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...

  • 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...

  • Chenin Blanc

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

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

  • Spier Cellars

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

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Obikwa

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

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South Africa on Snooth

  • Arabella Cabernet Sauvignon Robertson 2014


    No written review

    Wine review by LetUsTaste

  • Delaire Botmaskop 2012


    No written review

    Wine review by Ravel541

  • Stellar Winery 'Live a Little' Really Ravishing Red NV


    South African wine is always an experience. I got licorice...overwhelmingly. This did not diminish until day 4 in the fridge. Screw top enclosure. I would have tossed this had I not looked at the region. That explains some of its uniqueness. Read More

    Wine review by connie7899

  • BTW, do you think that chair is really full size?  From the looks of the ... ... for me) and it came from South Africa.  At $9, a steal.  Like a riesling, even less weight than the average Loire Cheni Read More

    Forum post in the topic And now for something...

  • Arabella Chenin Blanc 2014


    No written review

    Wine review by LetUsTaste

  • Carmen Stevens Angel's Reserve Shiraz 2013


    A Naked Wines Selection. Opens with Lavender, cherry, and strawberry, then some musky plum and bitter cherry. A few swirls more and black and white pepper and spice. Big silky mouthful. Medium to soft tannins and medium acidity. Nice long finish of earth and molten cranberry. Nice little number and unbelievable price, cannot imagine that this wi... Read More

    Wine review by puhnner

  • Buitenverwachting Viognier 3rd Time Lucky 2012


    No written review

    Wine review by mikalweiss

  • Well, Joe, thanks for bringing a wine to attention that I didn't even know ... efficient website down in South Africa:( LIKE "Honey Badger is first and foremost a red wine, produced from only the finest Shiraz and South Africa’s very own, exclusive Pinotage grapes.Precise blending is done after maturation and a swe... Read More

    Forum post in the topic need some quick help thanks

  • False Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2012


    just tasted grapes... nothing too special... Read More

    Wine review by Dennis Lim

  • Simunye South African White Blend 2007


    Horrible! Read More

    Wine review by jewels08

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