Wine Tours in South Africa & The Vindaba

South Africa will be presenting the country’s first specialist wine tourism exhibition, Vindaba, in Cape Town at the Cape Town International Convention Center from 25 to 27 September 2012.  The local wine and tourism industry are uniting to showcase the best in South African wine-related tourism, with the backing of national and provincial government.   Vindaba, which marks a new spirit of collaboration among tourism bodies, is intended as a launching pad to position South Africa on the world map of wine tourism.

With over 50 international hosted buyers and media, a range of networking events and seminars, free flow access to Cape Wine (South Africa’s premier wine trade show), a unique public open day and jam packed itinerary-based tours for buyers after the event, Vindaba is set to become South African wine tourism’s premier international show. 
Up to 150 of South Africa’s best wine tourism offerings will be on show at Vindaba.  Covering all well known as well as lesser-known wine routes the show covers “beyond the bottle” offerings from the Orange River to the Klein Karoo and beyond.  From accommodation to adventure and gourmet to relaxation, not to mention some of the world’s most beautiful wine tasting settings, Vindaba showcases all the very best of South Africa’s world-class wine tourism offering.   A unique spatial concept has been designed to enhance the visitors’ experience.  Exhibitors geographically related to one or other wine route will be clustered together in rough “villages” of stands, enabling the dynamic diversity of the South African wine travel offering to be better understood and enjoyed.


Since the end of apartheid, South Africa has steadily been welcomed back onto the world stage as a major new-world wine producer.  Across the Western Cape, there are 18 wine routes, and 2 brandy routes, and they are among the most scenic in the world, featuring many historic wine estates that date back centuries.


South Africa’s winelands stretch from the Cape Overberg in the south-western Cape, through the little Karoo and the West Coast into the adjacent province of the Northern Cape.  There are also wine farms in the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and even Gauteng.  The Cape Winelands are the most well-known, and include the Route 62 wine route, the world’s longest wine route.


There are so many exciting and different adventures to enjoy in the Cape Winelands.  At the Robertson Wine Valley Hands-on-Harvest Festival you can go grape stomping, or ride a horse to the highest point overlooking the whole Robertson valley, or go down to the Breede River for a gentle river cruise and a delicious country lunch. 
You could make your own verjuice and vinegar, or enjoy a spitbraai (barbeque) in a Bedouin tent.  The Bot Riviera Spring Festival is another event not to be missed for country conviviality at it’s best. Wineries and restaurants paint the town, and entertainment varies from horse riding, fly-fishing, wine and olive oil tastings to blending and tasting wine, sumptuous meals, live music, pottery and art exhibitions. 
At Mont Destin in Stellenbosch you and your loved one can soak away all your stress in an outdoor Pinotage wine bath.  With the whole vineyard to yourselves, relax in the warm, anti-oxidant packed liquor, sip estate wine and revel in the beauty of nature.  It’s bacchanalian bliss, au naturel, of the highest order.  The Solms-Delta End of Harvest Festival in Franschhoek is another fantastic event, where you can feast on Boerekos (traditional Cape Afrikaans food).  The Cape vernacular music draws together farm workers, wine producers, and music lovers for this cultural heritage celebration.


Pinotage is South Africa’s local grape, a cross-pollination of 2 grape cultivars, pinot noir and cinsaut, formerly called ‘hermitage’.  Developed in 1925 by South African viticulturist, the late Professor Abraham Izak Perold, pinotage was one of many experimental cross blends that were trialed at that time.  In fact, the only 4 pinotage vines in existence almost ended up on the bonfire. 

Fortunately for pinotage fans, the vines and their seedlings were rescued as they were about to be destroyed.  These were later propagated (in 1941) at Welgevallen experimental nursery in Stellenbosch by Professor CJ Theron, who also produced the very first pinotage wine.  Regrettably, Professor Perold died that same year without having a chance to taste the wine.  Regarded as the trump card of the local wine industry, pinotage is gaining international acceptance as a standalone varietal.  Robust, versatile and capable of producing top quality red wines, growers in New Zealand, California, Australia, Brazil and Cyprus are planting the inky-red grape.  Today pinotage is 1 of the 4 most widely planted red grape cultivars in South Africa.  Robust and easy growing with good yields, pinotage is most planted in the regions of the Swartland / Darling, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Wellington, followed by Breedekloof, Worcester, Olifants River, and Robertson.


KwaZulu-Natal wine is the new kid on the block in South Africa’s 350-year-old viticultural history.  Barely older than a decade (the first real trial vineyards were planted in 2001), KwaZulu-Natal vineyards, though embryonic, have survived naysayers, Mother Nature, and charlatan winemakers, to produce wines with gravitas and Old World finesse.  KwaZulu-Natal wines give another dimension to South Africa’s wine offering, and Western Cape winemakers are following the region’s progress intently.


Road Travel Africa tailor make your wine tour around what you want to experience.  You tell us what types of wine estates and or farms you’d like to visit and the types of wine you like.  If you have no fixed idea or solid plan, we will arrange a tour that will be fun and insightful.  We can offer our clients so much more because of our connections within the wine industry and our extensive experience within the industry.  We can arrange meetings with the winemakers and estate owners, as well as walks through the vineyards and cellars.  At Road Travel we keep up to date with all the latest happenings and events, and know all the hidden gems that most people haven’t heard of yet.  Contact a Road Travel Africa consultant to put together the ideal South African Wine Tour for you.