Crowds are for New Year, not wine tasting. On the West Coast Wine Route, expect an intimate and fulfilling experience like no other – from charming, family-run farms in unique locations to some of South Africa’s most famous mega-wineries.
Many people don’t know this, but wine in these parts is an age-old tradition too. Its first recorded purchase was in the 18th century when Frenchman Francois le Vaillant explored the area and bought his sustenance from a widow Van Zeijl.
The Olifants River Valley has ideal growing conditions to produce distinctive wines: fertile soil, a relatively mild climate, a low rainfall and cool sea breezes that slow down ripening in the summer months and produce outstanding grapes.
Quality is a hallmark of the wine, a fact increasingly being recognised by expert assessments, both locally and overseas. West Coast wines regularly feature as medal winners, enjoying consistent high-level ratings in authoritative publications. On the wine route, you’ll be able to appreciate just where these champion wines are made and even purchase most of them right at the cellar door.
The West Coast wine route begins in the hills around Trawal in the south to Olifants River mouth in the north. Doringbaai and Lamberts Bay on the Atlantic coast form the western border. The route is well marked and easy to follow and most wineries have their own tasting facilities.