The Namaqua West Coast has much to offer as a wine producing area: the soils are fertile, the climate is relatively mild and the region has a low rainfall. Cooling sea breezes generated by the Atlantic Ocean's cold Benguela current slows down the grapes' ripening process during the hot summer months allowing for greater complexity in the wines.
Traditionally the Olifants River valley was known as a region that produced bulk wine and desert wine. In recent years this has changed as many producers have extended their range to making smaller volumes of artisan wines. Today a number of award wining wines originate from the Namaqua West Coast region. Most of the wines are sold at very affordable prices at the cellar door.
The first documented sale of wine in the Namaqua West Coast region was penned by the French explorer Francois le Vaillant in the late 18th century. He had been travelling along the Olifants River and wrote that he bought "strong liquor" from the Widow van Zeijl. At the time most farmers produced their own wine and brandy and sold some of the surplus to passing travellers.
The preferred wine route through the region usually begins in the mountains near Paleisheuwel in the south, and continues northwards through Klawer, Vredendal, Lutzville and Doringbaai to Lambertsbaai. The route is well marked and easy to follow and most wineries have wine tasting facilities.