27 Nov Wine Regions of South Africa
South Africa is one of the more interesting nations to produce wine. This is mostly because people didn’t think that the climate and the terroir of this country were really suitable for wine production. People are under the impression that every country in the African continent is too hot for wine grapes. That’s not true in South Africa.
The wine growing regions in the Cape have a mild, favourable Mediterranean climate. The land is full of mountain slopes and valleys that get ample sunlight and the winters are gentle. Many viticulturists agree that South Africa has nearly-ideal growing conditions for many grapes.
The climate is extremely favourable, thanks to the two oceans that meet at the very tip of the country. The forces of the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans ensure that the climate remains comfortable temperate for the grapes growing here. Most of the wine growing areas are usually within 50kms of the coast that maintains the temperate climate of the region. South African soil is also very favourable for grape growth. It is also very diverse, allowing different kinds of grapes to grow with ease.
The Wine Regions
South Africa has numerous wine growing regions producing very high quality wine. There are few wine regions that stand out, as they have the right combination of climate, terroir, and the wine making technique. When it comes to total amount of land that’s cultivated, South Africa holds the 17th place at 110,000 hectares.
However, it regularly ranks amongst the top ten when it comes down to the amount of wine produced. The country now produces about 900 million gross litres of wine annually and this doesn’t include other grape products like juice, distilling wine, etc. Here’s the list of the most important wine regions of South Africa:
Constantia Valley is one of the most renowned wine growing regions of South Africa. Located on the slopes of the Table Mountain in the south, this region has been producing wines since the 17th century. This is where the famous Simon van der Stel estate was located. This is also the birthplace of the fabulous Constantia Dessert Wines that the Europeans coveted during the 18th century.
While this area has a wide variety of grapes, it is especially known for its whites, most notably the Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes here have a very slow ripening period, which contributes towards the taste of the wine of the region. They have a subtle oceanic influence because of the proximity to the ocean and the winds.
After Constantia, this is the oldest wine producing district in South Africa. This district produces over 14% of South Africa’s total wine production. The first vines were planted her in 1679 and since then, the estates here have been churning out some incredible wines. At 20°C, the estates here are only slight warmer than the climate in Bordeaux,
The wines of this area are Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Merlot. The Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc blend Simonsberg is one of the most renowned whites of this region. The region is also known for some excellent vintages of Chenin Blanc.
Breede River Valley
This region is noted for its versatility. There are different districts in this region that produce a variety of wines. These include Chardonnay, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Colombard, Ruby Cabernet, and Chenin Blanc. It also produces Hanepoot and Muscadel dessert wines.
There are several other regions like Overberg, Franschhoek Valley, Paarl, etc, that supply some great quality wines. The land has the capability of growing notoriously difficult noble grapes like Nebbiolo as well. It’s definitely one of the best producers of wine in the new world.
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