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

Wisequeen Donna Jackson

Passionate wine enthusiast/writer/consultant.Specialist on Italy, where She has made her home and kingdom for the past decade. Travels extensively in Europe and New world,Portugal,Douro, South Africa,and in particular Bordeaux style wines, loves Dolcetto

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Popular wines made in South Africa under $20

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Varietals Produced in South Africa View all

  • 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...

  • Pinotage

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

  • Syrah

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

  • Chardonnay

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

  • 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...

  • Obikwa

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

  • Hamilton Russell Vineyards

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

  • 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 ...

  • 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

  • Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc South Africa 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Gently floral on the nose with a lovely array of pear, quince and spice aromas. ... off a riper, fruity side of South African Chenin, though it retains some of the austerity and bitter apple and almond notes that make the wines so attractive. A great introduction to the variety and one that is true to type yet easy to drink and to pair with foo... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Silwervis South Africa Swartland Chenin Blanc 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Skin fermented for 2 months in a concrete egg. Rather candied on the nose with intensely spicy and wooly aromas layered over notes of chalk, sassafras, a hint of nettle and earthy fruit. Broad in the mouth with a lovely early rush of fruit that is supported by lime acids. This is quite vibrant in the mouth, offering up subtly complex notes of h... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Demorgenzon Chenin Blanc 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Intensely aromatic this is both floral and herbal at the same time with lots of almost medicinal fennel seed and coriander notes layered under white flowers and polleny notes. Theres some oak here and that adds to the spiciness of the nose and help to frame the core of apple and quince fruit that wrapped in dusty nuance. Faintly sweet on entry, ... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Earthy on the nose with faint shadings of oak adding nnce and contrast to the dried apple and faintly spicy fruit that has a gentle honied cast to it. Dry, firm and austere on entry, this has real nervous energy on the palate as it opens with dried citrus peel, melon and tart apple flavors. Its a restrained, almost elegant, if not for its intens... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Yes, and the Colonials left their vinous legacy to South Africa, Namibia?, Botswana,Angola,Tanzania and Sierra Leone (According to the map.) And of course to Australia (All hail James Busby who brought the vitis vinifera to Australia). Read More

    Forum post in the topic Is Prohibition on its way?


  • Mooi Bly Cultivar Sauvignon Blanc 2013

    Snoothrank:

    My wife and I do not like white wines for the most part but THIS one was an exception. Excellent bottle that went very well with a fish dish. Read More

    Wine review by anstett


  • Traditionally Sake or Beer, however I even wonder about Blanc de Blanc ... ... ... blanc from the Loire or South Africa, Italian Arneis, Prosecco, Spanish Albarino,Godello or Viura, Hunter Valley Semillon, Clare Valley Riesling, Margaret River Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blends, Chateau Tahbilk Marsanne, NZ Gewurztraminer, Riesling or Pinot Gris... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Matching challenge 3: what...


  • Tokaj is in the Zemplén mountains, which abut the Carpathians. ... I ... ... I haven't been to South Africa so can't say much about it.Actually, speaking of old vines - some of those areas are kind of interesting. In Argentina, they have a lot of new plantings obviously, but as far as I know, they haven't had a phylloxera problem so they have... Read More

    Forum post in the topic So, Have You Heard of This?


  • De Morgenzon Dmz Sauvignon Blanc 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Complex aromas of wildflowers, cut grass, tangerine, fig, white pepper and melon slowly and subtly fill the glass. A moderately large scaled wine, theres a terrific vein of acidity driving this across the palate. the flavors show early flashes of fig and melon before they are joined by subtle herbal element and a nice base of tangerine/tangelo t... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Buitenverwachting Bayten Sauvignon Blanc 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Rather herbal and soil driven on the nose with chalky aromas complimenting the base of dried bay leaves and nettles framing delicate fig and kiwi fruit notes that pick up a hint of pear with air. Soft, broad and transparent in the mouth, this is tangy and tart. Transparent if a touch fat around the edges on the palate, theres a lovely directnes... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


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