Breede River Valley
The Breede River Valley is in the Western Cape of South Africa, and is well known for its wine and fruit-producing farmlands. It is very wide and flat, with the Western side being very low (only around 80m above the sea-level), and the Eastern side being more hilly. The valley itself tends to have a large amount of rain during the winter seasons (between May and September), and snow is a common occurrence during these months, while summers can be very warm indeed, with December-March the hottest months. The springtime and autumn can have a great deal of rain, although temperatures vary between very mild, and almost wintery, including experiencing some snow.
These Mediterranean-type climates, and the landscape, help to ensure that Breede River Valley produces almost a fifth of all South Africa’s wine, from grape to glass, and the region now boasts one of the largest wine routes in the world, known as Route 52. There is plenty of irrigation from the river, and most of the grapes which are produced here are heavy, meaty berries, mostly being used for restaurant and multiple-barrel wines. Typical produce of the region are Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat, as well as Chardonnay, Colombard and Ruby Claret.
The Breede River Valley is divided into three parts, known as the Worcester, Robertson and Breedekloof districts. The first of these is the biggest district for wine production in South Africa, making almost a quarter of all South African Wines. It is located close to the Hex River Valley, which is ideal for grape-growing, and has allowed Worcester to become the capital of the Breede River Valley region. Worcester also produces a number of spirit wines, including brandy, but it has won national awards for the quality of its wines, as well as providing some very cost-effective wines for those who just want something to go with their food.
Robertson, the second district, is perhaps just as well-known as Worcester for the quality of its wine-making, and it also produces the majority of the Western Cape’s red grapes, such as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Most well known for its dessert wines, Robertson has around 14 wine-grape-producing estates, and a number of collective and private producers of bottled wine. There are estimated to be around 50 wine cellars registered in this district, and it has received international recognition for its efforts. It continues to produce excellent quality wines along with value-for-money alternatives which are appreciated by local wine fans.
The last of the Breede River Valley districts is Breedekloof. This has become well known mostly due to its proximity to Cape Town, being only an hour’s drive from the city. Due to this, there are more than 22 wine growers in the district, and there are also boutique wine cellars and large estates producing their own wines. There are also independent wine-makers hoping to develop unique new-world wines. Breedekloof produces a number of white wine grapes, such as Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay, as well as red grapes such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.