The Cape South Coast is one of the world’s most breathtakingly beautiful wine regions. This wine region sits upon the place where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet at the southernmost tip of Africa. The Cape South Coast is a relatively new wine region but has grown dramatically in popularity and production thanks to its perfectly cool climate that is well suited for wine growing. The vineyards of the Cape South Coast wine region are situated at as high as 426 meters above sea level and have an extended and long growing season thanks to the cool winds from the surrounding oceans.
Where is Cape South Coast Wine Region?
Cape South Coast wine region is part of the Western Cape Geographical Unit. It is located to the east of the Coastal region and surrounded by other important wine-producing regions such as Coastal Region, Breede River Valley, and Klein Karoo wine regions.
South African wines filled with the essence of the ocean and the land
Almost all of the grapes used for the production of South African wines are grown along the Cape South Coast coastal zone because of its perfect climate and highly fertile soil. The landscape is extremely unique with steep, folding mountains that run parallel to the dramatic coastline. These mountains and geological formations have for many centuries been exposed to long periods of severe weathering which had provided the perfect soil type for viticulture. The soil is composed mainly of clay minerals like iron and aluminium oxides, with a higher level of acidity.
Wine Districst of the Cape South Coast Wine Region
Places you shouldn’t miss during your wine trip to Cape South Coast Wine Region
The Cape South Coast wine region is home to six wine districts that are situated within its borders. These wine districts are the Cape Agulhas, Elgin, Overberg, Plettenberg Bay, Swellendam and Walker Bay wine regions. This wine region has only recently been designated an official South African wine region. The Cape South Coast region is made mainly of large open spaces of land with small pockets of vineyards that are blessed by exposure to ocean breezes, high levels of rainfall and the perfect soil or the growing of grapes. The region is home to a range of diverse wine makers that mainly specialise in grapes that ripen slowly over time to develop more intense levels of flavour.
The Elgin Valley is known for producing excellent red and white wines from sustainable vineyards along the Kogelberg Biosphere protected area. Further, towards the coast, Hermanus is recognised for producing some of South Africa’s best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines that are made using a complex blend of grapes.
The smaller areas of Elim and Napier, further north along the coast, have a unique terroir that allows for the production of excellent Semillon and Shiraz. The winery Ataraxia Wines has a 47-hectare vineyard on its property in one of the most beautiful environments you’ve ever seen… And if you want to taste wines paired with local food, the team of Seven Springs Vineyard is waiting for you!
Upcoming regions – Hidden gems
The Cape South Coast wine region is home to a number of upcoming spots and lesser-known hidden gems. Some of these that must be visited on a trip to the area are Breakfast Bay, a secluded spot on the boundary of the Vermont Nature Reserve; Davies Pool in Onrus; the Marine Tidal Pool which is carefully tucked away underneath the famous Marine Hotel in Hermanus with perfect views stretching over Walker Bay; and Lovers Cove on Grotto Beach; Piet se Bos – a magical fairy garden that extends all the way to the beach. Visit these spots for the perfect photo opportunities and for long-lasting memories.
Red grape varieties
White Grape varieties
What to Expect From Capes South Coast Wines
The grapes that are grown in the Cape South Coast have highly concentrated flavours but are still able to retain their high levels of acidity. These intense flavours are heightened by the fact that only low yields are produced and the care taken in working the vineyards.
The Cape South Coast has recently seen an increase in the production of sparkling wine and currently there is an estate making a singular Cap Classique sparkling wine using Sauvignon Blanc grapes.
The Elgin area of this wine region is famous for its award-winning wines which have been described by wine lovers across the world as elegant and filled with amazing fruit flavours. Elgin is well known for the production of excellent and high quality red and white wines.
The wines produced in Walker Bay are more innovative than the Elgin wines and they are best known for the complex red wines and premium wines coming from this area.
Where to Taste Local Wines
Discover this newly born, breathtaking wine region through its wineries and taste some of the award winning wines. We prepared full list of Wineries in Cape South Coast Wine Region, where you will find some of our local partner wineries with open cellar door.
Check out some of them below:
Estate in a High Mountains
Ataraxia Wines is located in a high position close to the coastal village of Hermanus, from where a short, beautiful drive will bring you to the highest part of the Winelands.
Here, you can have a great landscape while sipping some of the best wines of South Africa.
