Orange River Wine Route
Did you know?
A 2012 Viognier, produced at ORC's Uptington-based cellar, took top trophy-honours at the SA Young Wine Show.
The Orange River Wine Route covers South Africa’s largest wine producing region. Centered around Upington, the Orange River Cellars (ORC) comprise 6 wineries representing nearly 900 producers.
As a geographical unit, the Northern Cape Wine of Origin region in the Green Kalahari encompasses the far northern ward of Hartswater, the district of Douglas, and the Lower Orange – the locality of the Orange River Wine Route.
In a region where summer daytime temperatures can reach 37?C and dramatic thunderstorms often accompany the nominal spring-summer rainfall, the influence of the Orange River on the wines produced here is immense.
The river regulates the cool microclimate necessary for Orange River wine farms to produce quality grapes. Soil types deposited here over millennia, including alluvial deposits and granite, dolerite and shale, contribute depth and structure to the wines produced here.
With abundant water, sunshine, and a dry, virtually disease-free environment, conditions along the Orange River Wine Route are ideal for the mass planting of Sultana, Colombard, Chenin, and Hanepoort grapes. All of which go into the Orange River Wine Cellars multi-gold medal winning dessert wines, and best selling blended, and semi-sweet wines. A Sauvignon Blanc is a new addition to the region's white wine offering.
Currently only 3% of the vineyards along the Orange River Wine Route comprise red grape varieties. Winemakers though, are focusing on creating red wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Ruby Cabernet, Pinotage, and Petit Verdot grapes that reflect the regions extraordinary terroir.
Recently, ORC was named the country's top producer for Best Value wines (best value at a price of under R80 per bottle) for their Ruby Cabernet 2011, Rosé Natural Sweet 2012, White Muscadel 2011 and Red Jerepigo N/V.
Though you can comfortably visit all 5 cellars in 2 days – it's recommended to visit Keimoes, Kakamas and Upington on day 1; Groblershoop and Grootdrink on day 2. ORC also has a newer cellar at faraway Hartswater.
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