Many people know South Africa as a safari hot spot, but do you know that thousands of wine connoisseurs visit the country annually? Wine tasting tours, along with South African wine, have become increasingly popular in recent years.
Did you get a sip of South African wine and wished you could visit the wineries in person? Are you wondering just how to proceed on your South African wine tour? By the end of this guide, you will know how to embark on your wine tasting tour like a pro.
Know Your South African Wine
The South African wine landscape is picturesque, and you will be amazed by the beautiful vineyards rolling into the distance. Sunsets are glorious here! This beautiful climate allows the country to produce wines that are becoming more and more popular the world over. South Africa’s varietal, the Pinotage, is a hit with lovers of wine. The wine industry has also transformed the area into a foodie destination since wine and food go together. Since these wine tasting tours have become more popular, tourists can find accommodation ranging from simple to super luxurious. Whatever your preference, you will definitely find it in the Cape Winelands.
South African wines are regarded as New World wines because the country has a short growing history compared to known wine producers like France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. This does not mean that the country is new to growing grapes, as the first grapes were planted centuries ago and the wines of Constantia, made from these grapes, were a hit in Europe.
South African wines have evolved to the point where they can comfortably sit between Old World and New. The wines are full bodied and fruity with earthy flavors that wine enthusiasts love. The warm climate ripens the red grapes and helps produce high alcohol, full wines. In the Western Cape, the abundance of ocean breezes ensures that the wines are fresh and suitable for pairing with food.
The Most Popular South African Grapes and Wines – Pinotage
Pinotage is the country’s signature grape variety. It is a perfect blend of Cinsault and Pinot Noir. However, it is different from Pinot Noir because it is fruitier, denser and has a higher ABV. Expect to be amazed by Pinotage’s black cherry flavors with some mild traces of roasted herbs and smoke.
South African Cabaret has a lot more character than Cab grown in Sonoma or Paso Robles. If you are looking for Cabernet Sauvignon at a great price, then South African labels will serve. These wines are earthy and smooth, and they taste like ripe blackberries and cedar.
This great wine goes incredibly well with food. You can sip on it as a starter or pair it with dinner. You will absolutely love the perfect combination of white peach and hazelnut flavors.
Fans of dry wines, you will love the Chenin Blanc. For those who love their wines a little less dry, you will find labels that offer just a touch of sweetness with an added yellow apple taste and an enthralling jasmine scent.
Also known as Syrah, these wines have an earthy flavor combined with blueberry and blackberry flavors. The grapes flourish in Swartland, a large area in Cape Town. They stand well against Shiraz grown in Australia and France.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
These grapes grow in areas that have abundant sunshine and cool air, and South Africa has successfully grown it for years. The country may not produce a lot of Pinot Noir, but you can find many high-quality options.
Things To Do On Your South African Wine Tour – It’s Best Not To Drive
Your intention might be to take a tiny sip of everything offered, but don’t count on that. These wines are so great that you’ll gladly take more than your planned sip. Have fun and enjoy stopping by the many vineyards without the added stress of wondering how you’ll get home. You have shuttle services, multiple bus routes and Uber to take you back to your hotel.
Find a Great Hotel
Like wine regions all over the world, the Cape Winelands offer excellent accommodation options for tourists. For those looking to stay a few days, there are lots of places to stay in this beautiful part of South Africa. Some of the best hotels here include the Delaire Graff Estate, The Leuu Estates and Lanzerac.
Do you want to wake up to the view of lush vineyards stretching into the distance or do you desire classic luxury? Here, there is something for everyone.
Map Your Wine Tasting Tour
You can’t visit them all! There are so many wineries in the Cape Winelands that you’ll have to pick the places you want to visit the most. Want to know how to make this difficult choice? Pick places that have both good wines and great views. Some of the popular stops are Jordan, Delaire Graff Estate, Tokara and La Motte.
Fine Dining at The Best South African Restaurants
Prepare to enjoy food that will ignite your taste buds! What’s a great wine without great food to go with it? The chefs use fresh produce sourced from nearby farms to prepare food that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Get Goodies from Farm Stalls
Farms stalls are scattered all over the Cape Winelands. You can get everything from fresh produce, bread hot out of the oven, freshly-squeezed juice and sweets that will tingle your senses. You can also get organic wines here.
In summary, A wine tour in South Africa is a great way to explore the country. You’ll get to taste South Africa’s world famous wines and see the country with fresh eyes. One thing is guaranteed, you will have an unforgettable time.
This article originally appeared on Demand Africa.
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