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...

  • Chenin Blanc

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

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • 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...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

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

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

  • Tall Horse

    Tall Horse is a winery in the Western Cape, at the tip of South Africa, named for the nickname ...

  • Hamilton Russell Vineyards

    Hamilton Russell Vineyards is one of the most southerly wine Estates in Africa and one of the clo...

  • Boland Kelder

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

  • Rupert & Rothschild

    At the foot of the spectacular Simonsberg mountain in the Franschhock Valley lies the historic Fr...

  • Juno Wines Company

    The Juno Wine Company - based in the town of Paarl in the heart of South Africa’s winelands - was...

  • Meerlust

    Long recognized for producing world-class wines, Meerlust Estate has been the pride of the Myb...

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South Africa on Snooth

  • Indaba Mosaic 2013

    Snoothrank:

    65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot, 9% Malbec, 8% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc Jammy black currant and black cherry fruits greet the nose wrapped in a thin veil of spicy oak and with some inky, violet tinged top notes. Smooth on entry then this turns slightly angular in the mouth with attractive open and clear fruit that has a very subtle bit... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • The Beach House White 2013

    Snoothrank:

    It is a great summer wine very light and not to sweet. Read More

    Wine review by misenberg55


  • Buitenverwachting Beyond Sauvignon Blanc 2013

    Snoothrank:

    A bit simple but intense on the nose with a one-two punch of cut grass and gooseberries. Simple on the palate as well though crisp and juicy with lovely if delicate fruit that shows flashes of golden raspberries surrounding gooseberry and grapefruit pith flavors. Finishing with a nice bracing edge and good length this is a bit small scaled by ve... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Skoonuitsig Prestige Sauvignon Blanc 2012

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by Xeeran


  • Ernie Els Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Impressive, but seems young and a bit raggedy edged, everything not quite settled in. Perhaps, given a couple of years, this one will be great. Beautiful chocolate/plum/cherry/thyme nose and dark dark ruby/burgundy color. Read More

    Wine review by puhnner


  • De Morgenzon Cabernet Sauvignon Rose Dmz 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Very Cabernet driven on the nose with obvious notes of roasted chilies and red currant fruit. A hint of sweetness on entry is quickly balanced by plenty of juicy acidity here. A fairly big and slightly chewy rose, this delivers tons of slightly jammy strawberry and red currant fruit on the palate with a hint of herbaceousness adding complexity. ... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Kanonkop Kadette Dry Pinotage Rose Stellenbosch South Africa 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Well, it smells alot like pinotage with hints of bananas and rubber rands on the nose along with some old watermelon and spicy red fruit. Soft in the mouth with red fruit and banana notes, this is kind of nicely textured, showing a gentle brightness and supple texture, but the flavor profile may be off-putting to some. Not bad, just bordering on... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rose 2013

    Snoothrank:

    All cabernet all the time here with great complexity to the herbaceous aromas of cut grass, dried herbs and bell peppers that are layered over a base of red fruit. Supple and fairly full in the mouth, theres a hint of sweetness here that is well balanced by the solid acidity, yielding a moderately large scaled rose with relatively dark berry fru... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Nederburg Pinotage Western Cape 2011

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by Derek25


  • Nederburg Pinotage Western Cape 2011

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by Derek25


  • 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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