South Africa | Cape Town
The Cape Town wine region is a recently designated district named after Cape Town, one of the world’s foremost tourism brands and incorporates the wards of Constantia, Hout Bay, Durbanville and Philadelphia.
On the southern slopes of the Table Mountain range and its world-renowned floral kingdom lies the historic Constantia valley, the cradle of winemaking in the Cape. The valley, which falls within the Cape Peninsula disrict, was the site of Simon van der Stel's 17th-century wine farm and the origin of the Constantia dessert wines which became famous throughout Europe during the 18th century. Rooted in ancient soils, the vineyards climb up the east-facing slopes of the Constantiaberg, where the vines benefit from the cool sea breezes blowing in from False Bay. The ward receives about 1 000mm of rain annually, making irrigation unnecessary, and has a mean February temperature of 20.6°C. There are only a handful of cellars in this premier ward, where the cool climate favours the production of white wines, notably Sauvignon Blanc, and where the tradition of producing remarkable wines since 1685 continues.
The acclaimed Cape Point vineyards, some of them a mere 1.2km from the sea, are situated on the western edges of the Cape Peninsula. This cool-climate maritime pocket in the district of Cape Town is recognised mainly for its Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
The vineyards of Durbanville, like those of Constantia, lie very close to Cape Town and border on the northern suburbs. Several estates and wineries, situated mainly on the rolling hill slopes with their various aspects and altitudes, continue to make a wide variety of wine styles. Some of the vineyards grow at altitudes as high as 380m above sea level. Wines from this ward attracting attention are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep soils, cooling sea breezes, night-time mists and close proximity to the ocean are beneficial factors when it comes to the quality of the grapes. A newer ward north of Durbanville, Philadelphia also benefits from cooling Atlantic influences. The hilly terrain of this area means some of the vineyards are higher than usual, up to 260m above sea level. This facilitates a significant difference in day-night temperature and results in slower ripening. Some highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots and red blends have already emerged from this promising appellation.