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Section IV: Wine Regions of
the Southern Hemisphere
Chapter 16: South Africa
Introduction
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South Africa possesses all of the attributes necessary
for a wine producing nation:
• Long history of grape growing and winemaking
• A temperate Mediterranean-like climate
• Many historical ties with wine consuming nations in
Europe
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Embargo in response to apartheid hindered South
Africa’s wine industry.
With the demise of the apartheid regime and lifting of
embargo in 1990s, South Africa began a period of
change.
Since then, there’s been a massive redevelopment in
vineyards and a new focus on making better wines.
S OUTH A FRICAN W INE
H ISTORICAL P ERSPECTIVE
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The Cape was a logical place to start winegrowing.
• It has a Mediterranean climate.
• It has a convenient location
Wine pressed in Cape Town for the 1st time in
1659.
Created celebrated Constantia dessert wine
French Huguenots arrived in 1688.
1800s were a boom time for Cape farmers.
By the 1880s, phylloxera was devastating
vineyards.
The Twentieth Century to
Today
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Marked by the problem of over-production
Creation of the KWV in 1918
A quota system was introduced in 1957.
Beginning in the 1960s, South African wine was
banned and its citizens unwelcome in many
countries.
This resulted in inexpensive wines of average
quality made for a small, domestic market
The Twentieth Century to
Today (cont.)
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With the first democratic elections in 1994, South
Africa’s wines were officially welcomed back.
Growth also fueled by:
• Growth in the international wine market
• Favorable exchange rate
• Advances in South African grape growing practices
After the quota system was dropped in 1992, new
wineries were established.
Biodiversity and Wine Initiative set up in 2004.
Black Association of the Wine and Spirit Industry
aims to empower its members to become owners .
The Wine Regions of South
Africa
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South Africa’s system of appellations is called the
Wine of Origin Scheme. There are five regions:
• The Boberg
• Breede River Valley
• Coastal Region
• Klein Karoo
• Olifants River
The Olifants River Region
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This area is home to the most northern vineyards
in the Western Cape.
The climate is conducive to organic viticulture and
several farmers are now taking this approach.
Winemakers have learned to craft consumerfriendly, early-drinking wines.
Chenin Blanc and Pinotage
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Chenin Blanc
• The most planted variety in the country
• Has excellent yields and versatility
Pinotage
• Versatile
• Held novelty value for foreign consumers
• Has yet to find a comfortable level of production
Klein Karoo (Little Karoo)
Region
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Grows a wide variety of grapes, many on an
experimental basis
Area has limited water and is susceptible to
damage from birds.
Breed River Valley
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Two main districts: Worcester and Robertson
Worcester’s main output from the many
cooperatives is bulk wine for the négociant trade.
South African producers have adopted the name
Méthode Cap Classique for their sparkling wines.
The area also has a reputation for producing
superior fortified desert wines made from Muscat.
Coastal Region
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Stellenbosch
Paarl
Tulbagh
Swartland
Darling
Tygerberg
Constantia
Overberg, Walker Bay and Cape Agulhas