Wineries are a delightful addition to any vacation itinerary, and visiting the numerous estates that make up the South Africa winelands is the perfect way to see the rolling landscape and lush vineyards of the countryside. The scenic drive combined with tours of the wineries and samplings of South Africa wine is easily a full day—or several—of entertainment.
The oldest region in the South Africa winelands and the one where winemaking first began in the country is Constantia, which is located near Cape Town. Tourists can take a self-guided or escorted tour of the Constantia Route and visit the five wineries that make up the wine estate.
The area with the most South Africa wineries is Stellenbosch. This charming and scenic town dates back to the 1600s and is a major tourist destination. The city's attractive setting, framed by the Helderberg Mountains, makes the Stellenbosch wine route another scenic adventure, and the route covers more than 100 South Africa wineries, most of which are open to the public, providing a significant opportunity for wine tours.
Another region of South Africa winelands worth visiting is Paarl, which is located a short distance from Stellenbosch and 45 minutes from Cape Town. The town itself is next to the Berg River and filled with historic buildings, restaurants, shops, and it is the home office of the KMV winery. Established in 1918, this winery in South Africa also produces brandy, and is open to the public for cellar tours and tasting, making it an excellent stop for travelers who want to do some South Africa wine tasting.
The town of Franschhoek has its roots in the French Huguenot culture and was settled in 1692. Home to many a good winery in South Africa, the city is nestled in a small valley and surrounded by mountains and winelands. There are more than 40 wineries in the Franschhoek area creating some of the finest South Africa wine. The wine produced is the perfect compliment to the French-influenced cuisine prepared by talented chefs in local restaurants, and many of the wineries even have a restaurant on the estate so visitors can pair wine tasting with local cuisine.
The Wellington Wine and Brandy Route is a smaller-scale tour of the wineries in the Western Cape region. The picturesque valley town of Wellington is found at the base of the Groenberg Mountain, with the Hawequa Mountains located to the east. The city is small and not as crowded as the larger cities in the area, and it boasts a charming and friendly atmosphere; it's a pleasant destination for visitors who would prefer a quieter vacation.
The soil and climate of the Wellington area are excellent for the vines, and most farms in the area are located along the Kromme River. Local wineries have tours, some by appointment only, and wine samplings. The Wellington Wine Walk is a three-day hike with overnight accommodations and in-depth tours of the vineyards and orchards that also includes tastings of wines, olives, and cheeses.
Combined with the scenic beauty, quiet solitude, and romantic atmosphere, many couples select a winery in South Africa as the location for their wedding. The winelands area is also ideal for honeymoons, as numerous luxury accommodations are available along the designated wine routes.