The Paarl Wine Route is also called the 'Red Route' for its legendary red wines.
Cabernet Sauvignon, port and Shiraz wines have established Paarl's place on the global wine map and the region has repeatedly received international awards for these wines.
The Paarl wine district lies to the north of Stellenbosch, and is bordered by the town of Wellington to the north east, and the mountains of the Groot and Klein Drakenstein and Franschhoek ranges to the south east.
The Berg River, which rises in the high mountains overlooking Franschhoek, winds its way to the sea through an ever widening valley, flanked by the majestic Groot Drakenstein and Wemmershoek Mountains, on through Paarl and past Wellington.
This is the life giving artery of one of the country's major wine producing areas. The most important areas situated along the upper reaches of the river are: Franschoek, Groot Drakenstein and Paarl.
There are three main types of soil in the Paarl wine district: along the Berg River, which runs through the town of Paarl from the south to the north of the eastern sector, the vines are grown on the sandy soil of Table Mountain sandstone; on the mountain slopes around Paarl and in the south east the soil is decomposed granite; and in the north east it is Malmesbury shale.
The pH content in the soils of the Paarl district is low, as it is in Stellenbosch, and deep ploughing with liberal application of the agricultural lime is necessary during soil preparation.
The valley land requires supplementary irrigation in the hot growing season before the harvest, but vineyards on the eastern slopes, having better water retention, frequently need none at all.
The wine estates and cooperatives that are members of the wine route arrange tours for visitors and provide an opportuity to get to know the wine makers personally, to taste the wines and to purchase some of the excellent and great variety of red and white wines:
Wine cellars on the route are:
African Terroir, Anura Vineyards, Ashanti, Avondale, Backsberg Estate, Bernheim Winery, Boland Kelder, Coleraine Wines, De Zoete Inval Estate, Domaine Brahms, Fairview Estate, Frost Vineyards, Kleine Draken, KWV International, Laborie Estate, Landskroon Wines, Nederburg, Nelsons Creek Wine Estate, Perdeberg Co-op, Rhebokskloof Estate, Seidelberg Wine Estate, Simonsvlei, Vendome Wine Estate and Windmeul Winery