The South Africa Winelands produce some of the best wines in the world and offer some of the most scenic wine routes. Travel to the South Africa Winelands with Ker & Downey to taste the world-renowned wines in complete luxury.
The South Africa Winelands have a rich history of wine production with the first local wines produced in the area dating back to 1659. Couple that history with an ideal Mediterranean climate, a mix of Indian and Atlantic Ocean air, and South African soil, and it’s easy to see why the wines have received so many accolades and awards over the years. The fertile valleys of the South Africa Winelands are world renowned for their crisp white and classic French‐style red wines.
Stretching from Cape Overberg in the Southwestern Cape into the Northern Cape, South Africa’s Winelands are vast, but extremely accessible. The heart of the wine production in South Africa lies just an hour outside of Cape Town, where the urban fabric of the city gives way to quaint villages and bucolic estates. The area is full of rustic beauty and sprawling estates. Set against the backdrop of the Hottentots Holland Mountains, the white gabled Cape Dutch homesteads and oak-lined streets make for some of the most scenic wine routes in the world.
Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl are the main wine producing regions, although smaller hubs are starting to set themselves apart. In the Stellenbosch region alone—the first wine region to establish a wine route—there are close to 200 wine and grape producers. With so many great wine estates in the region, it can be difficult to know where to start. When you travel with Ker & Downey, we’ll arrange a private tour through the South Africa Winelands based on your preferences, but here are some of our favorites.
Rust-en-Vrede is South Africa’s premium red wine estate, specializing in the production of red wine exclusively. The estate has received many honors and awards over the last 32 years for its full-bodied Cabernets, Shirazes, and Merlots. The most notable, perhaps, is when Nelson Mandela chose Rust-en-Vrede’s wines to be served at his Nobel Prize dinner. In addition, the estate’s restaurant is also consistently ranked among the top in South Africa.
Thelema Mountain Vineyards, Stellenbosch
Recently rated as one of the top 100 wine estates in the world, Thelema Mountain Vineyards is a family owned and managed wine estate set at the top of Helshoogte Pass among old oak trees. It’s one of the highest and coolest estates in the Stellenbosch region with deep red soil ideal for growing premium grapes. When Gyles Webb bought the estate in 1983, it was just a dilapidated fruit farm. The orchards were replaced with vines and by 1988, the first wines under Thelema’s label were released. The wines have a distinct South African character – complex, full of flavor, and long lasting.
Waterford Estate, Stellenbosch
The Waterford Estate is nestled into the Blaauwklippen Valley in a perfectly picturesque setting among an ancient citrus grove and rolling lawns. Even sweeter is the Chocolate and Wine tasting experience. A series of dark and milk chocolates from Kevin Arnold and Chocolatier Richard von Geusau paired with Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Natural Sweet wines from the estate make for a sweet tasting experience.
Haskell Vineyards, Stellenbosch
Haskell Vineyards is located in the “Golden Triangle,” a sub region of Stellenbosch, generally regarded as South Africa’s finest wine growing region. It’s a relatively new estate, producing their first wines with their label in 2007, but they’ve made quite a name for themselves in the industry. Within the first 12 months of operation, Haskell was awarded a 5-star accolade by the John Platter Guide. It was also the first South African winery to win Best Syrah, Bed Red Wine, and Best Wine of Show in the Tri-Nations (South Africa, Australia, New Zealand) Challenge.
La Motte, Franschhoek
The history or La Motte stretches back all the way to 1752 when Huguenot Gabriël du Toit planted 4,000 vines on the farm. Today, it is one of the best wineries in Franschhoek, a small French-influence village in the heart of the South Africa Winelands. The estate’s restaurant Pierneef à la Motte is one of the country’s best, where a meal is best paired with La Motte’s Sauvignon Blancs, Shirazes and Chardonnays.
The Anura estate is close to both Paarl and Stellenbosch. Set at the base of of the Simonsberg mountain range with 370 acres of vineyards. Anura prides themselves on producing wines that are different from other South African wines, with reds including Petit Verdot, Grenache, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Mouvédre, and Sangiovese.
Delaire Graff Estate, Stellenbosch
You could show up at Delaire Graff Estate and never leave. It’s got everything a wine connoisseur could hope for with an exquisite winery, a luxury Relais & Châteaux hotel, botanic garden, and Laurence Graff’s personal art collection to peruse. Delaire Graff’s winemaker Morné Vrey ‘s vision is to keep the integrity of the grapes and capture the essence of South Africa’s summer in every bottle. Wines include Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blends, Cabernet Franc rosé, sparkling wine, classic reds, and red blends.
Add a visit to South Africa’s Winelands to your next Ker & Downey journey. Contact your Travel Professional to beginning planning. To stay up to date on all of our online content, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
*Images via Thelema, La Motte, and Delaire Graff