South African Wine

 

The history of wine-making in South Africa began as the Dutch East India company established a “refreshment station” at the Cape for trading fleets (a precursor to the truck stop) in 1652. Jan van Riebeeck, the first Cape governor planted the first vineyard in 1655 and others followed with various Dutch immigrants. The Constantia vineyard was first planted by Simon van der Stel and gained some notoriety. But since the Dutch, face it, aren’t really known for their viticultural skills, it wasn’t until the French Huguenots settled in the Cape around the 1680s that more refined wine-making techniques were practiced. 
 
But South African wines still had yet to catch on in the rest of the world. In the 18th century, there was a shortage of proper oak barrels for aging, and terroirs and climates had yet to be matched to the grapes most suited to grow in them. But the British occupation of the Cape finally helped nudge things along in the mid century, since they Read more »

Mentor for South African Wines

Mary John Baumann, DWS

Accredited wine expert with advanced wine education, sales and lecturing talent. Creative marketer with demonstrated success in global marketing and development of leading multinational luxury brands.

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Popular wines made in South Africa under $20

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Varietals Produced in South Africa View all

  • Pinotage

    History of the grape: In 1925, Stellenbosch University Chief Horticulture Professor Abraham Izak Perold created the P...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc is widely grown in California -- at over 15,000 acres, it’s now the third most planted variety -- and...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Chenin Blanc

    History of the grape: Modern day French oenologist Pierre Galet states Chenin Blanc has been in France at least since...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

  • Syrah

    The irony here is that Syrah’s origins could give Carmen Sandiego a run for her international wallet. Syrah’s deepest...

Subregions of South Africa

  • Breede River Valley

      The Breede River Valley is a low altitude, flat wine region in South Africa. Much of it ha...

  • Bot River

  • Coastal Region

      The Coastal Region, within the Western Cape district, is considered the heart of the South...

Popular Wineries in South Africa View all

  • Jam Jar

    Jam Jar was born out of the realization that there are not a lot of options available to consu...

  • Neil Ellis Wines

    Neil Ellis Wines differs from most South African wineries in that instead of owning vineyards we ...

  • Nederburg

    Nederburg is South Africa's favourite name in wine, loved for a delicious combination of fruit an...

  • Obikwa

    A South African Winery specializing in classic South African grape varieties such as Sauvignon ...

  • Boland Kelder

    Situated in the picturesque Paarl Valley, Boland Cellar has much to boast about. Nominated as one...

  • Fleur du Cap

    Fleur du Cap - one of South Africa's premier and best-known wines — is one of the flagships of th...

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South Africa on Snooth

  • Good dry Brut (not the off dry version I had tonight) Champagne first choice. ... whether from Savennieres or South Africa. In Oz and SE Asia have found a number of Aussie and Kiwi chards and dry semillons (and sparklings) to work. Sake works just fine, too.Plenty of other options, I'm sure, but these are what I've consumed the most with the b... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Oysters


  • Arabella Reserve Chardonnay 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Another recent Naked Wines selection. Clear Silver Gold in the glass. Opens with a lemon vanilla with a bit of underripe Cherry; then a buttery yeast, then more vanilla oak and lemon. Nice bit of acid with lemon and lemon grass, slate and mineral. As it sits still remains crisp, but loses some of the lemon and takes on more vanilla oak. Nicely b... Read More

    Wine review by puhnner


  • Sequillo Eben Sadie Swartland 2012

    Snoothrank:

    This really benefited from a couple of years in the cellar. It is now a fully melded wined wine layers of red fruit, flowers, A stony minerality, spice with mild tannins and well balanced acidity. Just goes to show the character of winemaker Eben Sadie. Drink now - Paul 90 points Read More

    Wine review by rckr1951


  • Glen Carlou Petit Verdot/Tannat 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Had this with dinner last evening. Very Soft with well-balanced Tannins and Acidity. Earthy and black fruit preserves along oak, cocoa and coffee beans. Quite pleasant and easy to drink. Read More

    Wine review by puhnner


  • Ruca Malen Yauquen Malbec 2014

    Snoothrank:

    Violet and plum notes with soft red fruit aromas of raspberry and cherry, earth and a touch of herb. Pleasant and earthy red fruit palate with a good dose of acidity balanced well by silky tannins and a cherry, mixed berry palate, cinnamon and a touch of smoke on the finish. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • "In South Africa, Vintners on the cape dealt with torrid heat, drought, wildfires, and more in '16."Ummm, you're talking about last vintage, right? Still wintertime there now. And where, specifically, is being discussed? It's a big country. Not like talking Burgundy or even Sonoma.Burgundy's had more than one bad year in the last several. Seriou... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Harvest 2016


  • They've had a hell of a time with it in Burgundy, like a 50-90% lost ... ... already in full effect.In South Africa, Vintners on the cape dealt with torrid heat, drought, wildfires, and more in '16.&nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic Harvest 2016


  • Have had viti and viniculturalists in the States and Europe and South Africa and the Antipodes, wine importers and distributors, wine retailers, somms and bartenders and maitre d's, various wine writers of anything from reference books to blogs, and chemists of several sorts as regulars here in the past, but as Mark mentions now not as many in t... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Have enology-related questions?


  • Kleine Parys Chenin Blanc 2016

    Snoothrank:

    surprising depth for such a young wine! nose of mint and thyme, herby, grassy and with citrus notes on the palate Read More

    Wine review by Dennis Lim


  • Kleine Parys Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

    Snoothrank:

    deeply maroon, nose of red and blackberries, spicy, peppery, with a berry and coffee finish Read More

    Wine review by Dennis Lim


  • Sirs, May you introduce me to a company that exports South African wines? My e-mail address is scmsprl@yahoo.fr Thanks, Constant Bopima M. Bokoto

    Comment by 1111044Bob Moelo 1111044 Bob Moelo


  • I am a South African, Capetonian, from Somerset West, right in the heart of the wine region. My heart misses home every day, but thankfully, being able to enjoy South African wine, especially reds, where one can taste South Africa in the terroir, helps me get through each day.

    Comment by 750105nikkibean 750105 nikkibean


  • "Late Harvest" was my favourite wine in the mid 80's when I lived in Zimbabwe, now I'd like to explore the South African reds and introduce them to my corporate wine events in the Silicone Valley. Peter M -Clubspot Bev (San Jose, Calif)

    Comment by 695810pmugwagwa 695810 pmugwagwa


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