Franschhoek grows

The Wine and Spirit Board has announced its proposal that Franschhoek should become a district (how many people know that it is at present merely a ward of Paarl?). Also that it is going to grow a bit bigger than it is now. Of which issue, a crucial aspect is that two more farms will now be entitled to call their home-grown wines WO Franschhoek: Allée Bleue and Solms-Delta. (You can almost hear the gnashing of the teeth of some far-flung and opportunistic members of the Vignerons de Franschhoek, who are firmly in the Simonsberg-Paarl ward, but presumably think that Franschhoek should be extended as far as them, at least.)

Also, as you can see from the map (if you look closely, and have a vague idea what you’re looking at: the hatched area is the proposed new district, with the yellowish area on the right the existing ward) a long triangular wedge of Simonsberg-Paarl is to be annexed to Franschhoek – the bit that is on the Franschhoek side of the 311 road going up through Pniel to Helshoogte. This will take in the main Boschendal house, and presumably the newly-enlarged ward will now include a large (the larger?) chunk of the confusing Boschendal estate (or estates or rich housing development or golf club or whatever it is in the process of becoming).

And Franschhoek will no longer be a part of Paarl, but a district in its own right. I’m not at all sure that that will have any significance apart from the fact that it will, in theory, be able to be further subdivided into wards. That’s what happened, for example, when Darling was excised from the Swartland – it was a district, with Groenekloof a ward within it. Same when they created Cape Agulhas with Elim as a ward. But when, a good few years back, they made Cape Point a Wine of Origin area, they also made it a district, rather than a ward, despite the fact that it is fairly small (with only one winery in it). Constantia is a ward, and so is the newer Hout Bay, in the same part of the world.

In warmer climes, Calitzdorp was proclaimed as a district, rather than as a ward. Maybe the rationale (and I’m sure there is one – I have great respect for the delimitation committees, who do their job of assessing terroir with great diligence and scientific rigour) is that a ward has to be pretty uniform in character, while an area that includes more diversity must perforce become a district. But then a ward shouldn’t be able to become a district, as has just happened with Franschhoek – it should always have been a district. Perhaps they’re being stricter now than they were in the bad old days. Oh well, just another of the many many things I must find out the answer to – sometime, when I have the leisure and the energy.

And of course the Wine and Spirit Board has a long way to go in dealing with some of the stranger decisions of the past – notably, perhaps the fact that Franschhoek will still be part of the Coastal Region, with not a coastline anywhere near it….


Notices about all these changes appeared recently in the Government Gazette and a few newspapers, and are posted on the Sawis website. I also just noticed there a proposal to extend the boundaries of Constantia to include a new farm high on the Constantiaberg.

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