Wine Farms in and around Cape Town
Few wine-producing countries in the world can tell you with absolute certainty when their industry began, but Dutch colonist Jan van Riebeek’s South African diary entry on 2 February 1659 marks the start of a winemaking tradition which is one of the oldest outside Europe.
Cape Town is an exceptional New World wine region boasting beautiful scenery, established vineyards and fine dining.
South African wines were enjoyed by Napoleon and Jane Austen in the 18th century, and several famous South African brands have become household names in their time.
The end of apartheid in 1994 saw a tidal wave of transformation in the vineyards, the wineries, the marketing and in the consumption of South African wines, both locally and overseas. From being known primarily as a bulk wine provider, SA’s finest wines now regularly win top honours in international competitions. Every year visitors flock to the Western Cape to taste the wines and enjoy the exceptional fare of Cape Town’s restaurants, all set against dramatic landscapes forming one of the most picturesque wine regions in the world.
With most wine regions situated less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town, it is easy and rewarding to plan a day or two sampling wines and enjoying some of the many other diverse attractions on the farms themselves. Closest to Cape Town is the plush suburb of Constantia, where Jan van Riebeek planted the first vineyard in the Cape. Constantia combines some of the continent’s oldest buildings with modern, welcoming tasting facilities. A mere 40 minutes from Cape Town is Stellenbosch, capital of the winelands and famed for blended red wines, including ones made with the local grape, Pinotage.
Nearby Franschhoek rivals Stellenbosch for its excellent fine dining, whilst across the valley floor lies Paarl, towered over by a massive granite outcrop second only in size to Uluru in Australia. Whether you wish to indulge in fine wines, fine dining, healthy outdoor pursuits, museums and art galleries or if you simply want to hang out on beautiful lawns set in lush gardens, the Cape Winelands has something for every visitor, time and time again.