Wines making waves on our southern shores.

Along the curl of the Atlantic, fresh inspiration surges in from the Cape South Coast wine region. The ocean-infused collection of seven districts includes Elgin, the Overberg, Walker Bay, Swellendam, Lower Duivenhoks, Plettenberg Bay; and as the compass turns to the very edge of the African continent, Cape Agulhas. Generally speaking, the sea-wind-cooled vineyards of the Cape South Coast yield grapes that speak of their liminal origins, faceted with crystalline acidities and mineral freshness. The ocean acts as an almost constant air-conditioner, honing acidity and concentrating flavours from the inevitable longer hang-times this commands. Add to that ancient, poor soils and you have some of the toughest conditions for grape-growing in the Cape, and the wines are all the finer for it.

Explore these Cape South Coast wine districts:
Elgin
Overberg
Walker Bay
Cape Agulhas
Swellendam
The Lower Duivenhoks
Plettenberg Bay

Known to insiders as “little Burgundy” for its similarly cool climate (the coolest in South Africa) as well as its star grapes, chardonnay and pinot noir. Add to this many high-altitude and dryland farmed vineyards; Elgin is never short of rain. Aromatic varieties such as sauvignon blanc and riesling also fare well.

Paul Clüver Estate

South Coast Wine Region Paul Cluver

“Incredible chardonnay and pinot noir,” champions fourth-generation farmer-proprietor Paul Clüver when asked what makes his family brand special. The home of the wine, De Rust farm, goes back to 1896 when their first generation began farming in Elgin. Enjoy the tasting room, inside with a fireplace in the winter, or outside under the oaks when the sun is shining. The Clüver Restaurant serves tapas made from ingredients sourced locally as well as from their garden.
Wine Paul Clüver Estate Chardonnay 2020
Silk and cool sunshine unwinds with a rainbow of citrus, complemented by hints of honeyed brioche.
Opening times Monday – Thursday, 8am – 5pm
Friday – Sunday, 9am – 4pm
Contact 021 844 0605, info@cluver.com
Where to find it N2, Kromco turn-off, De Rust Estate, Grabouw
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Iona Wines

“It’s the coolest, highest winery in Elgin with a view over the whole valley,” enthuses proprietor Andrew Gunn about his vineyard rooted 420m above sea level. Married to fine artist Rozy, who has not only lent her eye to the grounds and tasting room (expect arresting art aplenty), but she has also taken the charge of the farming and works closely with the viticultural team. Iona focuses on producing age-worthy, elegant sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir.
Wine Iona Elgin Highlands Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2021
Spontaneously fermented in foudre allows this cool terroir to shine. White pear, peach and blackcurrant glide to a pinpoint dry finish.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm
Contact 028 284 9678
Where to find it Highlands Road, Elgin Valley
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Almenkerk

Set into the mountainside the tasting room and wine cellar is a stunning feat of modern wine architecture, allowing for unencumbered valley views. Family run, Joris and Natalie van Almenkerk are involved in every aspect of the business. Cameron Corney is their new winemaker, while Famous is famous for his warm welcoming smile at the chic tasting room.
Wine Almenkerk Chardonnay 2019
Minimalist winemaking techniques (wild yeast) and 10 months on the lees adds creamy backbone to radiant citrus.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Contact 021 848 9844
Where to find it 50 Viljoenshoop Road, Grabouw
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Oak Valley Estate

