South African Wine
South Africa has a rich wine heritage dating back from the first vines planted in 1652 through the much esteemed Van Der Stels who started making wine at a larger capacity sourcing grapes from other farmers and becoming the first wine merchants. Most of the vineyards are located in the Western Cape along the coast which has a Mediterranean climate, mountain slopes and valleys making it ideal for wine production. Production zones are demarcated, under patronage of the Wine of Origin Scheme, into officially distinguished geographic units namely regions, districts and wards. There are five regions within the Western Cape: Cape South Coast, Coastal Region, Klein Karoo, Olifant’s river and Breed River Valley. Borberg region is for use in respect of fortified wines from Paarl Wellington, Franschhoek and Tulbagh. Another five geographical units exist in the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo and Northern Cape. The South African wine industry has evolved drastically under the democratic dispensation and is growing from strength to strength and exports continue to increase. The industry is backed by some of the worlds most advanced state sponsored research institutions. An official seal issued by Wine and Spirits Board is on every bottle. This guarantees that the claims made on the bottle about vintage, origin and grape variety are true.
- Estate wineries who make estate ‘wines’ should be from contiguous vineyards farmed as single units. This units should have facilities to enable all processes up to final certification.
- Producer cellars or co-operatives process grapes of member farmers on a communal basis.
- Independent cellars buy in grapes and/or wine and make wine under their own brand names.