South Africa has long been one of the world’s most respected and revered wine producers, with its fresh, clean soil and warm year round temperatures, the region is responsible for some vibrant grape varieties making it a gold-standard producer of new world wines like Chenin Blanc, Riesling, and Crouchen. Here are Africa’s top ten vineyards, all great for visiting and tasting purposes.
WRITTEN BY JOE JOHNSON
Laibach is one of Africa’s premier names in wine, having produced some of the continent’s finest exports since 1944. The vineyards are located in Stellenbosch on the slopes of Simonsberg in South Africa. Originally named ‘Good Success’, it became Laibach in 1994, when entrepreneur Friedrich Laibach realised his 30-year dream of owning a vineyard.
Not only do these slopes produce some stunning wines, the area is a fantastic place to visit for vino enthusiasts, having recently established a luxury lodge, guests are welcome to stay overnight, use the swimming pool, take a wine tasting tour and take in the spectacular views of Table Mountain.
For those who live too far to visit, but wish to appreciate the beauty of the region through the medium of taste, Laibach produce fine examples of all the favourite red and white varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc and Pinotage.
The vineyards at Anura posses what is possibly one of the most spectacular views on this list, located on the foothills of the Simonsberg mountains and on the banks of a freshwater river, the vineyard provides plenty of variation for growing different types of Grape, and it’s tended to by a team of passionate experts.
The Steenburg estate, which not only boasts a vineyard but a luxury hotel, has an illustrious history dating back to 1695. Steenburg is named after the mountain which dwarfs it, and the vineyard’s location is responsible for its great reputation, the sea-facing slopes make the ideal growing environment for award-winning grape varieties.
The climate and vistas in Veenwouden have been likened to the Mediterranean, and with lush sunny valleys and a cool breeze penetrating from the Atlantic, it’s easy to understand why. Wine production is certainly laid back here, with a meagre 80 tonne output per year, meaning more love and care is put into each barrel.
5. Klein Constantia
Another long running estate, the Klein Constantia is named-so due to its location in the Constantia valley, the oldest vineyard region in the Cape, first producing wine in 1689.A small, modest estate, there is also a strong focus on quality over quantity on this family run and owned vineyard.
6. Elgin Vintners
The Elgin Valley vineyard is run by six professionals who have in-depth knowledge of how to mix and adapt grape varieties to produce wines that cater to many different tastes. Their philosophy certainly works, having attracted awards at home and overseas.
7. Bouchard Finlayson
Bouchard Finalyson’s vineyards are located close to the southern tip of the African continent and despite being a relative youngster compared to others on this list, (it was established in 1989), it is renowned in the area for producing some stunning varieties. The nearby town of Hermanus is also well worth a visit.
8. Ken Forrester
Another friendly but tightly-ran family operation, the Ken Forrester vineyards are located on the Helderberg Mountain in Stellenbosch region. Not specializing in any particular variety, the Forrester vineyards produce all varieties to suit a wide range of tastes and commercial requirements from the accessible ‘Petit’ range to the upmarket ‘Icon’ selection.
9. Dieu Donné
The Dieu Donné vineyard has a proud heritage and very strong branding. The black and gold logo immediately screams quality and prestige and the facilities certainly don’t belie the first impressions. A high altitude vineyard on the Franschhoek mountains, the produce here can be enjoyed at the on-site restaurant.
10. Du Toitskloof
The Du Toitskloof is named after the identically named Mountain Pass near the Breede River Valley, a beautiful backdrop to a very tourist friendly vineyard complete with a tasting room where you can try everything from the crisp Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc through the robust reds such as Merlot and Shiraz. Cellar tours are also offered here.
Joe is a travel blogger and self-confessed wine buff. He’s looking forward to sampling a local Rioja or two when he takes his Spain holidays this year. Joe also runs his own travel blog where he’s looking for guest writers, if you’re interested take a look at the write for us page!