When people think of wine production, the first destination that comes to mind is probably a valley somewhere in beautiful France. Bordeaux and Loire Valley are up there with the best of them; either that, or the well known valleys of Napa in California. In the past, Africa has rarely come to mind when the topic of wine production is discussed, but now It has one of the best wine destinations.
South Africa, and a host of other countries in Africa, are slowly claiming their position in the wine production world. There are valleys in Africa that would rival any wine producing region of the world. Here are 10 best wine destinations in Africa:
Winelands of Cape Town
This region of South Africa is well known for its fertile lands and moderate weather. Here, the locals produce very fine Chardonay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz. Like most wine producing regions, there are quite a number of farms that stand out:
1. Constantia Valley, South Africa
Photo Source: Eclipsepr.co.za
Located at the foot of Constantiaberg Mountain, the valley produces some of the finest wine South Africa has to offer. It is also home to Groot Constantia, one of South Africa’s oldest wine producing estates. Only a few minutes from the City of Cape Town, Constantia Valley is as beautiful as it is productive. You can indulge in Cape Town’s finest wines at these wine farms – Constantia Uitsig, Constantia Glen, Buitenverwachting, Klein Constantia and Steenberg Vineyards. Explore these wine scenes to get a taste of their wines.
2. Stellenbosch Winelands, South Africa
Stellenbosch is the second oldest wine producing regions in South Africa. Over the years, it has become synonymous with its high quality white wine. Most of the vines grown here are white wine grapes; sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, chardonnay and semillion. Only 50 KM east of Cape Town, Stellenbosch is a region you should visit when in South Africa. This region offers much more than a chance to taste the wines, you also get a chance to explore the wine farms such as Clos Malverne, Spier, Vergelegen, Delheim, Ernie Els Wines and many others. You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities to do, restaurants and wine bar at this destination. Taste and explore as you like!
3. Paarl, South Africa
Photo Source: Travis Baker on Flickr
Just outside Cape Town, in the Western Cape, is an ancient settler’s town called ‘Paarl’ (Dutch for ‘Pearl’). This region has about 200,000 inhabitants and is an amazing wine producing destination. About 17 wine farms are in this region, among them are Boland Kelder, Laborie, Glen Carlou, Perdeberg, Rhebokskloof and many others. Paarl has very hot summers and freezing winters, which make it perfect for the production of a wide variety of wines; red, white or rosé, sparkling or dessert, you name it. And there’s more to see and do: Paarl Museum, Hiking Trails Limiet Berge Paarl, Polo Club at Val de Vie and other pretty amazing places and things.
4. Franschhoek Wine Valley, South Africa
Photo Source: Damien du Toit on Flickr
Franschhoek Wine Valley, is located at the heart of the South African Winelands. It is well known for its gourmet foods, serene and lush scenery, homely atmosphere and of course, its wine production capabilities. Franschhoek, has a strong French heritage, which makes it, “the food and wine” capital of South Africa. Franschhoek is full of a lot of wineries such as Boschendal Wines, Bellingham Winery, Chamonix Wine Farm, Allée Bleue Wines, Chamonix Wine Farm, Franschhoek Cellar, Haute Cabriere among others. It also has more than 40 wine cellars where you can taste some of the best wines the region has to offer.
5. Somerset West, South Africa
Photo Source: Travis Baker on Flickr
This is a beautiful olive and wine producing region of the South African Cape Winelands. Somerset West is known for its production of spectacular Bordeaux style wines and excellent accommodation. The region has quite a number of wine estates such as Lourensford and Morgenster…all very excellent wine growers and producers.
The Rest Of Africa
Although, South Africa is Africa’s leading wine country, there are other regions within the continent that can also hold their own when it comes to wine growing and production.
6. The Winelands of Algeria
Photo Source: Mouad b
This is arguably the second largest wine country in all of Africa. Algeria has several wine producing regions that rival the Cape Winelands of South Africa. Algeria used to be a force to recon with in the world of red and white wine, but recently, it’s wine production has dwindled down to 70 wineries, all concentrated in the Hauts Plateaux region, towards the Moroccan border. The region produces a variety of Algerian wines including Coteaux De Mascara, Coteaux De Tlemcen, D’hara, Béjaïa, Chlef and Algiers. Algerian wineries provide exquisite vineyard views, tours of the cellars and vineyards. It’s an amazing experience you should probably try!
7. Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Photo Source: Adam Axon on Flickr
Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are some of the best wine grapes grown in Morocco. Although, this country has had its fair share of ups and downs when it come to being a serious wine producing destination on the international platform, Morocco still commands some serious respect in this field. Mostly due to its superior wine growing region of the Atlas Mountains. Although, Morocco, mostly produces white wine, there are patches of Chenin Blanc, Muscat, Clairette, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grown in the region. Morocco wineries such as Atlas Vineyards, Boulaouane, Domaine de Sahari among others. Visit Morocco and go on a tour to discover some of the finest wineries in the region.
8. Ziway, Ethiopia
According to Billionaire wine producer, Castel; Ethiopia has the perfect weather and terrain for wine production. Since 1998, a little known region of Ethiopia, Ziway, has been growing some of the best white and red wine grapes from Bordeaux under the supervision of Castel’s wine experts. The winery now produces a local Ethiopian wine called ‘Rift Valley. The winery is expected to start seeing profits in 2016, but as of now, it produces millions of red and white wine that is consumed both locally and internationally. Rift Valley in Ethiopia is well-known for its abounding bird life and the dense acacia woodland encompassing the chain of seven lakes.
9. Chã das Caldeiras, Cape Verde
Within the crater of ‘Pico do Fogo’ a volcanic mountain in the Cape Verdian island of Fogo, lies a small wine producing community of about 1,000 people, Chã das Caldeiras. This region produces some of the finest red and white wines, Cape Verde has to offer. The popular wineries of Cape Verde are Chã and Sodade, they produce about 160,000 bottles of wine altogether in a year.
Photo Source: Christopher Rose on Flickr
Tunisia is all about ‘Rosé wine’. The red wine grape varieties here include, Grenache, Carignan, Cinsaut Mourvèdre, Alicante Bouschet, Syrah and Merlot. This is similar to most of Southern France. Tunisia also has a variety of white wine grape that include, Chardonnay, Muscat of Alexandria, and Pedro Ximenez. Most of these wines are produced in the Cap Bon area (Grand Cru Mornag, Sidi Salem, Mornag, Thibar, Coteau de Tébourba, Kélibia and Côteaux d’Utique).
These are some of Africa’s biggest wine producing regions. As you can clearly see, South Africa is the continent’s leading wine producing destination with some of its wines garnering world wide demand. For those of us who are particular about our wine, touring these regions of Africa will act as an eye opener to this continent that seems to never stop giving.
Have you visited any of these wine destinations? Share your experience with us in the comment below: