The story of South African wine begins in 1659...
As part of a plan by the Dutch East India Company to combat the scourge of scurvy, this is the year that vines were first planted in Constantia, just outside coastal Cape Town. Over three centuries of winemaking later, South Africa's Old World knowledge has been augmented by its New World experience, and a renaissance is well underway.
The days of large volumes of Chenin Blanc grapes being wasted in cheap brandy have thankfully been consigned to the past. Instead, we find families devoted to winemaking excellence, and new generations burn bright in the international market. Sensitivity is their obsession: today's top vintners are wholly attuned to South Africa's magnificent natural landscape.
Many producers now focus on minimal intervention, studying the versatility of their land to maximise yield and flavour. In this environment of renewal and experimentation, amid amazing mountain vistas and verdant valleys, we discover deliciously dark Pinotages, meet the king of Malbec, and lose ourselves in the bold and brilliant blends.
One added bonus of the South African wine route is the concentration of its estates. Relatively small areas host a plethora of producers, and shorter transfers mean more time at the tasting table — always a plus in our book. Think sunshine, cellars, and award-winning sips. The result is a combination no wine-lover should miss.
- Feel like one of the family on a personal guided tour of Hamilton Russell vineyard
- Take part in a thrilling game drive at Villiera Wildlife Sanctuary, with the chance to spot species including giraffe, zebra, springbok and wildebeest
- Fire up the barbecue at family-run Kanonkop, and quench your thirst with a tasting of the estate's prestigious Pinotages
- Enjoy a free afternoon in charming Montagu — relax in the local hot springs, or simply raise a glass to the scenic surroundings
South Africa’s wards have incredible terroir and passionate growers, making it a powerful player in the world of wine. From the vineyards under Table Mountain to the ‘Malbec King of Africa’, explore over four centuries of wine heritage — our tour opens at Buitenverwachting, which dates back to 1685.