ROBERTSON and a few other villages lie along a fertile, if warm, valley where white wines such as chardonnay (from De Wetshof Estate) and sparkling wine (from Graham Beck Winery) used to be the main stars. Today the move is to red varieties, especially shiraz (Zandvliet).
STELLENBOSCH is, in the minds of many, the finest wine area in South Africa, claiming the crown for reds. With a list of more than 80 wineries and producers, it is also the most expensive wine farmland. Nearly all the most famous international names in South African wines are found here in an area reaching from sea-facing slopes to valley-hugging hills. This is the home of Kanonkop, Meerlust, Rustenberg, Thelema and Warwick. The list is endless. This is also where Distell, the country’s largest player in the drinks market, is seated. Designated wards within the district are Jonkershoek Valley, Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Bottelary, Devon Valley and Papegaaiberg. Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinotage and chenin blanc are the stars here.
SWARTLAND means “black country”, a traditional sunny wheat area north of Cape Town. These days, wineries are making modern, well-appreciated white wines here with top reds on the way. The Darling region especially is on the roll.
WALKER BAY near the coastal town of Hermanus has become another of the Cape’s most fashionable regions. With Elgin to the west and Bot River inland, it falls under the Overberg appellation. It is the home of Cape pinot noir and good chardonnay and home to places like Hamilton-Russell.
WORCESTER and surrounds comprise 20% of all South Africa’s vineyards. Brandy is produced, and wine for wholesalers. Small volumes are bottled under own labels. Value-for-money is a hallmark.