Although there are a number of wine growing areas in South Africa, the bulk of our wine comes from the area we classically call 'the Winelands' that includes Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. The production of wine has shaped the development of this area for over 300 years, and it has been proposed for consideration as a World Heritage Cultural Landscape.
The bright green corduroy-patterned vineyards stretching out to the bases of purple mountains, thatched, whitewashed, gabled houses dreaming in the shade of ancient oaks and even the red and white roses planted at the ends of the vines define this beautiful area.
Pretty as it is, though, the proof of the Winelands in the tasting - and the wine is pretty darn good. And, on the subject of tasting - there are loads of great restaurants, coffee shops and attractive guest houses with wonderful menus and extensive wine lists. Once just a collection of independent wineries, each doing their own thing, the Winelands has become a tad more user-friendly, with the formation of wine routes.
It makes good marketing sense for the wine producers and it's also easier for you because the various cellars are well sign-posted and they feature on specially drawn maps so you can chart your course between them with naval precision.
Many of the wineries also make cheese, or grow olives and press oil, so there's a lot more than wine to be had.
There's more than just food and wine, though. The scenery - both built and natural - is spectacular and there is so much to do. You could go for a gentle day walk in a nature reserve or even do an extended hike not far off. Quad biking trips, horse rides, wagon rides and many other attractions await your pleasure, and there is a host of cultural attractions, ranging from township tours and home stays to cultural festivals and theatres.
Keen to go Quad Biking in the Winelands and know your pinoir noir from chenin blanc? These fun and informative tours start in the field and end in the cellar!
Check out www.quadrides.com
For bookings phone Hannalene or Merwe on 084 874 8730.
Get more info about quad biking at harvest time in our Stomp that Grape newsletter article.