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Cape Town Tourism

South Africa's Wine Districts – Vineyards

GrapesThe area around the towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, approximately 60-100 kilometers (37-60 miles) into the country east of Cape Town is very scenic and historically interesting, but especially the South African wine-growing stronghold.

Groot Constantia is the oldest vineyard, founded in 1685 by Dutchman Simon van der Stel, the governor who started the colonization of the South African inland. In the early 1800s the Constantia wine was a favorite drink at many European Princley Houses. Today, Constantia has long passed the wine districts of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. But the farm is living high on its fine old buildings and proximity to Cape Town.

In connection with the introduction of quality classification "Wine of Origin System" in 1973, South Africa's vineyards became divided into 6 official regions, 11 districts, 42 in districts (wards) and estates, ie individual wineries. South Africa's vineyards are largely in the Western Cape near the coast, but wine is also produced in the drier northern and eastern regions. It is the Little Karoo, Olifant River Valley and the lower Orange River. There are large climatic differences between these regions, affecting the wine-growing techniques and the wines produced in each region.

The traditional regions of the Cape Peninsula and surrounding regions have a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and heavy winter rains. This makes the need for irrigation to be reduced. From here, in a north-easterly direction towards Little Karoo, the climate becomes progressively drier and warmer, with larger differences between summer and winter temperatures. Rain falls occasionally during the summer months.