South Coast Wine Region Oak Valley

The gracious and sprawling Oak Valley was founded in 1898 by Sir Antonie Viljoen, who planted the seed of apple farming in Elgin – still the most commercially successful crop of the region. Over a century later apples are still farmed here, along with pears, greenhouse cut-flowers and, of course, award-winning wines. The farm is also well-known for its challenging MTB trails. Invites winemaker Jacques du Plessis: “In the shade of our ancient oak trees, we welcome guests to our tasting room and restaurant where you can enjoy our cool climate line-up of chardonnays and pinot noirs alongside the wonderful menu of The Melting Pot.”
Wine Groenlandberg Chardonnay 2022
Made from vineyards found high up on the Groenlandberg Mountain; flint, sea-breeze is balanced by tangy stone fruit intensity.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Saturday + Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Contact 021 859 2510
Where to find it 127 Oak Ave, Grabouw
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While the term ‘the Overberg’ is often used as a catch-all for many South Coast districts, it is indeed a separate entity. The Overberg comprises the Elandskloof/Kaaimansgat, Theewater, Greyton and Klein River. While there aren’t many actual wineries within this designated zone, the premium quality of grapes grown here sees them in high demand from other producers.

Lismore Estate Vineyards

South Coast Wine Region Lismore Estate

“Wine of Origin Greyton was created because of Lismore,” shares winemaker-owner Samantha O’Keefe. Another thing she is proud of she says is “we’re an all women team”. Originally from California, O’Keefe saw the potential for producing distinct wines from this terroir due to its “extreme cool climate, which produced really individual wines”. She qualifies this by saying there is snow on the farm in the winter coupled with low-ripening temperatures in summer. Her wines have been widely critically acclaimed.
Wine Lismore Estate Reserve Viognier 2021
Roundly touted as the best viognier in South Africa, the 2021 vintage doesn’t disappoint, think honeysuckle, peaches and ginger along a taut framework of saline acidity.
Opening times Monday + Wednesday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Contact query@lismore.co.za
Where to find it Tasting Room: 13 DS Botha Street, Oak & Vigne Courtyard, Greyton
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Thamnus Wines

South Coast Wine Region Thamnus Wines

Found sprawled under the dramatic Klein River mountains, Thamnus Wines focuses on just chardonnay and pinot noir. The 10-hectares of vineyards are regeneratively farmed using grazing sheep to suppress weeds, aerate the soil and allow cover crops to grow. A holistic farm offering, there is also free-range lamb, olive oil and fynbos honey available. Currently the manor house is being restored for an accommodation offering, expected in April 2024.
Wine Thamnus Pinot Noir 2021
Like sun-warmed earth, cedar and brambleberries, this evocative wine is complex and inviting, framed in fine-grained tannins.
Opening times Tastings by appointment
Contact 076 632 8002, admin@thamnuswines.co.za
Where to find it Off the R320 (Hemel-en-Aarde Road), near Caledon
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Named for Admiral Sir Baldwin Wake Walker who joined the Royal Navy at just 10-years–old, this long and sea-infused district begins in Bot River and winds its way along the coast, including the wards of: Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, Stanford Foothills, Sunday’s Glen and Springfontein Rim.

Beaumont Family Wines

South Coast Wine Region Beaumont Family Wines

Established in the 1700s, this Bot River farm is home to the area’s oldest wine cellar (as well as the country’s oldest watermill). The Beaumont family have been its custodians since 1974. “We have the oldest vineyards in the Cape South Coast, too” says winemaker Sebastian Beaumont. “We also pioneered syrah, mourvèdre and cabernet franc in this region,” he adds. Soak in all this heritage at the authentic Overberg farm with its whitewashed walls and black tin roofs.  Relax in the country-chic tasting room, enjoy the seasonal, farm-fresh menu from the Zest Deli & Kitchen; and you can stay over in one of ​the restored self-catering cottages.
Wine Beaumont New Baby 2021
“A no rules blend” of chenin blanc, sauvignon blanc, and colombar tastes like scooped sunshine and lemon sorbet; barrel ageing adds depth and spice along its electric spine.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 4.30pm
Saturday + Sunday, 10am – 3pm.
Contact 066 521 8155, info@beaumont.co.za
Where to find it Compagnes Drift Farm, Bot River
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Gabriëlskloof Wines

