Breede River Valley
The largest Wine Producing Region of Western Cape
Some wine lovers might have heard about the rich wine heritage of South Africa. The wine regions of South Africa are defined in a way similar to that of French appellation.
The country is producing some excellent wines across the major wine regions designated as Geographical Units.
The Western Cape is one the GI wine regions of South Africa and we can say it’s an important wine region in the country.
This is a large multi-regional designation and covers various appellations. With this designation, the region in question, Breede River Valley is the largest wine producing region.
With three wine districts and fifteen wards, Breede River Valley is known for some excellent wines.
Let’s see all about this region here…
History of Winemaking in Breede River Valley
Before knowing the history of winemaking in Breede River Valley, let’s quickly review the history of the region itself.
It is said that settlers arrived in the valley only during the seventeenth century for cultivation purposes as the farmlands surrounding the Cape became sparse.
The livestock farming activities that were conducted here led to the establishment of towns like Worcester and Robertson.
It was only during the mid-nineteenth century that the first vineyards of Breede River Valley were planted with the arrival of German settlers.
Today, the region is harboring almost 40% of the total vines planted in the country.
The wineries here are of various sizes, including smaller, boutique wineries to larger cooperative wineries.
Looking at the Location and Geography of Breede River Valley
This region is found to be sheltered as it is surrounded by mountain ranges on its three sides. The Breede River Valley wine region is found to be stretching from Breedekloof to Swellendam in a west-east direction.
This way, the valley is running for about 130 kilometres from west to east.
The Breede River Valley has been separated from other important wine regions of South Africa by the Klein Karoo semi-desert and the Boland Mountains.
As mentioned earlier, within the valley, there are three wine districts, which are namely,
This is among the largest wine producing districts and is producing almost one-fourth of the country’s total wines. Particularly, this region is famous for its table wines.
This is famous as the youngest wine route in the country stretching from Gouda in the west to Montagu in the east.
The district benefits from a temperate climate and mountain slopes. This part is particularly famous for its sparkling, table, and dessert wines.
This is another important wine producing district and is better-known for the production of rich and fruit-driven wines.
Topography and Climate of Breede River Valley
The vineyards of the Breede Valley are found to be covering a wide variety of terrain. When compared to the other valley floors in Western Cape, this is found to be broad and flat.
The average floor height is found to be 80 to 250 meters above sea level.
As such, the grapes that are being used for bulk production and distillation purposes are planted on the valley floor near the river banks.
The vines that are being used in the production of premium wines are planted in the foothills of the mountains surrounding the valley.
Here, the vines are enjoying the advantage of the microclimates gifted by the altitude and nature of the slopes.
The region is found to be containing a variety of soils. As such, we can find alluvial soils with sandy loams in some parts, and some rocky and stony soils in other parts.
We can also find shale, sandstones, and gravelly soils in the major vineyard sites.
Grape Varieties in Breede River Valley
The major grape varieties of Breede River Valley are found to be:
I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..
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