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Friday 27 May 2016

Why South Africa is a great destination for wine lovers

There are few wine producing countries that offer as much diversity as South Africa; where the Cape is home to no fewer than 18 official wine routes, and two brandy routes, which are regarded as being among the most scenic in the world.

From the suburbs of Cape Town to rural regions, the Cape is home to many historic wine estates that have histories over a hundred years or more.

Groot Constantia wine estate (above), just a short drive from downtown Cape Town, dates back to 1865 and is South Africa's oldest wine estate.

South Africa's winelands stretch from Cape Overberg in the south-western Cape, through the Little Karoo and the West Coast into the adjacent province of the Northern Cape.

There are also smaller wine farms in the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and even Gauteng. The Route 62 wine route in the Cape is said to be the world's longest wine route.

Many Cape wine estates are characterised by classic Cape Dutch-style buildings with picturesque mountains as a backdrop. South Africa is seen as a world leader in wine tourism with many of the cellars offering additional attractions, including world-class restaurants, museums and art galleries.

There is also a distinct European influence in a number of regions, due to the arrival of French Huguenot, Dutch and German settlers during the 18th century.

Spier Wine Estate (below) has one of the Cape's the oldest wine cellars, built in 1767. The estate continues to produce world-class wines to this day – and offers the chance of tours on Segway machines.

The Stellenbosch Wine Route is South Africa's oldest and was founded in 1971. 

Nearby Paarl, the third-oldest town in South Africa, is home to Nederburg Wine Estate, as well as numerous other premier brands, while The Franschhoek Wine Valley is also famous for its food and is acknowledged as the ‘gourmet capital of South Africa'.

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