Heart of the South African Wine Industry
The Coastal Region, which is located within the Western Cape district, is considered to be the heart of the South African wine industry.
With seven districts and seventeen wards, this region boasts the majority of wine production in the country.
The official viticultural zone of Coastal Region measures about 65 miles in the north-south direction and about 30 miles in the east-west direction.
This region accounts for almost half of the country’s total vineyard area. As the historic birthplace of the South African wine industry, this region stretches from Darling in the north to Cape Point in the south.
Now, you would have understood the significance of this region – let’s learn more about this region right away here…
A Little on the History of Coastal Region’s Wines
It is believed that the history of South African wine industry began in the Coastal Region. Constantia and Stellenbosch were known to have contributed to the viticultural history of South Africa.
It was Cape’s second Governor, Simon van der Stel, who established the wine estate in Constantia.
It is said that the French refugees who settled here in the late seventeenth century introduced vines, as well as winemaking in the Coastal Region, especially, in the northern areas of Paarl, Tulbagh, and Swartland.
Topography and Climate of the Coastal Region
Topographically, the Coastal Region is found to be bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west and on the eastern side, the region has been separated from the Breede River Valley by the Boland Mountains.
To its south, the Hottentot Hollands Mountains is protecting the region from the oceanic influences.
Apart from these, we can also observe several standalone inselbergs dotting the regions of Paarl Rock, Paardeberg, and Simonsberg.
As such, the region is found to be taking the climatic influences from both the Atlantic Ocean and the above-said mountains.
Thus, the region is experiencing a variety of mesoclimates and hence, the areas closer to the coast are experiencing a maritime type of climate with lots of ocean breezes, whereas the areas farther from the coasts (inlands) are experiencing a Mediterranean type of climate.
The mountains that are bordering the western part of the region are bringing cooling influences to the inlands.
When it comes to vineyard cultivation, the higher altitudes combined with the trapped cloud cover would help refreshing vineyards and contribute to the diurnal temperature differences.
I would say these factors are providing a positive effect in the vineyards of the Coastal region.
When we look at the soils of the region, we can understand there is a great diversity throughout the region.
Among others, the major soil types that are found in the region are weathered granite, Malmesbury shale, and Table Mountain sandstone.
Wine Districts of the Coastal Region
The seven districts of the Coastal Region defined under the Wine of Origin scheme are as follows:
Cape Point District
This is located at the southern tip of the Western Cape and is known for its maritime vineyards. There are four wineries in this district.
This district has one ward within it and has a total of seven wineries.
This is the hottest among the wine regions of Western Cape. However, this district has as many as 152 wineries and four wards.
This district has seven wards and is considered to be the crown jewel of the country’s wine industry. There are 542 wineries in Stellenbosch.
This has two wards and can be said as the country’s wine region to watch. It has 65 wineries.
There are 13 wineries in this wine district.
It has two wards and 21 wineries.
Wine Grapes of the Coastal Region
The region has a wide variety of wine grapes throughout. Some of the major varieties are as follows:
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Chenin Blanc
- Cabernet Sauvignon
#4.2 More about the region
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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