Wine estates in Hermanus
The name Hemel-en-Aarde Valley or, in English, Heaven and Earth Valley, conjures up pictures of a garden of Eden and perhaps ephemeral bodies floating in the air – this particular valley is a veritable garden of grapes and the wine produced is fit for the gods!
Take a meander up the Hermanus Wine Route on the R320 and discover some of the best Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinotage, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz wines in the country.
The current reputation for outstandin
g cool climate wines that the Hermanus Wine Route enjoys was pioneered by Tim Hamilton Russell who planted the first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes in 1975. Together with winemaker Peter Finlayson he established that the vineyards’ proximity to the sea and the ensuing cooler growing climate would maximise the potential of the noble cultivars.
Today the route unites the passion of 15 wineries, each producing small quantities of premium quality wines that reflect the unique terroir and climate of their vineyards. Innovative blends are gaining in reputation as well with Peter Finlayson leading the pack with Bouchard Finlayson’s Hanniball, awarded five stars by Platter’s Wine Guide in 2012.
There is a sense of renewal and excitement every year as new cellars uncork their first vintages and stalwarts count their awards. There are rumours of some exciting Méthod Cap Classique wines that will soon be circulating.
The names of cellars and wines, often alluding to heavenly or biblical stories have added a quirky and original aspect that threads these properties together on the R320. At La Vierge one will encounter Temptation, Original Sin and Satyricon on labels; then there’s Heaven, Creation, Mount Babylon, Jakob’s Ladder and Hemelzicht to discover.
The topography of the area with mountains on either side and the proximity to the sea is not only perfect for the growing of grapes, but it also produces cellars with the most heavenly views. Many have taken advantage of this and added a restaurant to their list of attractions, making it a divine experience for lovers of food and wine.