WINE PRODUCTION AREAS

 


 

Shim

 

PAARL

 
About 50 km from Cape Town, Paarl is situated beneath a large granite outcrop formed by three rounded domes, the prominent one named Paarl (which means pearl) rock.

This scenic town is home to the KWV and the venue for the world-renowned Nederburg Auction. The summers are long and warm, and rainfall enough to make irrigation advantageous only in exceptional circumstances. A large variety of grapes are grown in Paarl, of which Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc have the best potential.

The Paarl district includes the wards of Franschhoek, the 'cuisine capital' of the Cape which has retained its French Huguenot character; Wellington, a burgeoning wine area which is producing some promising wines; and the newest wards, Simonsberg-Paarl, on the prime foothills of the Simonsberg, and Voor-Paardeberg.

The Franschhoek valley lies to the southeast of Paarl and is enclosed on three sides by towering mountains: the Groot Drakenstein and Franschhoek mountains which meet at the top of the valley and the Klein Drakenstein and Simonsberg mountains, found further down towards Paarl. Streams from the higher peaks flow down to the valley floor where they converge to form the Berg River, fast-flowing in winter when snow caps the peaks and a mere stream in summer, fed by the Wemmershoek Dam.

Some of the Wellington wineries stretch over alluvial terraces towards the Swartland's rolling hills and wheat fields, while others are found in the foothills of the towering Hawequa mountains, where folds and valleys create unique mesoclimates. Wellington, which supplies over 90% of the South African wine industry with cuttings, has some 30 grapevine nurseries, situated here due to the appropriate soils and warm summers. In winter, snow sometimes covers the mountain tops and night temperatures are generally cooler than at the coast some 45 miles away.