Gabrielskloof is a family-owned winery producing wine with their philosophy of minimal intervention to let the vineyards express great potential. Their vision is to produce the best possible wines that show the complexity, diversity, and richness of the Gabrielskloof terroir.
Plan your visit and taste their world class wines produced with sustainable and organic way.
Caledon is the capital of the Overberg region and is the best known and most well-loved town in the area. Caledon is the seventh oldest town in South Africa and is located at the foot of the Klein Swartberg mountain range. The history of the Caledon begins with the Dutch settlers who arrived in the Cape and named the town ‘Bad Agter de Berg’ meaning bath behind the mountain.
Today Caledon is best known for its incredible natural mineral waters, hot springs and wildflowers which bloom in Spring each year. Caledon offers a wide range of activities to suit the needs of all tourists. The most popular attraction in Caledon is the Caledon Casino, Hotel and Spa which is elegant recently renovated hotel perfectly located on the site of the Caledon hot springs. Visitors to the hot springs can enjoy the benefits of the spa water and then spend time in the casino and enjoy a meal at one of the hotel’s dining facilities.
Another attraction in the town of Caledon is the Caledon Museum which offers visitors a glimpse into the heritage of the Caledon community and is home to a range of artefacts from the old Victorian homes that were typical of Caledon in the past. The Caledon Museum Shop is attached to the museum inside the Town Hall and stocks a range of local goods, arts, crafts, dry flowers and home-baked goods.
For nature lovers, Caledon is home to the Caledon Wildflower Garden and Reserve which is home to most species of fynbos and is famous for the extraordinary Window Rock. For those wanting to visit the Window Rock, there is a 10km walking trail. A range of tours are available for visitors including walking tours with experienced guides.
Elgin- Experience the Magic of the Elgin Valley
Elgin is a small town in a large, green and lush area of land in the Overberg regions that is completely surrounded by mountains. The Elgin Valley is situated 70km south-east from the City of Cape Town along the ridge of the Hottentots Holland Mountain range. This area of South Africa is one of the most intensely farmed regions of the country and produces 60% of South Africa’s national apple crop.
In recent years, Elgin has developed into a large and thriving wine industry and the Elgin valley wines have won a range of local and international awards for their excellent quality and flavours. This wine-growing region is the coolest in South Africa because of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, the wind directions and the high altitude. The cooler temperature also brings large amounts of rainfall, making the conditions perfect for wine growing. The Elgin wine farms provide the perfect attraction for visitors to the area and most offer not only excellent wines but also great food and other activities for leisure and relaxation.
Restaurants in Elgin that are a must-visit for all food lovers are the Barn Restaurant at the Old Mac Daddy resort, the Elgin Country Club, the Elgin River Lodge, Her Harvest, the Hickory Shack, the Houw Hoek Hotel and the Orchard Farm Stall.
Swellendam – Gourmet and Adventure Tourism at Its Very Best
The town of Swellendam is the third oldest town in South Africa and is situated in the Western Cape Province of the country. The town has an incredible 50 official heritage sites, most of the buildings built in the historical Cape Dutch architectural style. Swellendam is located approximately 220km from the City of Cape Town. The main tourist attractions in Swellendam are the Drostdy Museum, the Faerie Sanctuary, Rain healthy and beauty products, Weldebraam Farm, the Bontebok National Park and Marloth Nature Reserve.
Swellendam has in recent years become known as one of the fine dining capitals of South Africa and is regularly visited by tourists from around the globe who come to experience the town’s range of excellent restaurants.
TIP! Top restaurants in Swellendam that should not be missed are La Sosta Restaurant, the Drostdy Restaurant, Koornlands, Powell House, The Garden Shack, Field and Fork, Woodpecker Pizzadeli and Paradise Organic.
The town of Swellendam is a haven for outdoor, nature and adventure lovers thanks to its range of incredible outdoor activities. There are a number of hiking and mountain biking trails in the town and its surrounding nature reserves and national parks as well as two excellent golf courses.
Along the journey don’t forget to enjoy the view
The Cape South Coast is one of the most naturally beautiful regions in South Africa. Not only does its unique location provide a dramatic background of folded mountains meeting the sea, but it is also home to a number of nature reserves and protected areas. The region is perfect for nature lovers and provides the perfect playground for hiking, walking, mountain biking, swimming and water sports.
