What are the wine regions of South Africa?

The South African wine growing area is divided into several wine Regions, each with its own particular characteristics and climate. Probably the best known of the wine regions is Stellenbosch, made famous as the Cape’s first Wine Route. Several very old wine farms are situated in this area and the winemaking tradition goes back more than three centuries.

Stellenbosch is known for great red wines as well as some very elegant and renowned whites.

It is also the home of some of the country’s biggest wine producing merchant wholesalers like Stellenbosch Farmers Winery and Distillers Corporation, both of which produce branded wines of consistent quality in vast quantities.

Paarl, next to Stellenbosch, also boasts some famous old wineries that produce excellent reds and whites. The region has become known for its annual nouveau festival where the first wines of the vintage are presented to the buyers in a day of light-hearted fun.

South Africa’s most famous wine auction, the annual Nederburg Auction, also takes place in Paarl.

Robertson, other side the Du Toitskloof Mountains, is a drier area once known for its sweeter, fortified wines and distilling wine. In recent times, however, winemakers have shown that some of the country’s finest noble reds as well as fine elegant whites can be produced in this fertile valley. We can expect great things from the Robertson and Worcester areas in the near future.

Beyond Robertson, the Little Karoo region produces good quality grapes, usually under irrigation, and is fast becoming known as the country’s best port producing region.

Franschhoek, situated high in the mountains above Stellenbosch, was settled by the French Huguenots more than two centuries ago and the French traditions are still strong in the area.

It is known for its crisp, elegant white wines, particularly those made from the Semillon grape. In recent seasons some fine reds have emerged from Franshhoek as well.

In the French style, Franschoek places great emphasis on the importance of combining food with wine and the village abounds in excellent speciality restaurants.

The Cape’s oldest wine area, Constantia has received a fresh burst of life in the recent decade or two, with farms like Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Constantia Uitsig, Steenberg and Buitenverwachting being redeveloped as show places producing consistently fine, award-winning wines.

Sauvignon Blanc seems to do particulary well in the Constantia Valley.

The West Coast is a warm and friendly region known for its sweeter wines and has several large co-operative wineries like Swartland and Vredenberg that produce consistently good wines in very large quantities.

As winemakers’ skills improve, the range of wines has grown and it is now possible to find excellent dry red wines, elegant dry whites and cheerful bubblies in the area as well.