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The Winelands


From humble beginnings as an experimental vineyard below Table Mountain by the Dutch East India Company during the seventeenth century, the wine industry in South Africa today has spread over a large and diverse area. Grapes are grown in nearly 60 officially declared appellations covering over 250,000-acres (100,000-hectares).

There are 6 important wine producing areas within a 2-hour drive of Cape Town, offering an amazing array of different wine styles from the many estates, private wine cellars and cooperatives. A superb marine- and mountain-influenced climate, coupled with stunning scenery, makes this an attractive area to visit. Hundreds of restaurants serve interesting regional cuisine matched to the local wines, which helps to drive the continuing Cape wine renaissance. The areas close to Cape Town are 1) Constantia, 2) Durbanville, 3) Paarl, Wellington and Franschhoek, 4) Stellenbosch, 5) Swartland, and 6) Walker Bay. Constantia is sometimes referred to as the cradle of wine making in the Cape; Simon vander Stel was granted land here in 1685. Constantia is a leafy zone on the southeast of the Cape Peninsula facing the Atlantic Ocean. It is cooled by sea breezes from two sides, southeasterly from False Bay, and northerly gusts over the Constantiaberg mountain spine. Red and white wines are produced, but the area is recognized for whites, especially sauvignon blanc.

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