Wine Routes of South Africa
Did you know?
The Cape Route 62 wine route, which extends from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, has a dedicated Route 62 Brandy Route.
The wine routes of South Africa fall largely within the Western Cape province where the bulk of the country’s wine production takes place. South African wine routes though, don’t stop there. Wine lovers can explore as far afield as the Northern Cape, the south eastern Orange Free State, and even the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, in their quest to discover South African wines. Unofficially, South Africa’s northernmost vineyards are in Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria in Gauteng!
The majority of wine routes in South Africa fall under the auspices of the Wine of Origin Scheme, an origin control system instituted in 1973 to safeguard the diversity and uniqueness of South African wine. The system is similar to France’s Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, but since South African wine regions are not well known outside the country, wine tourism routes have been created to make navigating South Africa’s diverse winelands easy, fun, and rewarding.
Currently, there are currently 17 ‘official’ wine routes registered with the South African Wine Routes Forum (SAWRF). A wine route constitutes a geographical wine-growing region and consists of members who belong to an organisation (wine route, trust and/or association) that aims to promote the region and represent producers and various industry bodies.
Additionally, there are regional and special interest routes to visit such as the Cape Route 62 wine route, said to be the longest wine route in the world, the Western Cape Brandy Route, and the Green Mountain Eco Route - the world’s first biodiverse wine route.
Because each wine producing area lends its own unique character to wine and certain areas are better-suited to producing specific wine types, you’ll want to visit as many wine routes as you can.
Each of South Africa’s wine routes exhibits its own personality, and though they are designed to showcase the region’s best wines and wine-making traditions, there’s nothing stopping wine buffs from creating their own Chardonnay trail, or touring the winelands based on their love of art, history, or extreme sports.
South Africa’s winelands are tops on visitors to-do lists because our wine routes aren’t just for wine lovers. There’s awesome food, culture, health and wellness, wildlife, conservation and plenty of family friendly activities to enjoy.
Whether you’re a casual wine drinker, a connoisseur, or a teetotaler, you’ll find what you’re looking for, and more, when you tour the wine routes of South Africa.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Wines of South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)21 883 3860
How to get here
Most wine routes have their own websites and the local tourism office can assist with maps and directions.
Best time to visit
South African wine routes are open all year round. Selected wineries may require an appointment, or have limited opening hours during the harvest season (January to end April).
You'll need your own transport or the services of a tour operator, as access to public transport is very limited on virtually all the wine routes. Selected wine routes like Hermanus and Franschhoek offer visitors a hop-on-hop-off shuttle bus service.
What will it cost
Each wine estate on a route determines its own wine tasting fees, and some will waive charges if wine is purchased. Food and wine pairings, tutored tastings, and cellar tours typically need to be booked and paid for in advance.
What to eat
South Africa’s wine routes are renowned for their regional cuisines. Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Constantia are known internationally for their award-winning restaurants.
There are major auctions and regional wine festivals happening throughout the year, as well as special events organised by wine estates. Contact the local tourism office or the individual wine estate for more information.
South African wines can be shipped almost anywhere in the world, either directly from the cellar, a specialist wine shop, or using the services of a reputable online wine merchant.