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

  • Tall Horse

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

  • Fleur du Cap

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

  • Juno Wines Company

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

  • Obikwa

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

  • Nederburg

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

  • Boland Kelder

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

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South Africa on Snooth

  • Silvermist Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2014


    The most delicious wine I've tasted in South Africa... High Recommended!!! Read More

    Wine review by Silvermist Vineyards

  • Silvermist Organic Shiraz 2014


    Highly Recommended :) Read More

    Wine review by Silvermist Vineyards

  • Silvermist Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2014


    Visited the Estate in South Africa and the Wines are truly SPECTACULAR Read More

    Wine review by Silvermist Vineyards

  • Glad you have your priorities straight, DGC!I've encountered this, too, on and off over the years. Not common, but common enough to remember clearly and recognize quickly after multiple occurrences. Have had it from wines of South America, Eastern Europe, North Africa and off-locations like India and other parts of Asia (from Near East over to E... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Bitter finish

  • Winemaster's Reserve Pinotage. Nederburg 2013


    No written review

    Wine review by PJBradar

  • Your notes are no surprise, judging by the labels. Sounds like a great wedding, ... for sauvignon blanc, then South Africa--*then* North & South Island New Zealand. Will be interested in hearing your comments on Dog Point, Cloudy Bay and others then.  ;-)  I'm much happier with some of the pinot noir from down there than any of the S Read More

    Forum post in the topic Wedding Wines in Palm Springs

  • Creation Pinot Noir 2013


    Quite floral on the nose with rose petal, ripe red cherry and some licorice. Soft up front and turning a little herbal towards the finish, with flavors of ripe berry and cherry, some watermelon and finishing with a slight cranberry note. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc Reserve Old Vine 2014


    Fruit on the nose. Melon, white peaches and mineral comes through on the palate. The oak is noticeable but delicate on the finish accompanied by tart citrus notes. This is a beautiful wine that pairs well with savory dishes. Read More

    Wine review by ThirstyWineWriter

  • Ken Forrester Renegade Stellenbosch 2011


    Pleasant tarry minerality with blackberry and bramble fruit notes and some dusty earth on the nose. A bit thin on entry but filling in through the mid palate with strong notes of blackberry and black currant, chewy tannins and a hint of coffee on the finish. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay Robertson 2015


    Delicate melon and lemon aromas are lightly floral. Zesty and lightly citrussed in the mouth with a lot of spice and some aged cheese cream coming in through the mid palate, a generous wine with good complexity and a buoyant mouthfeel, equal parts thick and spicy and a creamy finish. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

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