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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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...

  • Chenin Blanc

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

  • Sauvignon Blanc

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

  • Syrah

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

  • 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...

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

  • Juno Wines Company

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

  • Boland Kelder

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

  • Obikwa

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

  • Jam Jar

    Jam Jar was born out of the realization that there are not a lot of options available to consu...

  • Meerlust

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

  • Tall Horse

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

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South Africa on Snooth

  • Mulderbosch Rose 2013


    Salmon color. Raspberry, some strawberry and a bit of watermelon on the nose. These fruits are way in the background when this wine hits the palate. Overall, a fairly dry rose with a short finish. Well made and perfect for summer indulgence. Enjoy drinking it alone or with light foods. Read More

    Wine review by zinfandel1

  • Al, with four people, even one on meds, and a big steak dinner, one bottle just ... (lots of good CB from down South Africa way), and then have the staff open the red I brought.I see no advantage in supporting Morton wine price gouging. Chee Read More

    Forum post in the topic Weekend Wines

  • Org Derac Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


    This was a very nice red from South Africa. Good full mouth feel and zero noticeable tannins to annoy my wife. Read More

    Wine review by anstett

  • Org de Rac Unwooded Chardonnay 2013


    This is the best white wine we have had. It was very smooth and fit with a fish dish perfectly. Read More

    Wine review by anstett

  • Cape Indaba Chardonnay Western Cape 2012


    A bit melony on the nose but rather reticent overall width some apple and tangerine notes adding a touch of nuance. Bright on entry, this turns a bit plump in the mouth with a fair amount of volume but not a lot of depth of complexity. It does gain a nice subtle astringent note that help tot add both some textural interest as well as to offer a... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • I'll check out that Zinfandel EM, Total Wine carries it for about $20 (2012 ... with the dessert wine from South Africa.I don't see that 2010 Katherine Goldschmidt Crazy Creek Cabernet Sauvignon from the Alexander Valley being available at Total Wine.  I might have to ask my former boss (the couple that came over) where he picked it up.  He is ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Weekday Wines

  • De Morgenzon Chardonnay 2012


    Always interested in trying something different. This South African chardonnay is quite nice, almost Chablis like in its freshness and nice acidity. There's a good bit of lemon chiffon upfront but also some stone fruit in the background. Nice clean finish and overall well balanced. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0

  • Boy, another busy day.  Last night I spent about 4.5 hours doing volunteer ... ... Vin de Constance (from South Africa).  Info on this highly rated wine is here  , and I have a few pictures to share to Read More

    Forum post in the topic Weekday Wines

  • Botanica Chenin Blanc 2010


    From 50 year old vines grown at 300m elevation. 50% fermented in barrel, 50% in tank A little woodsy on the with aromas of melon and lime framed with nuanced smoke, white pepper, and slightly starchy, vegetal accents. Silky and with noticeable RS on the palate, this is big and wide open, while it does retain nice cut its a touch simple with nice... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Protea White 2013


    Floral and peachy on the nose, in fact this smells of orchard fruit blossoms, ... this is a fruitier style of South African Chenin, softer wand with more peachy and pear toned meat on its bones. Theres a nice floral quality to this in the mouth, and while it is relatively fruity it retains the firmness and edge of austerity so typical of the g... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

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