Constantia, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are the three most visited areas and for good reason. These are the original wineland areas with fascinating historicies and you will not find a finer combination of wines, restaurants, architecture and general mountain scenery. The Hemel and Aarde Valley, Tulbagh, the West Coast and Cedarberg Wineries all have their own distinctive character and great wines.
Here are some of his tips for getting great shots
• Take a ladder or a vehicle that has a sturdy roof that you can climb on top of. Sometimes its great to get high and take photographs over the top of the vines showing their fantastic forms. Please don’t fall off the ladder or drop your camera. I did both photographing books.
• Get behind the scenes. Whether it’s the man pruning vines in the fields, the winemakers or the chef, there are great photos and stories to be told.
• The days can be dramatic in summer with interesting clouds and vivid green colours, but the real magic usually happens at dawn and dusk as the light fades, the mountains turn to gold and the skies turn a deep orange
• It takes time to get great shots. If you want to photograph the Winelands make sure you stay in a hotel or guesthouse, which is well positioned for early morning and late afternoon photography.
• Harvest time lasts from December through to April. The farmers are very busy at this time of year but if you make arrangements you might sneak some interesting shots of work being done such as pressing grapes or harvesting. In the Tulbagh area much of the harvesting is done at night and it makes for fascinating photography.
• There are often very clear and warm days in winter when you can photograph the stark beauty of the dark vines against the green. And if you are lucky enough to have snow in the mountains then you are in for a really dramatic scene.
• Try and take a cellar tour for some interesting low light photography of bottles. Make sure you remember your tripod.
• Organic farms are often proud of their chameleons and ladybirds and low impact on the environment. At Villiera, bring your long lens – there are lots of birds and small antelope to be seen.
• The Winelands have wonderful restaurants and the food is also extremely photogenic. Place the food in shadow areas to get the best photographic results. The town of Franschoek is probably best known for its food but Stellenbosch and Constantia also have many award winning restaurants.
• The Cape Dutch Architecture is remarkable in places and your itinerary should include some classic farms such as Vergelegen and Rustenberg.
David Rogers photographed Winelands in Style (Africa Geographic) and leads photographic tours in the Western Cape including some of the most iconic wine farms. Contact him for more information.