Did you know?
Feiteiras Vineyards in Bot River produce wines entirely by hand using a pole basket press. Feiteiras Vineyards released South Africa's first Verdelho wine.
The Bot River Wine Route comprises a handful of wineries that make up the Bot River Vineyard Association.
Clustered at the foot of the Houwhoek Pass, Bot River’s wine farms are the gateway to the Walker Bay wine-growing district, one of the Cape’s most sought-after wine growing regions because of its cool, maritime climate.
The Bot River wine ward stretches from the Bot River lagoon up into the foothills of the Groenlandberg and Babylonstoren mountain ranges, and forms part of the agricultural transition zone of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, a 100 000-hectare UNESCO-registered biodiversity hotspot that is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom World Heritage Site.
Cooling breezes from the Bot River lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean offset the valley’s warm summers. As well as helping to keep Bot River’s vineyards disease-free, the mild conditions permit later ripening, resulting in flavour complexity and well-balanced acidity.
During Bot River’s mild, frost-free winters, rainfall supplements vineyard irrigation. Bokkeveld shale and Table Mountain sandstone soils add minerality, while the region’s abundant fynbos adds herbaceous notes to the wines.
Bot River’s eclectic band of conservation-conscious winemakers strive to work in harmony with the landscape to produce individualistic, terroir-expressive wines from cool-climate varietals.
Chenin blanc is the star of the valley, and wines coaxed from old, characterful, low-yield vines produce internationally acclaimed, award-winning vintages.
Sauvignon blanc follows suit, with shiraz and cabernet aauvignon and small quantities of chardonnay, pinotage, mourvédre and verdelho completing the Bot River wine profile.
Wineries on the Bot River Wine Route are often small, family-run affairs. While producers here prefer small acreage, there’s no stinting when it comes to hospitality, or top-quality and value-for-money wines.
Generosity of spirit is evident in the welcome visitors to this secluded valley receive. Big-hearted Bot River quickly wins over visiting wine lovers with its homely atmosphere, and commitment to the community, the environment, and quality wines.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
How to get here
Take the N2 from Cape Town over Sir Lowry's Pass, past Grabouw and down the Houw Hoek Pass. Pass the first turn-off to Hermanus and take the second turn left to Bot River.
Best time to visit
Spring in Bot River sees wildflowers and fynbos on the surrounding mountains, and the vineyards and orchards in bloom.
Around the area
In Bot River’s surrounds go hiking, mountain biking, fishing, bird watching and horse riding. Visit Hermanus for its beaches, wine farms, restaurants, golf courses, nature reserves, and whale watching in season. Nearby, in Caledon, you'll find a casino, hot springs, a nature reserve, and a golf course.
Tours to do
Fynbos walks and eco-hikes are on offer in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve.
It’s best to have your own car to visit the Bot River Wine Route. Occasional tourist trains arrive in the valley, and the Baz Bus, a backpackers' shuttle, stops at the Bot River Hotel.
What will it cost
Bot River wine farms typically do not charge for wine tasting.
Length of stay
The Bot River Wine Route is compact and can be explored in a weekend.
What to pack
Bot River summers can be extremely hot; make sure you protect yourself from the sun with a hat and sun cream. In winter, take a raincoat and warm, weatherproof jacket for winter. Also pack sturdy boots if you’re a hiker as the Overberg has numerous hiking trails.
Where to stay
Accommodation in Bot River ranges from the village hotel and farm cottages, to self-catering mountainside luxury villas and Canadian-style log cabins. Malplaas ('mad farm') is a delightfully quirky artists' retreat. Close to the Bot River lagoon is the Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa, and there is plenty of four and five-star accommodation in nearby Hermanus.
What to eat
Bot River is known for its apples, pears, plums, and onions. Local eateries include the Shuntin’ Shed, a relaxed pizzeria, Beaumont Wine’s café serves light lunches, and the Kolkol Kitchen is open Thursday through Sunday. Hermanus, with its many restaurants, is a 20-minute drive.
Botrivier hosts their harvest celebration, called Barrels & Beards in April. The Bot River Spring Festival, also called the Drink Yourself Pink Festival, is usually held in the first weekend in September. The Bot River Open Gardens and the Van der Stel Pass Challenge are usually held over the last weekend in October, and the Bot River Barrel Fest is also in October.
Chenin blanc, shiraz wines, and the Cape’s only single varietal, mourvédre, from Beaumont Wines. Barton Estate produces olive oil and a range of lavender products. Find fresh produce and the Overberg Wine Collection, wines from across the region at cellar-door prices, at the Houw Hoek Farmstall.