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TThe 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.
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.
The Robertson Wine Valley, which is known as the world’s longest wine route, runs along Route62 following the ‘Langkloof’. It’s made up of the towns of Robertson, Bonnievale, McGregor, Ashton and Montagu cupped between the Langeberg and Riviersonderend mountain ranges with the Breede River flowing through. There are 36 wineries which make up the route.
Robertson wine farms are planting more of the so-called Big 6 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 as part of its effort to refocus its wine production.
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 garagistes 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 include 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.
TTravel 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.
Things to do
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 Klaasvoogds West, the Sheilam Cactus Farm is remarkable.
In February, the Robertson Wine Valley hosts 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.
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 sunblock.
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.