Why travel the Winelands of South Africa

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Episode 4

The Cape Winelands are a region in the south of South Africa. The winelands boasts some of the most majestic scenery in South Africa. It is situated to the north-east of Cape Town and offers a beautiful landscape of wine hills and mountains. s

Location of the South African Winelands

In the Western Cape, just a half hour's drive from Cape Town, is one of the most celebrated wine-producing regions in the world. Geographically, the Western Cape Winelands are made up of three valleys, and the respective towns they are named after: Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschoek. The area's fertile soil combined with a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and rainy, cool winters, as well as the hilly terrain, make ideal conditions for viticulture.


The town of Stellenbosch is the epicenter of the region and, after Cape Town, is the second oldest European settlement in Africa, having been founded in 1679 as a supplier of agricultural produce and wine to the ships that would call on the Cape on their way to and from the East Indies.

Stellenbosch is a charming and vibrant university town with beautiful Georgian and Victorian architecure. The excellent Village Museum, which occupies a whole town block, allows the visitor to experience the Cape Dutch way of life through an architectural tour of houses that date from the 1700s to the mid-19th century.

Getting Around the Wineries

However, the main attraction in this region are, of course, the dozens of wineries that surround Stellenbosch for several miles in all directions. Here a rental car is advisable and, of course, a map of the several wine routes is essential. There are over 140 wineries divided according to their grape varieties and locations spread out over 5 main routes.

Variety of Wineries to Visit

Throughout the region the wineries are consistently well-marked. There is a wide variety of wineries - ranging from sparkling wines found, for example, at JC Roux, to the famous and picturesque Vergalagen estate with it's signature Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as several other types of red and white wine.

Many of the wineries offer tours, and all of them, of course, offer tasting menus and there are ample opportunities to purchase wine directly from the source.

An excellent resource for planning your trip is the website www.wineroute.co.za, which offers profiles of dozens of wineries, and an exhaustive amount of information on the wine varieties in the region and an overview of the area's wine industry.

And those are a few tips for visiting the Winelands of South Africa. To learn more, please visit About.com.