Wine Production in
the Cape Winelands
Wine production is an important contributor to the South African economy. About 10 million hectolitres (one billion litres) of wine are being produced every year and this figure is growing. 300,000 people earn a living in the wine industry. More than 3,000 types of wine grapes are pressed at the Cape. The numerous wine farms produce wines of outstanding quality at very reasonable prices.
The beginnings of the viticulture at the Cape stem from the 17th century. Dutch and especially French settlers brought the know-how and quickly gained excellent results in the sunny and fertile valleys around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. This is still today the heartland of wine production, but nowadays good wines also come from the Breede River, the Overberg, the Swartland and even from the Cedarberg.
Many small wine farmers have joined together to form big co-operatives, the largest being the KWV - Kooperatiewe Wijnbouers Vereeniging. Other vintners have been able to survive as family businesses and many of them are well-known overseas as well. For example, the Nederburg label goes back to the year 1792. Their top wines win medals world-wide.
South African wines are very much in demand overseas and more than 2 million cartons are exported every year.
You can allow yourself to sample the excellent quality of the Cape wines on wine tours along the sign-posted "Wine Routes".
Most of the cellars can be visited without prior arrangement, many also have a restaurant.
Please find some excellent vintners in and around Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek you find on the INFO page.
Top right: Grape harvest near Paarl. Bottom left: Wine cellar on the Nederburg Wine Estate. Centre right: "Fleur Du Cap" red wine from the Bergkelder cellar.
VIDEO: The Cape Winelands
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