South Coast Wine Region Gabrielskloof Wines

Multi-award-winning winemaker Peter-Allan Finlayson says he never gets bored of the mesmeric views of rolling hills surrounding Gabriëlskloof. When it comes to preserving this natural beauty they play an active role as a Biodiversity and Wine Champion for their vineyard and cellar practices, and their wines are correspondingly fine. On-site restaurant Farro is just the place to take in those spell-binding views, with cuisine described as ‘classic-meets-comfort’. Gabriëlskloof Extra Virgin Olive Oil is available from the estate, too.
Wine Syrah on Shale 2021
From a single Bokkeveld shale site; violets, black olives, and spice. Jewelled dark fruit on the palate is laced with a crystalline acidity.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Contact 028 284 9865, info@gabrielskloof.co.za
Where to find it R43, Bot River
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Newton Johnson Family Vineyards

South Coast Wine Region Newton Johnson Family Vineyards

Curving up the famous Hemel-en-Aarde Road, from the blue sea up to the blue, blue sky, you can see where this beautiful valley gets its name from (it means heaven and earth). Newton Johnson is one of the original wine farms of the region, established in 1995. Run now by sons Bevan and Gordon, they have taken their parents’ passion for pinot and chardonnay to the next level. You’ll be forgiven for wanting to linger a bit longer and The Restaurant at Newton Johnson affords this with fine, contemporary cuisine to complement the estate’s wines. Gordon Newton Johnson says paramount for them is: “Purity of expression of the wines.”
Wine Newton Johnson Albariño 2021
While most certainly specialists in the Burgindian varieties, this unusual grape (for South Africa) has been done justice, with its peachy stone fruit and sea-washed salinity.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm
Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Contact 028 312 3862, wine@newtonjohnson.com
Where to find it R320 (Hemel-en-Aarde Road), Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus
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Creation Wines

“Creation’s fine wine alchemy is a rare blend of art, science, our people and a sense of place,” says owner Carolyn Martin. This high-altitude estate sits snug against the mountain and is absolutely threaded with fynbos. While a wine tasting on its own is simply spectacular, they have made an art of their food and wine pairings. Try the Serendipity Wine and Food Pairing Menu, comprising six courses. Also available is an à la carte menu, as well as breakfast. There’s accommodation too, in the form of the luxurious Die Voormanshuis farm cottage, for two guests.
Wine Creation Reserve Pinot Noir 2022
Effortless red berried succulence cossested in satiny-smooth tannins. This wine glows.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Contact 028 212 1107
Where to find it R320 (Hemel-en-Aarde Road), Hermanus
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Springfontein Wine Estate

South Coast Wine Region Springfontein Wine Estate

A monopole, Springfontein has its own designated ward called Springfontein Rim, set apart for its preponderance of limestone soil. The focus is organic, zeroing in on heritage grapes chenin blanc and pinotage. There are a host of activities to enjoy: from the Ulumbaza Wine Bar(n) and the fine-dining restaurant, Wortelgat, to farm-style accommodation as well as boat cruises.
Wine Terroir Selection Chenel 2021.
Chenel, the offspring of chenin and ugni blanc. Gentle stone fruit aromatics evolve, supported by a leesy, salty complexity.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 11am – 9pm.
Contact 028 341 0651
Where to find it 8 Wortelgat Road, Stanford
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South Africa’s southernmost point for viticulture, the climate here is maritime with the majority of the vineyards concentrated in Elim, a Moravian mission settlement founded in 1824. The ever-present gales that come off the ocean are the prevailing influence of this area.

Strandveld Winery

South Coast Wine Region Strandveld Winery

The southernmost winery on the continent of Africa, Strandveld’s windswept vineyards are something to behold under the limpid light of the Agulhas plains. The tasting room is in the farm’s old stable block, and when not too windy there is seating on the verandah overlooking the gardens. Make a night out of it and book into one of their beautifully-appointed vineyard cottages.
Wine Strandveld Adamastor 2020
Named for the sea god of wind and storms, sauvignon blanc and semillon unspools with cool climate minerality freighted with a touch of oak.
Opening times Monday – Thursday, 8am – 5pm
Friday, 8am – 4pm
Saturday 10am – 3pm
Contact 028 482 1902
Where to find it Die Damme Road, Elim, Bredasdorp
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Black Oystercatcher

