Vineyards of the Cape Winelands in the Franschhoek Valley make for the perfect day trip from Cape Town. Image: Adobe Stock

Cape Winelands on Forbes’ ‘bucket list’ of global wine destinations

American business magazine Forbes has named the Cape Winelands as one of its must-visit wine destinations.


Vineyards of the Cape Winelands in the Franschhoek Valley make for the perfect day trip from Cape Town. Image: Adobe Stock

South Africa is home to some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes and the Cape Winelands are right up there with the best. Not only are they spectacular, but they also produce some of the world’s finest wines.

Day-tripping through the Cape Winelands and visiting our wine farms for picnics and tastings is a favourite pastime for both locals and visitors.

Even though we can’t sample our wines at the moment, we can still head out to some of the estates for a picnic or lunch in gorgeous surroundings.

Cape Winelands listing a big honour

So, it’s no wonder the Cape Winelands made it onto Forbes’ bucket list of wine destinations around the world. Whether you are an oenophile, budding wine aficionado or just someone who enjoys a glass of wine, you’ll appreciate the honour of this listing.

It sees the Cape Winelands rubbing shoulders with some of the great wine destinations in the world, like Bordeaux in France and Tuscany in Italy.

Here is a round-up of Forbes’ pick of ultimate wine destinations to visit around the world.  

Wine destination 1: Bordeaux, France

Château Soutard-3 in Bordeaux, France. Image: John Cook/Flickr

Bordeaux is probably the most famous wine-growing region in the world and is renowned for producing world-class red wine and dry white wines. The region is home to a plethora of the world’s best-known wine estates with vines that can trace their ancestral roots back around 2,000 years to when the Romans ruled the area.

The wines of Bordeaux are ranked according to the reputation of individual châteaux (estate) and the most highly-ranked wines in this classification, are Château Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Haut-Brion, Margaux, and Mouton Rothschild.

The eye-wateringly high prices of these wines reflect their standing on the world wine stage – a single 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac Imperial fetched $24,400 (R374,000) in 2013.

Wine destination 2: Cape Winelands in South Africa

Franschhoek in the Western Cape, South Africa. Image: Franschhoek Wine Valley / Flickr

While the Cape Winelands has an array of beautiful regions that produce great wines, Forbes singled out wine tastings and tours in the Francophile town of Franschhoek. Nestled in the heart of one of the Cape’s most beautiful wine regions, the quaint village of Franschhoek was originally founded by the French Huguenots after their exodus to Africa.

Today, this little French corner is lovingly known as the “Food and Wine Capital of the Cape”, producing superb wines and French-inspired cuisine and drawing foodies, aficionados, and gourmands from around the globe. Home to centuries-old vineyards and South Africa’s only Cap Classique Route with more than 20 producers.

Wine destination 3: Tuscany in Italy

Tuscany, Italy. Image: Steve Hall / Flickr

Stretching from the Tyrrhenian coastline inland toward the Apennine Mountains in central Italy, Tuscany is home to some of the world’s most notable wine regions such as Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Brunello di Montalcino.

The regions produce the outstanding Sangiovese-based dry red wines that are best known, however, the region’s Vin Santo is also highly prized, as are its passito dessert wines, and dry white wines from Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

Wine destination 4: Catalonia in Spain

The Catalan countryside. Image: Mike McBey / Flickr

The wine region of Catalonia has a long winemaking tradition and was the birthplace of the sparkling wine Cava. Catalonia is regarded as distinct from Spain’s other wine-growing regions due to the versatility of its wine styles.

There is a strong French influence on two of its most recognizable wines, the Champagne-style sparkling Cava and its red table wines, which have similar characteristics to those produced in Roussillon, just the other side of the Pyrenees.

Wine destination 5: Slovenia

Slovenia Wine
Slovenia has more than 28,000 wineries. Image: Erin Johnson/Flickr

When one thinks wine, Slovenia isn’t the first place to come to mind. But, according to Forbes, “Slovenia is the underrated country that should be on every oenophile’s radar for this year and beyond.”

Home to the world’s oldest grapevine, Slovenia’s winemaking tradition existed long before the Romans introduced winemaking to France, Germany, and Spain and the tiny country has over 28,000 wineries, producing upward of 80 million litres of wine annually. With twenty wine routes to follow, you are bound to find a drop or two to whet your appetite.  

Wine destination 6: The Douro in Portugal

Douro is a Portuguese wine region centred on the Douro River. Image: Vitor Oliveira/Flickr

Boasting one of the world’s oldest demarcated wine regions, Portugal’s Douro Valley is on the travel list of every oenophile worth their salt. Sometimes referred to as the Alto Douro, the region is best known for its fortified wines, however, also produces some of Portugal’s most prestigious red table wines — from the area’s array of indigenous grape varieties like Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cao, and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo).