Stellenbosch

The town of Stellenbosch in Western Cape's Coastal Region, is steeped in history and is home to the country’s best-known wine estates. Cabernet Sauvignon is the region's most widely planted grape variety, and is often combined with Merlot to create Bordeaux Blend wines.

Stellenbosch is just 25 miles (40km) east of Cape Town. Simonsberg Mountain in the north separates it from Paarl, while the Hottentot Hollands Mountain range on the eastern side separates it from Walker Bay. False Bay lies roughly 12 miles (20km) to the south.

Vineyards cover the gently rolling hills of Stellenbosch, from Helderberg in the south to the lower slopes of Simonsberg Mountain in the north. This terrain allows for a lot of variation in wine styles, and mesoclimates suitable for the cultivation of all sorts of grape varieties can be found among the exposed hills and sheltered valleys.

Granite and sandstone soils are found throughout Stellenbosch. Their high clay content means that while they are free draining they have excellent water-retention properties. Sufficient rainfall in winter allows growers to keep irrigation to a minimum. The region's climate is relatively hot and dry, although a maritime influence comes from False Bay in the south. Cooling southeasterly breezes wash through the vineyards in the afternoons, refreshing the grapes after the morning's hot sun. White-wine varieties are often planted closer to the ocean where this effect is more pronounced.

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