This is the first appellation as you leave Hermanus and enter the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley (geographically speaking). It is also home to the first vineyards planted in the area and is the closest to the Atlantic Ocean of the three appellations.
The overwhelming majority of the vineyards in this appellation are planted on northeast, north and northwest facing slopes of Bokkeveld Shale-derived soil on the southern side of the Onrust River. This soil has an unusually high clay content which although it varies from 25% to 55% tends on average to be much higher than the Malmsbury Shale-derived soils of the west coast. The clay contents of these soils approximate the clay contents of the Cote D’Or in Burgundy, although they tend to be shallower and far stonier. In addition, they do not have the limestone content or limestone bedrock, but have pure clay subsoil and solid shale bedrock. For the South African winelands these soils would be classified as low-vigour and more marginal.
Higher up the northern slopes of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and on the south facing slopes of the valley, the soils are Table Mountain Sandstone-derived. These quartzitic, sandy soils have a very low to non-existent clay content and are light structured, generally far deeper and have the potential for greater vigour.