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

  • 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...

  • Chenin Blanc

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

  • 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

  • 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...

  • Robertson Winery

    Our winery has a long-standing tradition of dedicated grape-growing families, some of whom are 4t...

  • Meerlust

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

  • Neil Ellis Wines

    Neil Ellis Wines differs from most South African wineries in that instead of owning vineyards we ...

  • Hamilton Russell Vineyards

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

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South Africa on Snooth

  • 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

  • Ernie Els Chenin Blanc Big Easy 2013


    A touch reticent on the nose though this does deliver some attractive quince, sour plum and vaguely green nutty aromas. Smooth, tart, and rich though undoubtedly from a touch of RS here. The flavors are simple but intense, with quince, lime, and even a little guava rolling off the powerful palate. Thi is an intense wine and the electric acidity ... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc South Africa 2011


    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


    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


    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


    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?

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