South Africa's wine industry goes back to the first European settlement, at Cape Town, more than 350 years ago. Dutch traders established an outpost to supply ships with fresh food and water. Cape Town was roughly halfway between the Netherlands and Dutch trading outposts in Asia.
When the French Huguenots settled at the Cape in 1680s they brought with them the skills and knowledge to truly get viticulture off the ground. The Cape has a mild Mediterranean climate (with winter rainfall) and other conditions that make it suitable for cultivating grapes.
Although most of their grape varieties were imported, South Africa's winemakers have also developed their own cultivars. The most famous is "pinotage," a cross between Pinot Noir and cinsaut.
Tourists may spend a day or more visiting the vineyards in Worcester, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Olifants River, Robertson, and other regions. Most wine estates offer tastings and several have excellent restaurants. Like the building in the picture, many of the estate houses and outbuildings are elegantly built in the Cape Dutch style of architecture.
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Photograph courtesy South African Tourism