10 More reasons to visit the Breedekloof Wine Valley
If trends are anything to go by, lesser explored wine valleys are going to be very popular in 2017 – here’s why
Most, if not all, wine lovers are familiar with South Africa’s more established wine routes: Stellenbosch wine route, home to many of South Africa’s most popular wine cellars, needs little introduction; Constantia, with its rich history as the home of South Africa’s most famous wine, Vin de Constance, draws a steady stream of tourists year-long; and Franschhoek, with its quaint French charm and many festivals is a familiar favourite for local and international visitors to the Cape Winelands.
Lately however there’s been a movement amongst both local and international wine enthusiasts to make wine discoveries along South Africa’s less trodden wine routes – and the Breedekloof Wine Valley, situated at the foot of the Du Toitskloof Mountains, and just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town; has been gaining a reputation as South Africa’s ‘most generous wine valley’ – as this wine route time and again impresses visitors by over-delivering on experiences – especially when it comes to their award-winning wines.
Here are some top reasons to visit the Breedekloof Wine Valley:
1.The trend toward authenticity
According to the recent Wesgro report on Food & Wine Tourism in South Africa there is a strong trend towards visitors requesting routes less travelled – routes that see less tourists and thus offer more authentic interaction than the larger, commercially-oriented wine routes. More and more visitors love smaller, family owned farms (the majority of the Breedekloof Wine Valley’s farms are owned and operated at least by the third generation, with some farms going as far back as nine generations of custodianship) where they can have a unique and memorable experience; where they are no longer just a tourist but can establish relationships with locals.
2. Tailor-made touring
With the trend towards tourists seeking out unique experiences rather than the traditional one-size-fits-all-tours, the Breedekloof is the ultimate point of difference in a tour itinerary. Being a highly-underrated wine route, inclusion of unique Breedekloof experiences allows for specialisation; which is fast-becoming a crucial factor when booking a tour. Filled with hidden gems, the Breedekloof offers a shift away from typical ideas of luxury travel and moves towards immersive experiences with local insiders. Book your tour via the Breedekloof Tourism office.
3. Off-the beaten path
Being a less recognized wine route, the Breedekloof Wine Valley does not experience the high volumes of foot traffic so common at more well-established farms. Life is slower on the other side of the tunnel, allowing for authentic and memorable experiences.
4. The most generous servings in the Winelands
The Breedekloof Wine Valley, with its unique and diverse terroir, allow for wines to be made from a wide spectrum of wine varieties – from dry premium red grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon to noble white varieties like Chardonnay, and also in a variety of wine styles, from Muscadel wine and Rosé and sparkling wines – allowing all visitors to find something that pleases their palate. Beyond the exceptional prices, a lunch in the valley will not only be much more traditional fare, allowing visitors to experience a more authentic style of food; but the portions are very generous. And that’s not to mention the prices of the wines….
5. Home to award-winning wines
From Opstal’s Platter 5-Star winning Carl Everson range to Du Toitskloof Cellar’s Platinum Muscadel SA Awards-winning Red Muscadel; Badsberg’s domination of the 2016 Young Wine Awards to 43 top awards from the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards for the Valley; there’s no question that the wines of the Breedekloof are of an award-winning standard.
6. Quality wines at competitive prices
Arguably the most competitive edge these wines have over others must be the price point. Rarely do even their top wines exceed the R250 per bottle mark, with most of the award-winning wines mentioned here averaging more towards R100 to R150 per bottle. Astonishing value!
7. A focus on South Africa’s foundation stone, Chenin Blanc, by the Breedekloof Makers
A visit to the Breedekloof Valley offers a unique opportunity to focus strongly on South Africa’s most internationally recognized and sought-after varietal. A group of winemakers in the Valley – the Breedekloof Makers – are elevating Chenin Blanc to another level by aiming to bring attention to the quality and diversity of Chenin in the region. The Breedekloof Wine valley has been synonymous with Chenin Blanc for decades – some farms are home to Chenin Blanc vines planted as far back as 1692. Wines in this initiative boasts some impressive awards, too, including a 5-Star Platter’s rating for Opstal Carl Everson Chenin Blanc 2015, and a Top 10 South African Chenin Blanc rating in the international publication The Drinks Business, for the Olifantsberg Chenin Blanc 2014.
8. Be the first to recognise the renaissance!
The Breedekloof Wine Valley has undoubtedly embarked on a mission of reinvention that surpasses simple marketing or a superficial rebranding exercise. The laser-focus on their strengths (Chenin Blanc, slow-ripening, old vines) and their willingness to reinvent and reinvest in new vineyards, technology and opportunities has infused the area with rejuvenated lifeblood. Building on the solid pillars of family heritage, this crop of winemakers is interweaving sustainability, technology and tourism with their legacy in order to promote the Breedekloof in unprecedented new ways.
9. Exciting architectural, food and accommodation developments
A beautiful and unique beacon of architecture now stands in the Breedekloof Wine Valley. Bosjes Valley Farm, opposite Botha Cellar, features a striking chapel, landscaped gardens and a restaurant where celebrated chef Pete Goffe-Wood consults, and where rustic lunch and dinners add to the signature style of this amazing venue. There is also accommodation in the guesthouse, which was stylishly decorated by Liam Mooney. According to the locals, this might just be the start of a handful of new, and equally exciting developments to grace the Breedekloof Wine Valley in the future.
10. It is one of the most beautiful wine valleys… in the world
Formed and cradled by the Slanghoek and Du Toit mountain ranges in the west and the southwest, and an extension of the Hex River mountains in the northeast, this wine region is one of South Africa’s most picturesque, and dramatically beautiful, wine valleys, that remains remarkably rustic and unspoiled. View a video on the Valley here.
Cover image credit: Jon Meinking