Tasting OnMyWay has recently uploaded a significant batch of producers that offer tasting or tours in South Africa – 350+ producers. Wine is dominating but there are beer, cheese, chocolate and of course a wide variety of spirits to discover. This article will focus on the South African wine producers.
South Africa is considered a new world wine country, but the winemaking tradition dates back over 350 years, when the first grapes were pressed and South Africa’s wine story began. Today South Africa exports around 450 million litres of wine and there are over 100,000 hectares of vineyard in South Africa. South Africa is the 9th largest producer of wine in the world with Chenin Blanc being the most widely planted variety.
Figures and graphics from WOSA (Wines of South Africa)
The Cape winelands stretch from the rugged mountains and multi-directional slopes of the coastal region to the open plains of the Klein Karoo where viticulture takes place mainly in the riverine valleys. South Africa’s vineyards are mostly situated in the Western Cape near the coast. Rainfall on the coastal side, where fynbos and renosterveld vegetation flourish, measures up to 1 000 mm per year. Travel over the mountains into the hinterland and the rainfall decreases dramatically with the vegetation dominated by hardy succulents, cycads and aloes.
Currently around 99 680 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 Cape winelands are divided into officially demarcated regions, districts and wards. There are six regions in the geographical unit of the Western Cape – Breede River Valley, Cape South Coast, Coastal Region, Klein Karoo, Olifants River and Boberg (for use in respect of fortified wines from Paarl, Franschhoek, Wellington and Tulbagh), which encompass 26 diverse districts and some 67 smaller wards. Another four geographical units exist: KwaZulu-Natal; Northern Cape (which includes the production areas Hartswater (ward), Douglas (district), Central Orange River (ward), Rietrivier FS (ward) and Sutherland Karoo (district)); Eastern Cape, which includes the production area St Francis Bay (ward)and Limpopo.
The growing wine industry with a very open minded approach to visitors from South Africa and all around the world is an ideal partner to further grow South Africa as a tourist and travel destination. They are building visitor centres, tasting rooms, restaurants and offer tours of the facilities or access to their vineyards and gardens and make sure visitors get the best out of their trip to see and experience their produce and services. The wine lands of South Africa are some of the most breathtakingly beautiful in the world. Many of the South African wine routes are within an hour or less easy driving distance from Cape Town.
Keep on tasting. Your Tasting OnMyWay team!