Stunning South African

Sitting at the southern tip of this mighty continent, South African is truly stunning. The country was liberated by the advent of democracy in 1994, and the fact that it now exports over 319 million litres of wine is testimony to its rise and standing within the wine industry. South Africa continues to reinvent itself and today we enjoy numerous varietals and styles that give us great value for money, without losing any of the quality.

South Africa’s history of wine can be tracked back to 1659, the oldest of all the New World countries, with the industry gaining structure though the implementation of the Wine of Origin (WO) system in 1973. However, it was only after the end of Apartheid when the world's export market opened, that South African wines began to experience its renaissance.

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Great diversity

The climate in South Africa is very hard to summarise, where we see two oceans, two weather systems and two deep-sea currents collide at the “Cape” point. This leads to great diversity between regions and no day is ever the same….and changes fast! Regions that may geographically be quite close, such as Stellenbosch, Constantia and Elgin can have very different micro-climates on any given day, meaning that varietal planting has to be carefully considered, and “aspect” given its due attention.

Every country has its own unique climactic conditions. Here in South Africa, we see the Benguela current from Antarctica brings cool air off the south Atlantic coast that allows the mean temperatures of the area to be lower than regions of comparable latitude. A strong wind current, known as the Cape Doctor, brings gale force winds to the wine regions along the Cape which has the positive benefit of limiting the risk of various mildew and fungal grape disease as well as tempering humidity but can also damage grape vines that are not protected.

Key regions to explore include:

Coastal Region

Principle Sub Regions - Swartland, Darling, Tulbach, Tygeberg, Constantia, Cape Point, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington, Franschhoek Valley.

Key Varietals - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage, Syrah, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Semillon.

Breede River Valley

Principle Sub Regions - Robertson, Worcester, Breedekloof.

Key Varietals - Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Shiraz, Chardonnay.

Cape South Coast

Principle Sub Regions - Elgin, Overberg, Walker Bay, Cape Agulhas, Swellendam, Plettenberg Bay.

Key Varietals - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc.

Klein Karoo

Principle Sub Regions - Klein Karoo, Cailtzdorp, Langeberg-Garcia.

Key Varietals - Touriga National, Tinta Roriz, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Riesling.