Hemel-en-Aarde Wine Valley
Bordering Walker Bay - a breeding ground for Southern Right whales on their annual winter migration - is a 20-kilometre stretch of vineyards known for their unique terroir and maritime character, which derive maximum benefit from the high elevation and cool sea breezes.
The earth has, over millions of years, shifted and moved, creating the wide variations that make up the area's three distinct appelations. Each winery produces small volumes of premium-quality wines in sustainably managed vineyards.
Hermanus is a haven for adventure lovers, with the Walker Bay Xtreme a feature on the calendar of thrill-seekers. Besides whale watching there is shark cage diving, mountain trail hiking and biking, as well as wine-and-food pairing for the less adventurous.
Hemel-en-Aarde has, over the past few years, become recognised as a destination for wine and food enthusiasts, especially of Burgundy-style pinot noirs and chardonnays.
Hemel-en-Aarde (meaning "Heaven and Earth" in Afrikaans) is an area of 15 wineries in the Walker Bay Wine Region that rises from behind the coastal village of Hermanus. Its terroir – clay soil and the cool south-easter that acts as a vortex, cooling down the vineyards with cold air from the Benguela current – imparts a unique flavour to wines, which are often compared with those of Burgundy.
Each winery in Hemel-en-Aarde produces small amounts of highly individual, terroir-driven premium wines that carefully express the winemakers’ personalities.
The Hemel-en-Aarde winegrowers is situated on a 20km-long meandering route (the R320) rich with vineyards, wine estates, restaurants and undoubtably one of the most scenic areas in in Hermanus.
Activities offered by this beautiful coastal town include visits to Fernkloof Nature Reserve, various beaches, the Hermanus Country Market, the Lembu Gallery and Studio, numerous gift and crafts shops and stalls in the centre of the town, and some of the best whale and dolphin watching in the world.
- Scenic drives
- Adventure sports: surfing, kayaking, mountain biking
- Hiking in between fynbos and vineyards
- Cellar tours
- Wine Hoppers safari-style tour from cellar to cellar
- Top golf courses in close proximity
- Vineyard tours
- Kogelberg Nature Reserve, Kogelberg Biosphere UNESCO World Heritage Site
Hermanus has a variety of festivals for visitors, including the Hermanus Whale Festival held in September, the Hemel-en-Aarde Hermanus Pinot Noir Celebration and the Hermanus FynArts Festival in June. This resort town has an active social calendar, so watch the press for details.
Big 6 experiences in and around the South African Winelands
There are many things that South Africa can boast about, but arguably, there are two things that sit on top of that impressively large list of bragging rights: wine and safari. Few other destination can match up in terms of diversity and quality, so why not combine them? Next time you visit the SA winelands, be sure to pair the world class vintages with the might and beauty of the Big 6 and more.
From Vine to Glass: South African Wine & Traceability
In the Middle Ages wax seals were used to authenticate documents. South Africa’s own sustainability wine seal does a similar job. The seal guarantees that the information on the bottle label about the variety, vintage and origin of the wine is accurate and that the wine has been grown and made in an environmentally friendly way. To date, South Africa is the only country in the world with such an all-encompassing guarantee.