Welcome to the Paarl Wine Valley – Your gateway to Cape Wine Culture
The Paarl Wine Route, renowned for its rich, full-bodied spicy, red wines and crisp white wines, is the second oldest wine route in the country.
Paarl played an important role in the establishment of the wine industry in South Africa with KWV, the first commercial wine cellar in South Africa dating back to 1918 and also Nederburg Wines, who initiated the first international wine auction 40 years ago.
Several of SA’s oldest cellars can be found in Paarl, and the majority do not disappoint lovers of the old Cape Dutch architecture, of which many are declared National Monuments.
The Paarl Wine Route is spread out around the Paarl Mountain, the second largest granite outcrop in the world and the only one that is surrounded by vineyards and home to the Paarl Mountain Nature reserve with its ancient wild olive trees, rock candlewoods, Proteas and other endemic ‘fynbos’ vegetation thriving amongst giant boulders. The majority of the farms in Paarl also subscribe to the Biodiversity & World Initiative guidelines, - to preserve our rich floral heritage by rehabilitating a portion of the land of the most vulnerable endemic species on its land.
The area is best known for the quality of its Shiraz, the climate in particular favouring this variety; though Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinotage, Viognier and Mourvèdre are increasingly well regarded.
Paarl is the most tranquil wine region amongst the biggest production areas in the Cape Wine lands with vineyards and wineries within the town and surrounds. The sense of family is still very strong in this area not only through farms that have been in families for generations but also providing places where families can enjoy lazy days spending quality time – it is our lifestyle. We are serious about producing quality wines but we do not take ourselves as serious.
Since 1918 Paarl has been at the forefront when it comes to innovation with the founding of KWV, this first commercial wine cellar in South Africa.
In 1937 when then owner of Nederburg, Johann Georg Graue (viticulturist, brewer and tea specialist), revolutionise wine-growing and winemaking and pioneer many important changes that impacted the entire South African wine industry, such as cold fermentation to promote wine quality. Taking over as winemaster from Graue was Günter Brözel, who became a legend in the South African wine industry. Günter introduced many exciting innovations, including noble late harvest wines. His legendary dessert wine, Edelkeur was released at the inaugural Nederburg Auction of Rare Cape wines in 1975 and is still offered exclusively through this channel.
Innovative highlights of our region:
The first Noble Late Harvest wine produced in the world (Nederburg Edelkeur 1937) ⎸The first white Pinotage in the world was made and bottled in Paarl (Mellasat Vineyards – 2008) ⎸The first Pinotage desert wine in the world was made in Paarl (Laborie Le Pineau de Laborie) ⎸ First blend in the world using Tempranillo, Tannat and Tinta Amarella in a blend (Druk My Niet – T3 2010) ⎸The first Viognier bottled in South Africa (Fairview) ⎸The first Bordeaux Blend bottled in SA (Welgemeend) ⎸First fortified desert wine made from Pinotage (Laborie Estate) ⎸The Boland Cellar Granny Smith Nouvelle wine - new variety by crossing Semillon and Ugni Blanc ⎸ The latest innovation from KWV, being a proudly South African Pinotage “Earth’s Essence” fermented and matured with wood from the indigenous South African Rooibos and Honeybush.
And the list can go on and on…..
The Paarl Wine Route is fairly big and for that reason we have made it easier for you to plan your day based on your key interests.
- Food & Wine Pairing Journey – if you are keen to experiment with tastes or just want to find out more about how to pair food with wine this journey is the answer.
- Heritage Journey – for those who love the Cape Dutch Homesteads and want to find out more about the history of the wineries situated on this route
- Pinotage Journey – for those who are interested in this Proudly South African varietal. Taste some award-winning Pinotage and be adventures to try some of our Pinotage Innovations.
- Innovate Journey – taste world firsts or SA firsts on this journey
- The adventure Journey – love nature and the outdoors? Hiking trails, MTB single tracks and more awaits you at the wineries that are nestled at the foot of Paarl Mountain.
- Sunday Journey– want to do something out in the country on a Sunday but not sure where to go? We have put together a selection of wineries and restaurants.
- The Child-friendly Journey – restaurants and attractions that cater for the little ones
From the luxury of a guest house on a working wine estate, visitors can enjoy activities such as fishing, hiking, MTB, climbing and picnicking: and of course, tasting delicious wine. The eating options are many: from traditional South African to Italian, French and Eastern-style cuisine.
Flanked on all sides by exceptional winelands districts, Paarl truly is the gateway to Cape wine culture.
Only tickets holders will gain access to the venues and the various entertainment on offer. The cost paid for the ticket includes wine tasting and access to the venues. Please note: even if you don't drink wine, you still need to pay the access fee as you will still be able to enjoy the other non-wine related activities (live music etc).
Several wineries are offering events and activities that require pre-booking. Please refer to the programmes and book directly with the appropriate winery.