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

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Chardonnay

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

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

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

  • Jam Jar

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

  • 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 ...

  • Goats Do Roam Wine Company

    Goats do Roam is a South African wine company, based in the Paarl region of the Cape winelands...

  • Juno Wines Company

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

  • 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

  • Reyneke Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2011


    No written review

    Wine review by martins2002

  • Sgmv 2012


    My 1st experience with Ridgeback Wine was a winner. Read More

    Wine review by byrnesey

  • The 85% rule for Champagne vintage dating brought up the question in my mind ... and New Zealand -- 85% South Africa, Chile -- 75%Of course, the exception for the AVA-designated wines in the US led me to the question of the minimum AVA content for an AVA-designated, wine and the answer to that is 85%.   Everything below is tongue in cheek.  In... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Year Label?

  • Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2014


    Binny's 12/2014. Read More

    Wine review by raindance

  • Stellenrust 45 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2011


    (Past tasting 23 Feb 2013)Like the citrousy yet herby taste - good balance! Read More

    Wine review by Dennis Lim

  • Arabella Shiraz Western Cape South Africa 2014


    A Naked Wines selection - the 2013 was recommended by 'the Reverse Wine Snob'Very, very easy drinking, an everyday, dependable, but not terribly complex Shiraz. Opens with notes and scents of ripe plum and cherry and quickly goes to oak/chocolate/mocha/leather - seemed almost a big Pinot Noir rather than a Shiraz, but there is enough spice and p... Read More

    Wine review by puhnner

  • Reyneke Cornerstone 2011


    No written review

    Wine review by martins2002

  • Papillon Sweet Sparkling Wine Van Loveren South Afrika NV


    No written review

    Wine review by martins2002

  • Klein Constantia Vin de Constance Dessert Wine 2006


    A beautiful desert wine like few others, although also goes very well as an after dinner wine by itself. Full of flavors. Sadly very hard to find here in the US. Read More

    Wine review by acakeandwine

  • Linton Park Café South Africa Cabernet 2012


    A Lot 18 Selection. Here are the notes from the Lot 18 site - seem pretty accurate to me: 'Aged in French and American oak for 12 months, this wine shows coffee, dark chocolate and truffle flavor components that complement the black currant, berry and plum fruit notes.' Dry, with a not unpleasant slightly bitter mesquite smoke taste. Smooth and ... Read More

    Wine review by puhnner

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