Tucked between the seaside town of Hermanus, the Cape winelands and Elgin, the Hemel-en-Aarde valley is not as well-known as Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. It has a more subdued sensibility, and feels more unexplored. But with striking visual appeal, rolling vineyards and fertile grounds, it’s said to be South Africa’s answer to Burgundy, France.

To get around, we catch a ride with Wine Hoppers, the hop-on, hop-off safari-style local wine tour. It’s fun and easy, and a guide takes us to a handful of farms on a whistle-stop tour of the area. Along the way, we discover that the signature wines of the valley are pinot noir and chardonnay, the more than 20 wine producers in the valley are almost all family-owned operations, and most produce small-batch, high-end wines...

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