South Coast Wine Region Black Oystercatcher

Proprietor and winemaker Dirk Human’s family have been farming this land for generations – it incorporates wetlands complete with resident hippos. Pioneers of the Elim ward, they planted vines here 25 years ago. Now, visit for a vibrant destination that includes tasting platters, a farm shop loaded with gifts, and cottage accommodation overlooking the resplendent Agulhas Plain.
Wine Black Oystercatcher Sauvignon Blanc 2022
Blackcurrant leaf, melon, and white peach. Stony with Elim’s characteristic line of salt.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Contact 028 482 1618
Where to find it R317, Bredasdorp
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The Giant Periwinkle

South Coast Wine Region Great Periwinkle

The Giant Periwinkle was established by advocate Pierre Rabie, who also happened to grow up on this coast. Rabie has recently gone into partnership with fellow advocates Robert Stelzner and Karen van Helde, purchasing a small farm just outside of Baardskeerdersbos with three-hectares of vineyards, a cellar and tasting room.
Wine Sun Spider Pinotage 2020.
Heroing its pinot noir parentage with luminous red berry fruit and the faintest tug of tannins.
Opening times Tasting by appointment (contact De Wet Groenewald to arrange)
Contact 082 465 8350.
Where to find it Portion 7 of Farm 213, Baardskeerdersbos
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This small Wine of Origin in the Breede River Valley comprises Buffeljags and Stormsvlei as well as even smaller wards branching off from the historic town at its centre – Swellendam, founded in 1743. Though further inland than its South Coast contemporaries, it still benefits from the moderating effects of the Breede River that is its lifeblood.

Olivedale Wine Estate

South Coast Wine Region Olivedale Wine Estate

Enter the mysterious and magical realm of Olivedale. This is no ordinary cellar (or indeed vineyard). Where else will you find antique furnishings and oriental carpeting next to bubbling tanks and barrels? “Our ethos is for a vineyard driven by nature,” comments owner-winemaker Carl van Wyk. “We planted the first vines in 2012. Our rule is ‘respect for nature’.” Enjoy a quixotic tasting with Van Wyk in his cellar of dreams.
Wine Wild Melody 2022
A skin-fermented blend of viognier, roussanne, semillon and verdelho with attitude aplenty; pineapple, preserved lemon and spicy white blossom abound.
Opening times Tastings by appointment
Contact 028 341 0651
Where to find it Olivedale Road, Buffeljagsrivier

Sijnn Wines

South Coast Wine Region Sijnn Wines

Just outside of Swellendam in its own Wine of Origin, Malgas, lies this completely unique, and very isolated, estate approximately 15 kilometres from the ocean. In fact to get there, a yellow pontoon will need to take your car across the Breede River. An incredible sight awaits, round river stones comprise the vineyard beds from which bush vines and aloes spring. The cellar is immutable with the landscape having been crafted from the same stones, designed by owner and architect David Trafford (of De Trafford Wines in Stellenbosch). Rising star Charla Bosman is the winemaker and comments: “We’re working with very interesting, Mediterranean grapes, and we’re having a lot of fun doing so!”
Wine Touriga Nacional 2019
Savoury and fresh, dark-fruited and curvy, with tones of thyme and mint.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Contact 068 769 7661, info@sijnn.co.za
Where to find it Malgas, Breede River
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Principally a grape-growing district, there is only one winery in this riverine region. The Lower Duivenhoks River twists along 83 kilometres from the Langeberg mountains in the Heidelberg area, finally flowing into the sea at St Sebastian Bay.

Baleia Wines & Olive Oil

South Coast Wine Region Baleia Wines

The Joubert family were inspired by the challenging terroir of limestone soils, a constant south-easterly wind in summer, very low rainfall and cold winters to plant vines and olive groves. The remote, windswept region gave them a feel of the Mediterranean. Interestingly it’s not just vines that thrive, the rare Canca fynbos can be found growing on the limestone outcrops, too. Now, over a decade after this alkaline soil was first dug into by the Jouberts, you can visit to sample their wine and olive oil, as well as their special house blends of coffee.
Wine Baleia Sauvignon Blanc 2022
Peach skin, blackcurrant weighted with tropical fruit winds along chalk-laced freshness.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Contact 028 713 1214, info@baleiawines.com
Where to find it N2 National Road, Riversdale
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A relatively young wine region, the first grapes were planted here in 2001 by Bramon Wine Estate. Though in its infancy, this coastal paradise is fast gaining renown for its cap classique, with the majority of the 18 estates producing some. The climate is moderate to cool, buffered on all sides by sea, with the route meandering from Harkerville to the Crags.

Newstead Lund Family Vineyards

South Coast Wine Region Newstead Lund Family Vineyards

The Lund family settled here in 2006, quickly planting vineyards, soon followed by a cellar and tasting room. Their property now also boasts a restaurant that serves farm-fresh cuisine, much of it sourced from their own gardens, as well as picnics to be enjoyed on their stunning grounds. They’ve quickly made a name for themselves with their award-winning cap classiques. Come enjoy it all for yourself – and take your time by booking into their accommodation in the form of the old farmhouse, which has been renovated into two self-catering suites (sleeping two each).
Wine Newstead Cap Classique Blanc de Blanc 2017
Awash with lime freshness and hints of toasty nuts.
Opening times Wednesdays – Sundays, 11am – 4pm
Contact 076 300 9740, info@newsteadwines.com
Where to find it Redford Road, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay
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Bramon Wine Estate

South Coast Wine Region Bramon Wine Estate

There’s nothing quite like lunch at a table in the middle of their vines overlooking the Tsitsikamma Mountains. Bramon can claim pioneer status for being the first to plant vines in the area circa 2000. Now, visit here for wine tastings as well as enjoy the aforementioned restaurant, with picnics also being available.
Wine Bramon Cap Classique 2019
Made with 100 per cent sauvignon blanc, unusual for a cap classique; expect racy steel cut apples and a refreshing mousse.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 11am – 5pm
Saturday – Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Contact 073 833 8183, therestaurant@bramonwines.com
Where to find it N2, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay
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Luka Vineyards

South Coast Wine Region Luka Vineyards

This family-owned, boutique estate specialises in sauvignon blanc. Owners Laura and Phil Harvey literally set sail across the world, docked in the Garden Route and never looked back. Experience this piece of paradise that so enchanted the Harveys with a visit to Luka Café for breakfast, lunch and picnics with views over the vineyard and mountains beyond.
Wine Luka Sauvignon Blanc 2023
This wine is only available at their restaurant, however other wines from the Plett Wine Route can be purchased from their farm shop.
Opening times Tuesday – Sunday, 9am – 4pm
Contact 073 833 8183, laura@lukavineyards.co.za
Where to find it HKV80 Harkerville, Plettenberg Bay

The South Coasters are a collective of new wave producers that have banded together to showcase more alternative expressions from the Cape South Coast. Most are own-label producers (with some estates), and include the likes of Brunia, Charla Haasbroek Wines, Saurwein Wines, Maanschijn, Thamnus Wines, Lelie Van Saron, Deep Rooted Wines, Van Niekerk Vintners, Weather Report and Kindred Coast. Visit www.thesouthcoasters.co.za for more information.

Which are your favourite South Coast wines? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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Disclaimer:

The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

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2 Responses to “20 Gems of the Cape South Coast Wine Region”

  1. Claire

    Why is Jakkalsvlei Vineyards near Herbertsdale, 55km from Mossel Bay not mentioned?

    Reply
  2. Garrie Bolton

    Returning to the Overberg after Xmas and this article has wet our appetites.Overberg still a hidden gem as far as we are concerned and hoping it stays that way. Thank you
    Garrie & Margaret UK

    Reply