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© Jennifer Stern© Jennifer SternMost of the wine-growing areas and wine routes are situated near Cape Town, heading up the West Coast towards Vredendal, along the East Coast as far as Hermanus, inland as far as de Rust, near Oudtshoorn, and straight north as far as Upington. If you’re really into wine, the big decision is which few hundred wineries to leave out. It’s a hard choice.

South Africa has been producing fine wines since the 17th century but, while local wine makers still treasure some old and established varietals and styles, new attitudes, methods, technologies, understanding and enthusiasm have revolutionized the way wine is made, and a tour of the Winelands is a delightful and delicious voyage of discovery.

And, of course, as part of the transformation of South Africa, change within the wine industry continues to gather momentum – not fast enough for some, perhaps, but positive and measurable nonetheless. Empowerment initiatives, literacy and skills training and steady improvements in living and working conditions have taken place throughout the industry at all levels. There is also a responsible and dedicated attitude within the industry to environmental and sustainability issues and a very careful approach to production methods and ecological and agricultural responsibilities. It is, for example, heartening to see flocks of white ducks marching through the vineyards munching snails like an eco-friendly pest control squad.

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