An insider’s guide to wine tourism in South Africa

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Some of the best wines in the world come from South Africa. With plenty of cheap arable land available, wine lovers around the world are opening up their own vineyards on the fertile African soil, experimenting with various methods of growing, extracting and fermenting the vine. This guide highlights some of the best wine tours in South Africa.

When and Where to Go Wine Tasting in South Africa

South Africa’s vineyards are found primarily in the Western Cape, encompassing the region surrounding Cape Town. There are three main areas where most of the vineyards are concentrated, namely Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Constantia. Each place has unique characteristics and strengths, and it is worth visiting them all because they are relatively close to each other. There are several small wine-growing areas between the main sites, perfect for visitors who prefer authenticity to touristic comfort.


  • In order of proximity to Cape Town, Constantia is closest, followed by Stellenbosch, and finally, Franschhoek, which is about an hour away.

Wine tourism is all about timing. The best time of year to go is in the fall, between February and May, ideally March. The summer months, around December, are hot and dry, while the winter months, starting in June, are wet and cold. Autumn is when the vineyards are at their most beautiful and also when the grapes are harvested, so visitors will have the opportunity to see the most exciting aspects of viticulture.

Wine tourism in Stellenbosch

The Stellenbosch Valley is located along the Eerste River at the foot of the Stellenbosch mountain. It is arguably the most famous wine region in Southern Africa. Before the vineyard, the town was known for its oaks. Century-old oak trees line old French houses and city streets, imbuing them with rich woody scents and a regal aesthetic.


  • Stellenbosch is about 40 km from Cape Town

In the late 1600s, the area was settled by Huguenot refugees from southern France, many of whom came from wine regions. They brought with them their talents for viticulture, and being Protestants, they were quickly assimilated with the Dutch settlers.

The most popular wine grown in Stellenbosch is Cabernet Sauvignon. It is often blended with Merlot to create Bordeaux wines.

The following wineries are insider recommendations for wine tasting in Stellenbosch.

Related: 10 Cities Perfect For Unleashing The Inner Wine Lover

Muratie Wine Estate

  • Address: Knorhoek Rd, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch, 7605, South Africa


Muratie is a historic family winery in northern Stellenbosch. It was founded in 1685 and has since become a world famous wine producer. The estate is a great place to spend an afternoon while tasting some of South Africa’s finest wines.

For enthusiasts who want to bask in the misty valley with a glass of wine in hand at all times, Muratie also offers accommodation in one of its period cottages.

Warrick Wine Estate

  • Address: R44, Stellenbosch, 7607, South Africa

The Warrick estate is a unique place. In addition to offering wine tastings in the midst of divine landscapes, the farm offers Wine Safaris. The game drives take up to six visitors on an open-air route through the five vineyards, each of which grows different types of grapes.


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Wine tourism in Franschhoek

As well as being one of the oldest cities, Franschhoek is the culinary capital of South Africa. The Afrikaans name translates to “French Corner”, describing the high concentration of French Huguenot settlers. It is known for its Cape Dutch architecture and cool, misty atmosphere, ideal for growing wine.

  • Franschhoek is about 90 km from Cape Town

The Franschhoek Winetram

Franschhoek’s most interesting feature is the Wine tram. The railway lines were laid in 1904 and today serve an extensive network of wine estates. With eight distinct lines, each with a considerable number of stops, there’s no better way to see wine country than on a Franschhoek Winetream.


  • Address: Corner of Main Road and, Cabriere St, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa

Passengers can choose the hop-on hop-off tickets that allow them to hop on and off as they please, a perfect option for casual wine tourists who want to take their time soaking in everything.

Wine tourism in Constantia

Constantia is a suburb of Cape Town. For tourists in the metropolis who are pressed for time, this is the best option for wine tasting because it does not require long trips from the airport. In fact, unlike Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, visitors can reach Constantia with a simple Uber ride.

Constantia’s vineyards are unique due to their proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The vines thrive on rich, decaying granitic soils and are cooled by arctic sea fog.

Related: How much does a glass of wine cost in these 20 different cities

Buitenverwachting

This estate lives up to its name, which translates to “Beyond Expectations”. The vineyard is part of the Constantia wine route. The premises are centuries old, occupying over 150 hectares of land and comprising over 30 homes for the massive team of full-time employees and their families.

  • Address: Buitenverwachting, Klein Constantia Road, Constantia, Cape Town

Visit this estate for a few hours of wine tasting and a delicious lunch.

For wine lovers who want to see the entirety of the Cape’s vineyards, travel the Constantia Wine Route to other notable estates. Some of the best include Constantia Steenberg, Beau Constantia, Groot Constantia and Eagle’s Nest.

This has been a brief introduction to wine tourism in South Africa. No matter where the tourists end up, there is no problem. The land is ideal for growing rich and complex wines of the highest quality.

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