Western Cape

Swartland The Swartland begins roughly 30 miles north of Cape Town and consists of the regions between the towns of Malmesbury in the south, Darling in the west, Piketberg in the north and the Riebeek West and Riebeek Kasteel in the east.

The name Swartland is thought to have come indigenous vegetation, called Renosterbos or "rhino bush." After the rains and in the summer months, these bushes take on a very dark appearance. Thus, the early Dutch settlers called the area “Het Zwarte Land” (The black land).

The soil types vary greatly in the region and are derived from Malmsbury shales, Bokkeveld shale and Cape granite. Decomposed granite soils are associated with Paardeberg mountain and the shale and schist soils with Kasteelberg mountain. Deep, well-drained reddish-brown soils near Malmsbury are also highly regarded.

The climate is mostly hot, Mediterranean, but altitude has a moderating influence as does proximity to the Atlantic in the western part of the region.

Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are the predominant white varieties planted in the Swartland. The most-planted red varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinotage, and Merlot. Red wine varieties represent about 60% of total plantings.