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There’s much to love about wine from South Africa. For one, it’s of an extremely high standard. Two, it’s highly affordable. And three, it’s delicious -- and is just as comfortable being paired with wine as it is drunk alone. At the moment, there’s a bustling wine scene, with many small, boutique vineyards popping up across the country’s wine regions. With a stellar international reputation, the future looks bright for this relatively young wine-producing country.
The real history of wine in South Africa goes back hundreds of years. Indeed, the first vineyards appeared way back in 1655 by Dutch Colonists. While wine was always a presence in the country, it wasn’t until the mid 20th century when the country’s wine industry began to rise. And in the post-1994 era, it really took off. Today, it routinely appears on lists of the world’s top wine export countries.
There are five wine regions in South Africa. But there are three that really stand out. They are the Breede River Valley Region, the Cape South Coast Region, and the Coastal Region.
The Breede River Valley Region is the country’s largest and is responsible for the majority of the country’s wine. Take a trip along Route 62, where the region is located, and you’ll be taking a journey along the world’s largest wine route, or so it is claimed. While it’s the largest, it generally isn’t considered the most interesting South Africa wine region.
The Cape South Coast Region is young but mighty. This area produces some truly world-class Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc wines, as well as a host of delicious reds, including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot varieties.
The Coastal Region is probably the biggest player on the South African wine scene. The scenic setting ensures that it’s well-visited by wine-loving travellers. There’s a mix of cool and warm climates in this area, which means that you can grow a range of wines. In the colder areas, Sauvignon Blanc rules supreme. In the warmer areas, you’ll find Syrah and Chenin Blanc, as well as a few Bordeaux style wines.
There’s a pretty even division between white and red varieties in South Africa wine.
White varieties include:
Red varieties include:
A lot of hard work goes into getting the grapes ready. When they are, it’s time for harvest, a big moment in any vineyards calendar! In South Africa, this usually happens at the beginning of January or later in the month and can last for around a month.
If you’re looking try some South African wine, then consider picking up one of the following bottles from our online shop:
Alternatively you can head over to our dedicated South Africa page and shop our full South African selection.
Find out more about other wine producing countries: