and for factual information. Great combo.
Mag South Africa - Check out plenty
of reviews of wineries, wines and restaurants. Be sure to click on the wineries section of
the menu. The map lists every wine route and seemingly every winery
complete with ratings.
African Wine - Here's another good source of information, this
site is filled with articles on the wine regions and events on
the Cape and in other wine routes. Reviews of labels and vintages
are very pro home based industry, and the excitement of the emergence
of South African wines onto the global scene is very evident.