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

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • Sauvignon Blanc

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

  • 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...

  • 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

  • Hamilton Russell Vineyards

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

  • Tall Horse

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

  • Nederburg

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

  • Rupert & Rothschild

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

  • Spier Cellars

    THE SPIER EXPERIENCE Spier is one of the Stellenbosch winelands’ most celebrated destinations. T...

  • Neil Ellis Wines

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

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South Africa on Snooth

  • Stellenrust Timeless 2010


    Dark cherry and hints of dark chocolate. Rather smoky though so might not be for all palates... Read More

    Wine review by Dennis Lim

  • Goats Do Roam Goat-Roti 2010


    An ice, dry red with hints of oak and cherry, tobacco and tannin Read More

    Wine review by Dayle64

  • Van Loveren Private Cellar Red Muscadel 2005


    No written review

    Wine review by sophiajcs

  • The Beach House Red Blend 2013


    Fruit forward and with hints of spice, this is a fresh take on what I would consider to be a rich, deep red. The coloration is dark red/burgundy with purple hues. Aromas and flavors that border in between dark berry/cherry, blackberry, blueberry and boysenberry, along with subtle hints of pepper to just hit the nostrils and palate with some ze... Read More

    Wine review by chriscage

  • Had the good fortune to attend a Masters of Wine, Syrah Panel Tasting on ... ... with the Gramercy was from South Africa and while a solid showing, kind of forgettable, though I noticed there was a buyer there who was very taken with it. 2013 Kershaw Clonal Selection Elgin - Aiming for subtle, precise style. One of the cooler areas in South Af... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Masters of Wine - Syrah Panel...

  • Cederberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


    Had at Noah's Read More

    Wine review by gmb468

  • Waterkloof Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2014


    Pleasant minerality with light notes of lemon and peach on the nose. A bit more green apple and pear coming through on the palate and some toasted almond towards the finish. There's a warm sweet spice coming through the fullness of the palate here and ending with some baked apple and honeysuckle. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • Indaba Sauvignon Blanc 2015


    Binny's 5/2016. Read More

    Wine review by raindance

  • Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc 2015


    Binny's 5/2016. 6 vintages later and this is still an excellent value. Mary consumed most of this bottle over three evening dinners. I helped on the second night, and thought it was real tasty. What? You wanted me to tell you it had hints of a two day old apricot pit on the nose? I didn't think so. Read More

    Wine review by raindance

  • Tormentoso Old Vine Chenin Blanc Paarl 2014


    Binny's 5/2016. Started off with what Mary thought, after sip #1, was a sweet white. Not so, I sipped it and disagreed, she backed off and said it was the nose that confused her. She ended up saying it was fine. I am sure because she consumed it while looking at an awesome view of The Great Smokey Mountains from the deck of our rented cabin. Read More

    Wine review by raindance

  • I'm South African and I live in the us so.... I guess I am a true african-american

    Comment by 540431jojk 540431 jojk

  • I love South Africa, and South African wines!

    Comment by 506765Spier 506765 Spier

  • You can find some of the best wines in South africa. From Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cab Sav to wonderful Noble Late Harvest. When visiting South Africa make sure you visit the Western Cape and look out for Durbanville Hills, Creation, Hamilton Russel and lots more!

    Comment by 495455hetta 495455 hetta

  • New image uploaded to this page.

    Page modification by 33093Chris Carpita 33093 Chris Carpita

  • I went last year, MRGTO, had a superb wine-focused tour. Some photos on flickr if you are interested

    Comment by 71518winescribbler 71518 winescribbler

  • My wife, I and two friends went to South Africa in Dec.2008 and had a wonderful time. I highly recommend it.

    Comment by 128780mrgto 128780 mrgto

  • South Africa has, without doubt, the most beautiful wine valleys in the world. There are so, so many stunning wines in South Africa, and so many more to taste! My husband and I are huge fans....the country found us. If you are travelling there, take time to get off the beaten path and enjoy the flavors, beautiful views, and clean air of the co...

    Comment by 384611Mosaic Farm 384611 Mosaic Farm

  • Having just joined Snooth I hope the information that gets shared is more accurate than the positioning of South Africa on the Map section. I know Aussies have ideas above their station, but I'm sure not even they would say South Africa would fit neatly into Sydney Harbour. Look forward to "meeting" some kindred spirits.

    Comment by 364639Proteas 364639 Proteas

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