Known for their vast range, different styles and value, discovering South African wines is an exciting journey. From refreshing, yet elegant coastal Chardonnays and expressive Sauvignons to world-class Chenins and Syrahs from the warmer and dryer Swartland to easy drinking wines and highly refined Bordeaux-style blends from Stellenbosch and of course South Africa's very own signature grape, Pinotage, there's something for every wine lover's palate.
Come explore some of South Africa's most loved wine regions and find your favourite South African wine with us!
Just 70km from Cape Town, Elgin Valley is rapidly gaining a reputation as the origin of some of the most premium quality wines. Traditionally, an apple growing area, winters are cold and abundant with rain, whilst the summer brings a cool south-easterly breeze from the Atlantic Ocean just kilometers away.
With Elgin Valley completely surrounded by mountains, vineyards are typically planted at high altitudes at 400m or more above sea level. Wines from this area tend to be described as fresh, pure, fruity, light and easy to drink, whilst still having all the fundamentals of a premium wine - a unique combination of attributes that makes Elgin Valley wines distinctly recognisable.
Look out for Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Merlot, as they do particularly well in this late-ripening region.
FRANSCHHOEK & PAARL
Paarl is a scenic town about 50km from Cape Town. Located beneath a large granite outcrop, it was at the heart of the South African industry for many years with the KWV cooperative, one of South Africa's leading wine and spirits producers, being based here. With its Mediterranean climate and long, warm summers, it's perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinotage, Shiraz, Mourvedre and Viognier.
Just to the southeast of Paarl is Franschhoek or the ‘French Corner’. Founded by French Huguenot settlers, who imbued the valley and its mountain slopes with their French traditions and winemaking expertise, Franschhoek has become well known for quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Semillon with some vines being over 100 years old! Chardonnay, Shiraz and Merlot are grown here.
Stellenbosch is today's commercial heart of the South African wine industry, and the educational and research centre of the winelands. The Stellenbosch Wine Route, established in 1971, is a popular tourist attraction. It is the oldest in the country and represents more than 200 wine and grape producers.
With a mountainous terrain and well-draining soils, this region boasts numerous award-winning wineries, many of which have had over 300 years of winemaking history. The granitic soils of Stellenbosch are well-suited for Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux grape varietals, making the district famous for Bordeaux-style red blends.
There are eight wards within Stellenbosch which, based on their terroir, create unique viticultural pockets. Cooling influences from the Simonsberg mountain, Bottelary and Polkadraai Hills, as well as the proximity of parts of the region to False Bay, shape the climatic conditions over the vineyards.
SWARTLAND & TULBAGH
Named after the endangered indigenous bush which turns the landscape a dark colour at certain times of the year, the Swartland (‘Blackland') was traditionally a grain producing area. However, recognising the potential of the region's rich, ancient soils combined with a Mediterranean climate, farmers started to plant the first vines among the grain plantations about 30 years ago.
Today, these low-yielding bush vines have become known for creating wines full of character and concentrated flavor. In fact, Swartland has become South Africa's Syrah country, producing some of the most iconic wines, including Porseleinberg, Mullineux and The Chocolate Block.
Just next to the Swartland, Tulbagh is a secluded valley surrounded by mountains on three sides. The soils in this area vary from sandy on the valley floor to stony on the mountain slopes, making it ideal for top quality Pinotage, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. However, the area is particularly known for producing high quality Chenin Blancs, Colombard and Chardonnays.
Close to the Atlantic Ocean, located in the most southern part of South Africa, Walker Bay is one of the coolest winegrowing regions in the country - ideal for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Here, the Hemel-en-Aarde (‘Heaven-on-earth’) Valley to the South of Walker Bay, provides a cool climate with persistent ocean winds to ensure grapes ripen slowly, leading to flavourful, high-quality wines.
To the North of Walker Bay is Bot River, a scenic area with rolling hills, mountains and vineyards. Like Hemel-en-Aarde, Bot River enjoys the cool micro-climate from Walker Bay. The soils in this area mainly consist of sandstone and shale - ideal for varietals such as Syrah and Cabernet Franc.