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6 Things - 6 Wine Towns in South Africa you have to visit

Time to wine down.
The production of wine has such a rich history. One of the oldest wine producing facilities has been discovered in Armenia, dating back to 4100 BC. But it looks like China has been consuming a concoction of fermented grapes and berries since 7000-5500 BC. Looks like our forefathers was onto something when they sampled the fermentation juices of berries and grapes. Today, South Africa counts among the world’s elite wine producers with yearly awards and accolades bestowed at almost every ceremony attended. If you’re a wine connoisseur, casual-celebration-drinker or a must-have-drinker when friends are around, we look at the 6 wine towns in South Africa you have to wine-taste:

Worcester

What makes Worcester different from any other wine towns on the list is that they’ve combined the Wine with an Olive Route. The acclaimed wines produced in this area is Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, and Columbar. Worcester contributes a fifth of the national vineyards and over a quarter of the total wine and spirits production in South Africa. With twelve wine cellars, an Olive Estate to visit and 110km drive from Cape Town, you might want to stay over for a night or two.

Where to wine-taste? Alvi’s Drift, BC Wines, Conradie/Penhill Artisanal Wines, Cilmor Winery, Dedoorns Cellar, Eagle’s CliffNuyDe Wet Celler.
Where to Stay? Esperance Farmstay, Damas, Aan de Doorns, Leipzig.
Where to eat? Overhex Winery & Bistro, Cheese and Wine at Stettyn Family Vineyards, Nuy on the Hill, Damas, Bergsig Estate, Hugo Roastery and Café.
Where to have your Wedding? Bosjes Have a look at their chapel!
What to do? Willow Creek Olive Estate,  Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden, Pampoen Farm Stall, Goudini Spa, Mountain Brewing, Golden Valley Sun Casino, Aquila Private Game Reserve Safari and Spa.
Watch out for? MTB Trail Run around August every year, Nuy Valley Festival, Worcester Wine and Olive Festival, Chef Workshop at De Wet Cellar – limited to 20 people per module, book early.

Robertson

Another stop on the R62, the longest wine route in the world, is Robertson. A wine town that is famous for the some of the best vineyards and not-to-be-missed wine festivals. Robertson and their passionate community produce wine of international standards on more than 35 family-run vineyards. Might be best to visit this scenic town for a long weekend, or maybe longer.

Where to wine-taste? De Wetshof, Springfield Estate, Bon Courage Estate, Van Loveren, Graham Beck, Viljoensdrift,
Where to Stay? The Robertsons mall, Bonnievale River Lodge, Fossil Hills, Bakenoord, Kampala farm
Where to eat? Mo and Rose, Bourbon Street Restaurant, Rosendal Restaurant.
Where to have your Wedding? Ashton Kelder, Nerina Guest Farm, Lords Guest Lodge.
What to do? Marbrin Olive Growers, Skydiving, Kolgans River Boat Trip, Fish Eagle Hiking Trail, best’ting Harley Davidson Motorcycle Tours.
Watch out for? Hands-on Harvest, Wacky Wine Weekend (not to be missed), Slow Food and Wine Festival, Wine on the River 26-28 Oct 2018.

Stellenbosch

It’s wine o’clock. Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are number one and two on our list of the top 6 wine towns in South Africa. It’s no surprise that world-renown Stellenbosch reigns supreme as there are more than 300 wine producers in and around town. The Stellenbosch wine route consists of many sub wine routes making it easier for tourists to experience the historical wine culture in smaller doses. With it’s rich Cape Dutch homesteads, gourmet delights, modern luxurious accommodations and natural beauty you’ll be richly rewarded on every return visit.

