Robertson Valley Wine Route
Did you know?
Robertson is named after Dr William Robertson, a Scottish minister who arrived in South Africa in 1822.
The Robertson Wine Valley is among South Africa’s largest wine-producing areas. Classified as a Coastal Region under the Wine of Origin scheme, the district of Robertson comprises nine wine production wards, namely Agterkliphoogte, Bonnievale, Boesmansrivier, Eilandia, Hoopsrivier, Klaasvoogds, Le Chasseur, McGregor, and Vinkrivier.
With a well-established reputation for quality, affordable wines, the Robertson wine route has made a conscious effort over the past decade to refocus its wine production and encourage wine tourism to the valley.
Notably, Robertson wine farms are planting more of the so-called Big Six grape varieties (riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon), as opposed to standard and distilling wine varieties like colombard and chenin blanc.
Wine production has also shifted from an industrial scale to family-run and boutique estates, resulting in superior quality wines. Robertson is also home to a number of garagiste producers that can be visited by appointment.
Situated in the valley of the Breede River and surrounded by mountains, the Robertson Wine Valley experiences a hot climate, with summer evenings cooled by a south-easterly wind.
Annual rainfall in the region is low. The majority of vineyards require supplementary irrigation (typically from September to November), and practise irrigation manipulation and canopy management, depending on the required style of wine.
Though lacking variation in altitude and aspect, vineyards along the region’s flood plains revel in a variety of soil types from gravelly, lime-rich, alluvial soils, to red, clay loam and Karoo soils to produce fruity, easy-drinking wines and the popular soetes (natural sweet wines).
Vineyards that ascend the foothills of the surrounding mountain ranges derive their character from calcareous alkaline and shale soils with good water-retention abilities, while variances in meso-climate and aspect are harnessed to produce expressive, terroir-specific wines.
Traditionally known for its white wines, the Robertson Wine Valley produces elegant chardonnays and increasingly, award-winning sauvignon blanc and Methode Cap Classique wines. Fine reds, notably shiraz and cabernet sauvignon, are also coming to the fore.
Food, wine, and outdoor festivals, and family-friendly activities throughout the year have made the Robertson Wine Valley one of the Cape's most popular wine routes, and a Global Wine Capitals of the World award-winner for the area's commitment to providing a world-class yet authentic local wine and lifestyle experience.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Robertson Wine Valley
Voortrekker and Reitz Street, Robertson
Tel: +27 (0)23 626 3167
Cell: +27 (0)83 701 5404
How to get here
From Cape Town, take the N1 towards Worcester. On the N1 at the third traffic light, turn right into Worcester, pass over the bridge, and take the second turn off left into Main Street (following the signs for Robertson (R60)). Turn right at the traffic light two city blocks later and the R60 for about 40km until you reach Robertson.
Best time to visit
The Robertson Wine Valley vineyards are loveliest in spring and summer; this is also the best time to take a river cruise on the Breede River.
Around the area
There is lots to do in the area including boat trips, river cruises, canoeing, hiking, golf, mountain biking, sky diving, game drives, and horse riding. There are also nature reserves and historical buildings aplenty. Nearby Worcester is a premium gliding destination, while in Klaas Voogds West, the Soekershof succulent gardens and mazes are remarkable.
Tours to do
Take a tour of the Klipdrift Brandy distillery in Robertson, and drive the scenic mountain passes of Route 62.
It would be best to have your own car to explore the Robertson Wine Valley. Alternately, utilise the services of a tour operator, or hire a car in Cape Town or Robertson.
What will it cost
Most wine estates in Robertson do not charge for wine tasting, but to be certain, check individual estates’ websites, or call ahead.
Length of stay
Plan a couple of days or a weekend at least to tour the Robertson Wine Valley.
What to pack
Winters in Robertson can be cold, with snow on the mountains and occasional rain. Pack rain gear and warm clothes. Summers can be hot so pack hats and sun cream.
Where to stay
Robertson has accommodation to suit all budgets, from boutique hotels like the Robertson Small to self-catering farm cottages.
What to eat
Local olives, olive oil and artisanal cheeses, and farmers' market produce. Many wine estates have restaurants and there are eateries along Route 62.
In February, the Robertson Wine Valley hosts the Breede River fishing challenge, the Breede River half-marathon, and the Hands-on Harvest festival. In June there’s the Wacky Wine Weekend festival; the Robertson Slow festival is usually the first week of August, and the Robertson Wine on the River festival takes place in October.