The wine-growing areas in South Africa have the typical characteristics of places that are ideal for the cultivation of wine grapes. These characteristics include mountain slopes, valleys and a climate that is a lot similar to what can be found in the Mediterranean. Those are the characteristics that are ideal for the cultivation of the wine grape which has given pleasure to humans for thousands of years now. The summers there can be long and the winters are wet and mild which further contribute to the ideal conditions for the cultivation of wine grapes.
In the last twenty years, South African wine has made a great deal of progress. The year 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of democracy in South Africa and coinciding with that is its admission into world trade after the lifting of sanctions. That was the time when the South African wine was first introduced to the many parts of the world.
In 2012, it was estimated that South Africa has more than 100,000 hectares being used for growing vines. South Africa now belongs to the ranks of the top wine producers in the world.
The Wine Growing Areas of South Africa
South Africa has 24 wine growing regions today.
Bot River – This river is known as the gateway to Walker Bay and it is home to handmade wines and is mostly known for the rustic charm that it has to offer. The soil there is mostly made up of shale and sandstone.
Breedekloof – This region is known for vineyards that rest on valley floors with adequate drainage. The Breedekloof takes up a great portion of the Breede
River Valley – There are more than twenty wineries that can be found on the Breedekloof Wine Route today.
Cape Agulhas – The vineyards in Cape Agulhas can be found in the village of Elim which is a national monument. The village was founded back in 1824.
Cape Point – The vineyards that are found in cape Point are considered to be maritime vineyards since they are found just a kilometre away from the sea. The vineyards there are known for Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
Constantia – This region is located on the southern slope of Table Mountain.
Darling – This wine region is just one hour away from Cape Town. This region is known for its high quality Sauvignon Blanc and is the nearest to the Atlantic Ocean.
Durbanville – The wine region of Durbanville is situated right next to Cape Town. Some vineyards in this region are situated 380 meters above sea level. There is a great variety when it comes to the wine produced in this area.
Elgin – The high-lying Elgin region used to be an apple growing area. Now award-winning wines are being produced there including Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Franschhoek – Located in the southeast of Paarl, Franschhoek is known as the gourmet capital of the Cape.
Karoo – When you look at Karoo on a map, you would see that it is an elongated region. The place is known for soil and climate extremes which have effects on the wine produced there.
Kwazulu-Natal – This wine region is still relatively young when compared with other wine regions, but it shows great promise.
Lower Orange – This is one of the largest wine growing regions in South Africa. It is also the most northerly of all the Cape wine growing regions.
Olifants River – This region is now known as a source of affordable but high quality wines.
Overberg – This is another wine growing region that is offering a great deal of promise.
Paarl – The Paarl win district is at the north of Stellenbosch. It is bordered by the town of bordered by the town of Wellington and mountains and ranges.
Stellenbosch – Stellenbosch is a historical town that is mountainous and receives a great deal of rainfall. It is also the research center of the winemaking in South Africa.
Philadelphia – Philadelphia benefits from the cool winds that are coming from the Atlantic and it is a new ward in Durbanville. Philadelphia is on a hilly terrain so that means that the vineyards here are higher than usual.
Plettenberg Bay – This area is known for beaches and whale watching. The soil there is rich in carbon which makes it ideal for Sauvignon Blanc.
Robertson – The Robertson wine district is known as the valley of wine and roses. It is famous for the high quality wines that it produces.
Swartland – The vineyards in Swartland climb up the foothills of the mountains in the area. The district produces full-bodied red wines.
Tulbagh – The vineyards in this district can be found side by side with fields of wheat and orchards. The main characteristic of the area is the extreme differences between daytime and night-time temperature.
Walker Bay – The quality of Pinotage coming from Walker Bay is what is being noticed right now. The cool climate there is a major contributing factor to the quality of the wines that it produces.
Worcester – Worcester is the largest wine region when it comes to area and even in volume. It accounts for almost 27% of the wine produced in South Africa and is a major hub for wine production.
Wellington – There are over 30 wine producers in Wellington. These range from large historical wineries to small boutique one
South Africa is relatively a new comer when it comes to the world market for wines. But it is fast catching up when it comes to popularity and those are the regions that are making a difference.