A scenic drive up the West Coast on the N7 will eventually lead you to the beautiful area of the Swartland. About an hour out of Cape Town will lead you to the beautiful sweeping wheat fields of the region, mediterreanan style fruit fields and winelands. Positioned ideally in between the Paardenburg Mountains and the flowing waters of the Berg River, the area is perfect for growing the perfect vines to make up some of the best wine the Western Cape has to offer.
With historic and beautiful towns dotting the region, the area is rich in wine making history. Malmesbury, Piketberg Porterville and the villages, Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeck West are found nesteled on the slopes of the Kasteelberg.
Pardenberg is directly translated to “horse mountain” and is a hilly, off the beaten track area with some of the highest vineyards above sea level in the region found here. Its climate is made up of very cold winters, hot summers with cooler temperatures at night. Vines are planted up the Paardenberg slopes with deep soils made up of decomposed sandstone, granite and clay while the northern side consists of glenrosa-scali type soil.
Vineyards are stretched over the lower contours of the Kasteelberg with the villages tucked into the shadow of the mountain. The soil is mainly Malmesbury shale, with loamy soil on the higher grounds and with loamy soil on the higher grounds and sandy loam lower down the mountain. The low-rainfall summer months, cool afternoon breezes and cold winters are perfect for viticulture.
This large and diverse region produces some of the most distinctive wines in the Cape. With its differing soils, climates and terroirs, the region experiences hot summers that are dramatically cooled down by the cool breezes coming off the Atlantic. The soils range from sandy, to deep red fertile soils all the way to granite. Situated close to Malmesbury, some of the most popular wineries are found in this region.
Berg River Region
Stretching from the banks of the Berg River to the foot of the Groot Winterhoek Mountains, the region creates some of the most unique and different climates and soils. Typically ideal as the Rhone style cultivars, the Berg River Region is a popular wine making area.
Estates and Wineries
Named after the sad fate of the historic farm in 1704 when it burnt to the ground, “All is Lost” seemed the perfect name to give to this estate. Today though, the farm is a thriving estate and winemaker, Danie Malan believes that their success lies in the terroir as well as the maturation in the oak barrels. The farm features a restaurant, Pleasant Pheasant, as well as conferencing facilities.
This estate, nestled on the slopes of Paardenberg, has been the proud recipient of the Veritas award for its Chenin Blanc. It is derived off a very high granite peak and winemaking at the estate started in 1948, and by 2000, owner Stephan Basson decided to renovate the cellars and start concentrating fully on typical Rhone style cultivars like the Mourverdre, Grenach and Viognier. The estate offers accommodation, fishing and hiking.
Husband and wife team David and Nadia Sadie have quickly made a name for themselves with superb, natural and honest wines true to the Swartland. David gained experience both locally (Waterford, Rustenberg and Saronsberg) and internationally (South Pacific Cellars – New Zealand, Chateau Quinault – France, Yves Quilleron – France). His wines are now rated as some of the best in South Africa by influential international and local wine critics.
Another husband and wife team, Chris and Andrea Mullineux run this boutique winery which produce some of the most elegant wines in the Cape. The vines, grown mostly around the shale and schist based Kateel Mountain, and granite of the Paardeberg mountain. Their minimal intervention and passion for winemaking are reflected in the wines that they produce.
Run by the outspoken and passionate Eben Sadie, this estate is world renowned for its fantastic wines. Founded in 1999 and releasing their first wine in 2000, the estate creates a small portfolio of highly converted wines based on Rhone varieties. Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, Carignan, Cinsaut, Tinta Barocca, Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Clairette Blanc, Viognier, Verdelho, Marsanne, Roussanne, Semillon Blanc, Semillon Gris, Palomino and others
Recognised as one of the top wineries in South Africa, this estate was established in 1948 and to this day, boasts a number of awards. The signature range of easy drinking wines, Eagles Crest contains three blends and a premium Indalo range. The winery produces about 23,000 tonnes of grapes a year and exports 70% of its product to more than 30 countries.
Coming out of the Swartland is one of South Africa’s most successful wines, the Chocolate Block. With farming by Callie Louw and winemaking by Jean Smit along with Marc Kent and Gottfried Mocke, the 2015 vintage is a blend of 71% Syrah, 15%
Grenache, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cinsault and 1% Viognier. A large component of the Syrah, Grenache and Cinsaut is grown on Boekenhoutskloof’s renowned vineyards – from the decomposed schists of Porseleinberg and from Goldmine on Riebeeksrivier.