South African wine regions: luxury wine tours in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Constantia and Paarl

South African wines were once considered poor relations, but over the last decade have emerged as some of the best valued red and white wines in the New World – their quality can no longer be questioned.

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As one of the most prominent wine-producing countries in the Southern Hemisphere, South Africa has a history of over 300 years in winemaking that dates back as far as the early Dutch settlers in the 1650s.

South African wine regions are mostly situated around the luscious yet rugged landscape of the Western Cape where a plethora of mountains, valleys and plateaus together with a distinctly Mediterranean climate allow vineyards to produce a diverse range of styles.

Pinotage, a blend of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut that is almost exclusive to the wine regions of South Africa, it the country’s signature wine. Chenin Blanc, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are also widely planted while the reputation of South Africa’s Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc has grown in popularity on the international stage.

Although classed as a New World country, many wines are evenly poised between New and Old World styles – often produced using New World techniques but having more in common stylistically with their Old World counterparts.

South Africa wine regions have become the ninth-largest producers of wine in the world, while the lure of an African adventure – where wine tours can accompany breathtaking vineyards, exciting safaris and memorable cuisine – has brought a surge in wine tourism to the heel of Africa.

South African wine regions are as diverse as the country’s nature and wildlife, but here is an overview of  four main areas for intrepid wine travellers to explore:

South Africa wine regions have become the ninth-largest producers of wine in the world, while the lure of an African adventure – where wine tours can accompany breathtaking vineyards, exciting safaris and memorable cuisine – has brought a surge in wine tourism to the heel of Africa.

Stellenbosch is South Africa’s leading wine region, playing host to several renowned estates and featuring spectacular vineyards fringed by mountains east of Cape Town. The country’s first wine route was established here in 1971, which provided the catalyst for the current burgeoning wine tourism industry.

Franschhoek is settled in the so-called ‘French quarter’ outside of Cape Town, and is widely regarded as the culinary capital of South Africa’s wine regions. The diverse soils and relatively high rainfall produce a wide variety of wines from several award-winning estates that visitors can taste while simultaneously enjoying an unforgettable gourmet break.

Constantia is the cradle of wine making in the Cape, and features one of the most famous trails of all the wine regions of South Africa. Historically, this is where the first vineyards of the country were planted – while Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have had such a penchant for Constantia wine that he had 300 gallons shipped to him and, allegedly, refused anything else from his deathbed.

Paarl is another of the South African wine regions, situated north-west of Cape Town and home to several leading producers. Previously a white wine region, the emphasis has now turned towards quality reds.

Wine Paths rely on our team of local experts to arrange tailor-made tours in all of these wine regions of South Africa and more. These include an exclusive wine tour in the Constantia Valley, a vineyard tour and tasting outside Stellenbosch and a viticulture tour of Franschhoek.

For more details on our many activities and tours of South Africa wine regions, check out our destination guide and start planning the adventure of a lifetime in a land renowned for its wild side. 

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