Where to wine-taste? Ernie Els Wines (closed till Sept 2019), Alto Estate, Vergelegen, Ken Forrester, Lanzerac, Waterford Estate, Stark-Condé.
Where to Stay? Jordan Wines, Aaldering, Delaire Graff Estate, Spier Hotel, Asara
Where to eat? Guardian Peak, Picnic at Warwick Estate, Rust en Vrede, Clos Malverne, Jardine Restaurant.
Where to have your wedding? Cavalli Wine & Co, Hudson’s, Clouds Estates, LaurentMolenVliet
What to do? Vine Hopper: Hop-On Hop-Off Wine Tour, Stellenbosch Winelands Scooter Tour, Electric Bicycle Vine Tours, Strawberry Farm, RMB WineX brings Stellenbosch to Sandton 24-26 Oct, Eikestad Mall
Watch out for? The Chocolate Festival, Stellenbosch Wine Festival, De Warenmarkt Oyster Festival, The Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival 1-2 Dec 2018.

Paarl

Next, we load a playlist and set a course for “The Pearl of the Winelands”. Paarl is a wine town which offers award-winning wine estates and farms, fynbos-rich hiking and cycle trails, rock climbing, a rich history and it’s all set in spectacular surroundings. In the shadow of the massive granite outcrop, you’ll find Paarl’s 12 km-long Main street. Restaurants, restored historic buildings, coffee shops, and pubs are dotted all along the main street and worth exploring on feet. Shall we get lunch while we’re here?

Where to wine-taste? Ridgeback, Babylonstoren, Rhebokskloof, Fairview, KWV Wine Emporium, Plaisir de Merle
Where to Stay? Cascade Manor, Grande Roche Hotel, Nwanedi Wine and Country Manor, Paddabult CottagesBelmote Guesthouse, Val De Vie
Where to eat? Noop, The Hussar Grill, Terra Mare, Blacksmith’s Kitchen @ Pearl Mountain,
Where to have your wedding? Nelson Wine Estate, the Venue at Pearl Mountain, Under Oaks
What to do? Spice Route, Hero Adventure Trails, Butterfly World Zoo
Watch out for? FALKE Full Moon hikes, FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN

Hermanus/Hemel-en-Aarde Valley

Whether you sniff, spit, swallow, slurp or swirl, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in Hermanus is nothing to sneeze about. Along the R320 you’ll quickly find yourself in the breathtaking landscape. Its name came from a saying “where the hills that embrace the valley are so high that they seem to touch the sky – heaven and earth”. No wine, no problem, Hermanus has many offerings that are sure to keep any tourist coming back for more.

Where to wine-taste?
Creation, Springfontein Wine Estate, Stanford Hills Wine Estate, Sumaridge, Spookfontein, Ataraxia Wines, Domaine Des Dieux
Where to Stay? Whale away, A whale of a time
Where to eat? Breakfast at Plaaskombuis, La Vierge
Where to have your wedding? Bona Dea Private Estate, Beloftebos, Owerzicht, De Uilenes
What to do? Horseback trails,
Watch out for? Hermanus Wine and Food Festival 5-6 Oct, Hermanus Wine Hoppers,

Constantia

Although not a town, Constantia is the 3rd most popular wine route in South Africa, by the 2017 visitor numbers, and the reason why it made our list. The route offers food and wine pairings, cellar tours, food and wine tasting, and meeting the winemaker events that enhance its appeal to locals and international travelers. Research shows that 99% of Cape Town-based itineraries include a trip to the Winelands. If you’re in Cape Town for a short stay, make sure you find your way to one of the Constantia vineyards, an Uber should get you there in no time.

Where to wine-taste? Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Silvermist, Constantia Glen, Eagle’s Nest, Constantia Uitsig
Where to Stay? Constantia Vista, White Lodge, Summit Place, Nova Boutique Constantia, The Last Word
Where to eat? La Colombe, Greenhouse, Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia, Jonkershuis, Foxcroft, Steenberg,
What to do? Ziplines, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Constantia Village
Watch out for? Constantia Fresh

According to the latest statistics, our wine industry has enhanced our economic growth as wine tourism and expenditure at vineyards increased significantly in 2017.
Someone, please tip the winemaker, I’m off to the next stop before there is nothing left.

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