The Tygerberg wine region is one of the most popular in South Africa, with numerous wine estates that grow the finest grapes and produce great quality wines. Today it is not hard to find a winery that you can visit and explore the stunning surroundings as well sampling some of their great wines.
Tygerberg wine region is located on the northern outskirts of Cape Town in the Western Cape of South Africa. With its close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and its relatively cool climate, it is best known for its bright and lively white wines.
Records state that the first wines from the area were produced in 1702. It is believed that the area gets its name for the distinctive mounds that cover the countryside.
When looking from a top of the surrounds hills; they can look like the spots of a Leopard. Early settlers relating the name of the big cats of the area, named the regions hills Tiger Mountain (Tygerberg). The regions numerous vineyards can be found in the valleys and on the slopes of Tygerberg hills, taking advantage of a range of microclimates. The region is approximately 12km’s from the Atlantic to the west and some 25km’s from False Bay to the south.
The ocean has a profound effect upon the climate and growing season of the region. The south-easterly winds from False Bay are channelled up and along the hills in the early evening, cooling the vines after the intense heat of the day.
The exposed vineyards that sit up on the slopes of the hills benefit greatly from these winds, while the vineyards in the valleys are more sheltered. The size of the surrounds hills act as a climate-moderator, producing shaded spots and so reducing direct sunlight, and the elevation of some vineyards can also contribute to the areas microclimates. Red varietals prefer the warmer sites in the valleys, while white varietals do better on the slopes.
Throughout the Tygerberg region you can find shale type soils, which provides good drainage for vines and balanced water retention. The region receives ample rainfall in the winter months, resulting in the Tygerberg wine area only requiring irrigation during the driest of seasons. Grape growers in Tygerberg vineyards often practice the technique of dry-growing (where no irrigation is used on the vines) - and with careful management can produce grapes with rich, concentrated flavours.
While Sauvignon Blanc is the most prominent grape varietal grown in the region, cool-climate styles of Chardonnay and softer, lighter styles of Pinot Noir, Merlot and even Shiraz wines are also made in the region.