Wine Stories

Bot River Wine Route

Written by Veronica Lavenia

Top quality artisanal wines and commitment to biodiversity are some of the characteristics of Botriver’s wine production. The Bot River is taken as a symbol to represent the wine of this amazing South African region. The wineries are located at the foot of Houwhoek Pass, one of the Western Cape’s most sought-after wine regions due to its cool, maritime climate.

The particular climate with cool breezes from the Bot River lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean compensates for the valley’s hot summers. The Bot River’s mild, frost-free winters and rainfall complement the irrigation of the vineyards.

Let’s find out more from the words of Kate Emanuel, head of communication Botriver Wine Route

© Bot River Wine Route

What are the peculiarities of the territory and its wines? 

Bot River is unique for many reasons, but not for many more than the spirit given to it by the hard-working and generous folk that dwell amongst its lovely landscapes. The diverse corners of the region lend themselves well to a wide variety of farming too – fruit, wheat, oats, cattle, sheep. From a viticultural point of view, there is a general assumption made by outsiders – which may be peculiar. Being situated further south of the more established wine regions of the Cape (e.g. Stellenbosch, Swartland, Paarl) one assumes we have a cooler, or less severe climate. Not true. It gets very, very hot out here.

© Bot River Wine Route

The wind also blows with the strength of a thousand bottlenose dolphins during the summer months. As a result, the air is dry, but indeed crisp and clean. As such, the vines struggle for moisture, but breathe good air, and produce fruit with incredible concentration – not too gentle of a climate at all.

© Bot River Wine Route

What services/activities do you use to promote your wine region? 

The majority of the producers do work with WOSA (Wines of South Africa) to keep the wider tourism industry informed. Additionally, almost all of the wineries have tasting rooms and invite (with or without appointment) the public to taste their wines most days of the week.

© Bot River Wine Route

These tasting facilities are hubs of activity and information sharing about the area where parties are often sent along to their neighbours to taste too. There is a great sense of camaraderie amongst the producers. There have been annual harvest celebrations too – hosted by and for the communities of winegrowers – to help promote the region. One such, the Barrels & Beards celebration has garnered quite the reputation for being a unique gathering with great food and wine.

© Bot River Wine Route

Can you briefly describe the areas of cultural and enotourism interest of Bot River Wine Region?

The center of the wine route is regarded as the town of Bot River, from which all of the producers in the area are very reachable – a 10 minute drive at most. Although it may be a way off of becoming a buzzing town of tourism and culture, it has some alluring quirks, a few wonderful places to have a good drink, and some delicious food at a few pleasant restaurants. Most of the tourist accommodation surrounds the town on farms and smallholdings.

© Bot River Wine Route

What is the goal set for the near future to spread your excellence more and more internationally? 

There is a driving force amongst the producers to instill cohesion amongst the establishments in the area offering tourism activities, to bring in more visitors – local and international – to experience the area.

© Bot River Wine Route

A more comprehensive and multifaceted offering is indeed present but the information could perhaps be available in a more central and visible space. As for goals and the future – a continued effort from the winegrowers to keep building the already impressive reputation for incredible chenin blanc and syrah.

© Bot River Wine Route

Why are the wines of the region so special? 

Great terroir is a crescendo of many things. But the human touch – an oft-forgotten component – is one which is regularly underestimated. The hard-work, camaraderie and honest sharing of knowledge amongst the winegrowers has gotten them far, and will continue to improve the already reputable wines.

© Bot River Wine Route

There is great spirit in the Bot River region. Pair this with the beautiful landscapes, winds from the not-so-distant sea, and rugged personalities, one could almost assume the wine will be nothing but special. 

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About the author

Veronica Lavenia

(Speech) Writer and magazine contributor, some of her works have appeared in the most popular International magazines.
Her scientific papers have been published in some of the most renowned international literary academic journals.
Writer| Translator| Communications manager at "The Wolf Post", since the birth of the platform.

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