South African wine regions
South African Wine – Hectares under Vines
According to WOSA, there are 94 545 hectares of vines in South Africa covering over 800 kilometres. Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is a not for profit company responsible for promoting South African wines in key international markets.
White wines are the slight majority at 55.2% and Chenin Blanc is the most widely planted white making up 18.6% of the total. The two famous grape varieties at home in South Africa are Chenin Blanc and Pinotage. Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault.
WOSA states that there are 23 production areas in South Africa, under the Wine of Origin Scheme. These include: Bot River, Breedekloof, Cape Agulhas, Cape Town, Cederberg, Central Orange River, Darling, Elgin, Franschhoek, Klein Karoo, Kwazulu-Natal, Malgas, Olifants River, Overberg, Paarl, Plettenberg Bay, Robertson, Stellenbosch, Sutherland-Karoo, Swartland, Tulbagh, Walker Bay, Wellington and Worcester. Click on the map below from Wine Folly to view the wine regions.
With the lagoon and Walker Bay nearby, it creates a cooling maritime climate here where grape varieties Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Shiraz, Pinotage and Rhône varietals are planted.
The vineyards are found on the alluvial valley soils which offer drainage over a bed of river stones. You’ll find 24 wineries here on the Breedekloof Wine Route.
Cape Agulhas is situated at the furthest southern tip of South Africa. With the cooling winds in summer it means a very cool ripening season which suits Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz.
This district covers the wards of Philadelphia, Constantia, Durbanville and Hout Bay. The proximity of the ocean means many of the vineyards benefit from the cooling sea breezes as well as the deep soils and night time mists. The big difference in night and day temperature as a result of higher altitude leads to a slower ripening. Cool climate wines tend to have more acidity and bright fruit aromas.
The proximity of the Atlantic Ocean has a cooling influence on the wines here and exceptional Sauvignon Blancs are being made here. Other varieties are also being planted. An excellent example of some of the Sauvignon Blancs produced from this region are from Ormonde Estate by winemaker Theo Basson.
This used to be an apple growing area and now makes some stunning Chardonnays, Rieslings, Sauvignon Blancs, Pinots and Shirazes. Elgin Vintners is one winery to check out!
The Franschhoek valley is surrounded on three sides by mountains. To the north are the Klein Drakenstein mountains, to the west, Groot Drakenstein mountains and to the south, the Franschhoek mountains. There are a number of wineries here including La Motte, Leopard’s Leap and wines from Cabrière which are in store now.
At Swanny Cellars we stock the Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir Unwooded 2018 from Franschhoek and Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir Réserve 2015 from Franschhoek.
This region is north of Stellenbosch. Grape varieties grown here include Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage and Shiraz. Landskroon Wines is one among many to visit here.
There are more than 200 wineries here which could be explained by the two hundred years of winemaking tradition and the fact the only degree in viticulture and oenology is offered at Stellenbosch University.
Stellenbosch Wine Route is very popular. Wineries include Neil Ellis and Beyerskloof among others. We currently stock the Beyerskloof Pinotage Reserve, Pinotage and Field Blend.
Means ‘the black land’ named after the endangered indigenous renosterbos (rhino bush). This region used to be famous for grain production but is making. Grape varieties grown here include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinotage, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Located 45 minutes from the city of Cape Town, this area is home to 26 wine producers including Diemersfontein. We stock the Diemersfontein Pinotage that is sourced from Wellington.
If you are interested to learn more about South African wine, Jancis Robinson MW has written an informative blog about South African wines here on JancisRobinson.com.
Also Wine Folly goes into more detail on the history of South African wine and the different grape varieties planted on its site here.
More reading and information about South African wine can be found on the Wines of South Africa website here.
At Swanny Cellars we now stock:
- Beyerskloof Pinotage 2017
- Beyerskloof Pinotage Reserve 2016
- Beyerskloof Field Blend 2014
- Diemersfontein Pinotage 2017 from Wellington
- Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir Unwooded 2018 from Franschhoek Pass
- Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir Réserve 2015 from Franschhoek
Drop in and speak to us about this current range and updates on new arrivals!