The Cape Winelands near Cape Town usually refers the beautiful, fertile valleys and mountains about 45 minutes drive from the city. The Cape Winelands are often described as one of the prettiest areas of South Africa with dramatic mountain slopes planted with vines of numerous varietals. Here farmers enjoy perfect conditions and produce some of the best wines in the world.
The little towns and villages such as the de facto capital of the Cape Winelands, Stellenbosch as well as Franschhoek, Paarl and increasingly, Wellington and Riebeek Kasteel, feature countless wineries and wine estates that are open to the public. With a decent wine route map, a sense of curiosity, some time, and unless you intend to spit, a designated driver or tour guide, you can hope to visit a fraction of them during your stay.
Of course the original wine country of South Africa can be found even closer to Cape Town in the established suburb of Constantia. Estates such as Steenberg, Groot Constantia and Klein Constantia were some of the first wineries to be established in South Africa back in the 17th Century.
Today the Cape Winelands stretch even further afield, with the incredibly scenic Route 62 described as the longest wine route in the world and with many top wine estates in the cooler Whale Coast & Overberg area. All combine easily with a trip along South Africa’s Garden Route.
There is no best time to visit the Cape Winelands as each season reveals something special. Revel in the bright summer sunshine as you sip chilled wine with an alfresco lunch, or cuddle up next to a roaring fire with a glass of red in the winter. Autumn reveals splashes of deep red and orange in the vineyards, whereas spring sprinkles the roadsides and mountain sides with wild flowers.
Wine and wine tasting are not the only attractions in the Cape Winelands as there are many cheese and olive producers in the area, as well as excellent restaurants to visit.