South Africa boasts a well-established wine network; the vast majority and most developed routes are located in Cape Town and the Cape Winelands in the Western Cape Province.
Home to some of the world’s most bountiful vineyards and boasting numerous award-winning restaurants, Cape Town and the Western Cape is a gastronomic wonderland, with a history intrinsically tied to the vine.
Learn more about Cape Town and the Western Cape by clicking here Cape Town and the Western Cape
Cape Town and the Western Cape has:
- 2 778 Wine Grape Farmers
- 45 Producer Cellars
- 460 Private Wine Cellars
- 5 Wine Regions
- 20 Wine Routes
Spread over a geographical area of 92 067 hectares.
Visitors can look forward to award-winning wines, a variety of events and festivals, a wide range of activities from hiking to mountain biking and whale watching, world-class accommodation, cutting edge restaurants, designer golf courses and stunning scenery are all part of the enticing mix.
The South African Wine Routes Forum (SAWRF) is made up of representatives of the wine routes. This is a joint initiative with representatives from Vinpro, Wosa and Wesgro with the aim of a cohesive wine industry in the Cape.
South Africa leads the world in environmental sustainability
The South African wine industry is supported by various organisations. The Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University offers pre-graduate as well as post-graduate degrees in Viticulture, Oenology and Wine Biotechnology; Elsenburg Agricultural College offers a course in cellar technology and the ARC-Nietvoorbij is a research facility with various experimental farms. In a joint venture, the South African wine and table grape industries and Stellenbosch University established the Institute for Grape and Wine Sciences (IGWS) to enhance the international competitiveness of the wine and table grape industries.
All wines for export must be granted an export licence. Samples of each batch of wine destined for foreign countries are sent to the Wine & Spirit Board at Nietvoorbij, Stellenbosch where they undergo detailed tasting tests and chemical analysis in the laboratories before licences are granted. An official seal is given to each bottle by the Wine & Spirit Board, which verifies that the claims made on the label regarding origin, vintage and grape variety are true. South Africa leads the world in environmental sustainability and regulated production integrity. From the 2010 vintage, a new Sustainability Seal for South African wines was introduced, which traces the wine from vine to bottle. The seal is a world first, and certifies a wine’s integrity as well as sustainability.
The largest destination market for South African wine exports is the United Kingdom, followed by Germany and the Netherlands. In 2017, the volume of packaged wine exported to the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, USA and Russia increased, while it decreased to Sweden, China, Canada, Denmark and Belgium. 40% of South Africa’s vineyards are found in the Breedekloof, Little Karoo, Robertson and Cape South Coast regions. A further 45% lie in the Swartland, Stellenbosch and Paarl regions, all of which are found in the Western Cape.
Cape Town and the Western Cape is one of nine provinces and located at the Southernmost tip of Africa, this province will leave you feeling inspired. Cape Town city is a bustling melting pot of cultures, tastes and experiences for young and old. You’ll find state of the art shopping malls, open-air markets, a dynamic night life and windows into our rich history. You’re going to want to discover more, and a world of natural beauty lies beyond the boundaries of the city in the greater Western Cape regions: the Cape West Coast (Weskus), the Cape Karoo, the Garden Route & Klein Karoo, the Cape Winelands and the Cape Overberg.
Each area is worth exploring and has its own charm, you’ll uncover diverse culinary delights, award-winning wine estates, nature in full bloom, wide open spaces and deserts, azure waters and white sandy beaches, luxury experiences and animal encounters that will make your journey truly unforgettable. But that’s not all you’ll find here. Drawing strength from its diversity it’s the people that make our destination beautiful, and they invite you to share in our colourful heritage.
Three Centuries of Cape Wine.
The establishment by the Dutch East India Company of a refreshment station at the Cape in 1652 had one single aim: to provide fresh food to the company’s merchant fleet on their voyages to India and surrounding areas. But much more evolved than that – the establishment of a trading station led to a flourishing wine industry and later to the birth of a nation.
Jan van Riebeeck, the first governor of the Cape, planted a vineyard in 1655, and on 2 February 1659, the first wine was made from Cape grapes. This led to the planting of vines on a larger scale at Roschheuvel, known today as Bishopscourt, Wynberg. Van Riebeeck strongly encouraged farmers to plant vineyards although initially they were most reluctant.
There were many setbacks in the beginning, chiefly because of the farmers’ ignorance of viticulture. Things improved when Van Riebeeck was succeeded in 1679 by Simon van der Stel, who was not only enthusiastic but very knowledgeable about viticulture and winemaking. He planted a vineyard on his farm Constantia and made good wine from the outset. Later, Constantia was acquired by the Cloete family and their wines became world-famous. To this day, Constantia wine is mentioned when the world’s finest examples are discussed.
The Dutch had almost no wine tradition and it was only after the French Huguenots settled at the Cape between 1680 and 1690 that the wine industry began to flourish. As religious refugees, the Huguenots had very little money and had to make do with the bare essentials. They also had to adapt their established winemaking techniques to new conditions. But with time their culture and skills left a permanent impression on our wine industry, and on life at the Cape.
Dine at world renowned restaurants, challenge your culinary notions and break bread at cutting edge eateries, taste iconic vintages at some of the oldest wine farms on the continent, or simply combine it all with a pairing presented by the world’s best.
Like every cosmopolitan city in the world, Cape Town offers a wide array of restaurants – French, Italian, Greek, Indian, Thai, Mexican and more. However, our best restaurants are invariably those that celebrate what the Cape uniquely offers – our proximity to both sea and farmlands, which means the freshest of produce, and cooking traditions that are based on the use of spices, cooking with fire, pickling and preserving.
What do South Africans think of as their traditional food? They are cooked in our homes, in country restaurants, and sold at farmstalls. To our delight, our fine dining restaurants are beginning re- invent them, deconstruct them, and generally create magic around them.
Internships are open to students currently studying at an academic institution in a Great Wine Capital City
Your contact in Cape Town:
WESGRO – Cape Town & Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment