Hermanus is best known for its peerless land-based whale watching opportunities, but the town is also home to estates that produce wines with a distinctive character. A beautiful mountainaous valley that spills out onto the Atlantic Ocean, a visit to Hemel-en-Aarde is a must for wine lovers.

Did you know?

Most of the wineries in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley are members of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative which is a commitment to conserving the unique fynbos environment of the area.

Its name means 'heaven and earth' in Afrikaans. Here in the midst of Hermanus wine farm country, the Cape Overberg Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is scattered with young wine farms that produce home-grown nectar of the gods.

The terroir of the region – clay soil and cooling sea breezes – give the wines their unique flavour, one that is often compared to French wines produced in the north of that country.

Surrounded by the majestic Overberg mountains the valley provides a sheltered location for the production of many varietals. The most popular of these are pinot noirs and chardonnays.

There are 15 estates in the valley – starting with Hermanupietersfontein and ending with Domain des Dieux. Some, like Southern Right, take their inspiration from the whales. Others, like Creation and Mount Babylon, are informed by the names of the valleys where they are created. Don’t pass through without visiting La Vierge, Ashbourne, Spookfontein, Ataraxia and Jakob’s Vineyard.

The boutique winery of Whalehaven lies close to Hemel-en-Aarde village. It produces notable pinot noir and viognier-chardonnay. On the way to Caledon you’ll come upon the Hamilton Russell winery, producer of a pinot noir and a chardonnay, both accorded five stars by the John Platter wine guide. Bouchard Finlayson comes complete with a tasting room in which to sample the seven wines produced here. These include the highly regarded Galpin Peak pinot noir.

Then there’s Sumaridge estate, which has a beautiful picnic site, a stone cellar and a restaurant with a view over the valley. Sumaridge has won several awards and is famous for its pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.

Newton Johnson Wines is a family-run business specialising in chardonnay, felicité, syrah mourvédre, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon. Add a bonus trip to your valley visit by stopping at Beaumont Wines en route to Bot River, where wines are handcrafted following ancient tradition.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Hermanus Wine Route
Tel: +27 (0)83 305 7319
Email: frieda@hermanuswineroute.com

Hemel en Aarde Valley Wines
Tel: +27 (0)28 316 3988
Email: winevillage@hermanus.co.za

Overberg Tourism Association
Tel: +27 (0)28 214 1466

How to get here

The entrance to the valley is at the confluence of the R43 to Hermanus and R320 to Caledon. Follow the R43 to Bot River to reach Beaumont Wines, 25km from Hermanus.

Around the area

Bredasdorp is close to the De Hoop Nature Reserve: 60 000 hectares of endangered fynbos, with the country’s largest gathering of bontebok and the endangered mountain zebra.

What to eat

Try Newton Johnson Wines, which has a restaurant called Heaven. Sumaridge Wine Estate also has a restaurant that serves light meals.

What's happening

Elgin, Hermanus, Napier, Greyton and Stanford all host weekly markets that sell crafts, food, wine, fish and locally produced fare.

Best buys

The Hemel-en-Aarde Wine Village showcases more than 1 500 different wines created by 600 producers.

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