Hermanus Cliff Path
Meander along the coast and lose yourself in the endless views
The Hermanus Cliff Path is one of the town’s most popular attractions and most beautiful features. The path meanders for 11 kilometres along the rugged Hermanus coastline from New Harbour in the west to just passed Grotto Beach in the east. The entire walkway of the cliff path is protected as part of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve which was created to protect the fragile surrounding ecosystem. When walking along the Cliff Path there are a number of beautiful spots to sit, relax and enjoy whale watching across the ocean, particularly during the months of August and September. The Hermanus Cliff Path was originally built by the Hermanus Botanical Society and today it is cared for by the local residents of the town from their own private time and donations.
Walker Bay Nature Reserve
Whale watching paradise in the Overberg mountains
The Walker Bay Nature Reserve is a unique coastal nature reserve just east of the town of Hermanus. The reserve is made up of five small coastal areas with the largest being Walker Bay which stretches from Klein River to Gaansbaai. One of the most picturesque parts of the reserve is Die Plaat, a long stretch pf perfect white beaches with rocky limestone outcrops. For many visitors this is the perfect place to relax and watch whales from the shores of the beach. Walker Bay also has great historical significance and has recorded linked to the Middle Stone Age people living in the reserve’s caves. There is also evidence that the reserve was home to the Khoi and San people 2000 years ago.
Betty’s Bay Penguin Colony
It’s absolutely impossible to look at a penguin and feel anything but happy
The Betty’s Bay penguin colony is situated inside the Stony Point Nature Reserve and is one of the largest successful breeding colonies of African penguins in the world. The Stony Point Nature Reserve offers visitors the unique opportunity to see penguins close up via a boardwalk path through the colony.
This pathway gives visitors a glimpse into the daily lives of these amazing birds in their natural habitat. Along with the penguins, in the colony, one can also see the Crowned Cormorant, the Cape Cormorant and the Bank Cormorant breeding on the outer rocks of the reserve. Not only is the penguin colony an incredible natural attraction but it also has historical significance as it is the site of the old Waaygat Whaling Station which used to harvest and process whale meat. The infrastructure of the whaling factory can still be seen on the site of the penguin colony.
Food is our common ground and a universal experience
The Cape Malay influence dates back to the 17th century when the strandlopers foraged from the land and the sea and the settlers brought with them spices from the east. After the Malay slaves landed, additional slaves were brought in from India who brought with them classic Indian delights and curries. Along with this, traditional South African recipes were handed down through generations of Afrikaners with French heritage. All of these incredible influences have created a unique Cape South Coast cuisine that has something to please every food lover and which should not be missed.
Geelrys – The Official Side Dish to Every Traditional Meal
The name geelrys is an Afrikaans word that directly translates to yellow rice. This dish is a classic side dish across South Africa and was created to add spice and flavour to plain boiled rice. With a few additions, the dish is sometimes eaten on its own as a light lunch. The secret ingredient used in making yellow rice is turmeric which is a yellow spice with a subtle flavour. Along with the turmeric, cinnamon is added to the rice to create an Asian flavour.
Turmeric is not the only spice that is used to make yellow rice and saffron can be used to give the rice the same beautiful colour. Once the ingredients are in the pot, the potjie is placed on the fire and left to cook slowly without stirring. The final product is a deliciously rich stew with strong flavours that taste like the essence of South Africa.
Potjiekos – Keep Calm and Potjie on!
Potjiekos is a traditional South African dish that has its roots in the Afrikaans culture of the country. The work potjiekos when translated into English means ‘small pot food’ and it is a stew that is prepared outdoors over a fire.
The stew is traditionally cooked in a potjie which is a round, three-legged cast-iron pot that descended from the traditional Dutch oven that the settlers brought to South Africa during the 17th century. A traditional potjiekos dish is made of meat and vegetables like carrots, cauliflower and cabbage and is served with a starch such as rice or potatoes.
Mala Mogodu – The Taste of the Local African Culture
Mala Mogodu is a local traditional African dish made with tripe and served as a stew with hot rice, maize or dumplings. Mogodu is tripe, which is the stomach of the cow and Mala is the intestines of the animal. This dish is considered a delicacy across most of Southern Africa and is normally cooked with a lightly curried flavour. The flavours of the dish are sometimes enhanced with hot green and rich chilli peppers depending on your preference and tolerance for spicy foods.