South Africa: An introduction to the wine region





As a wine growing region in the world, South Africa is often positioned right in the middle of the Old and the New World due to its long and varied heritage and obviously because of its central location. 
 
Wine has been prevalent in South Africa since the early 1600s when the Dutch East India Company decided to establish a trading station in South Africa for their merchant ships en route to India and subsequently wine cultivation was introduced to the Cape. A number of governors encouraged wine growing, but with little experience and knowhow the initial Dutch settlers were reluctant to commit and it was not until the French Huguenots settled towards the end of the 1600s, that the wine industry started to flourish.
 
Wine continued to be made here for the next 300 years but it was not until the last century that the industry really took off. Vast improvements in quality and the legacy of a stable industry lead by the big national cooperative, the KWV, meant that Cape wines began to gain international recognition and flourish as an exported product around the world.
 
The South African wine industry today is a thriving business on a global scale, boasting a plethora of different grape varietals and wine styles that showcase this New World region’s innovation, talent and progress.
 
There are many different regions and as result lots of variety when it comes to climates and terroirs.
 
CONSTANTIA
 
On the southern slopes of the Table Mountain range and its world-renowned floral kingdom lies the historic Constantia valley; the cradle of winemaking in the Cape. The valley was the site of Simon van der Stel's 17th century wine farm and the origin of the Constantia dessert wines which became famous throughout Europe during the 18th century. Only a handful of cellars now exist here but the tradition of producing remarkable wines since 1685 continues.
 
 
Image by Tjeerd 
 
ELGIN
 
Only an hour east of Cape Town, the high-lying cool-climate of the Elgin district was previously an area famous for apple growing. It is now famous for its award-winning wines which include some of the best examples of Pinot Noir to come out of the Cape. The region also produces some great Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz.
 
FRANSCHHOEK
 
The district of Franschhoek has to be one of the world’s most beautiful wine producing regions and it has a thriving culinary scene too. It lies to the southeast of Paarl and is surrounded by spectacular mountains. The vineyards, irrigated by the streams that flow down to the valley floor, produce most international grape varieties with a particular focus on rich, rounded reds.
 
 
Image by nick farnhill 
 
PAARL
 
The Paarl wine district lies to the north of Stellenbosch surrounded by the mountains of the Groot and Klein-Drakenstein and Franschhoek ranges, the Berg River, and the Groot Drakenstein and Wemmershoek mountains –making Paarl another picturesque wine producing region. Lots of different varietals are grown in Paarl, of which Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Chenin are particularly prevalent.
 
 
Image by vanclark 
 
STELLENBOSCH  
 
Perhaps the most popular wine region in South Africa due to its proximity to Cape Town, from whence thousands of tourists flock every year to enjoy the wines and see some of the finest example of Cape Dutch architecture in the country. Winemaking started here in the 17th century and the conditions are great for vine growing hence the region’s fame for its great reds and whites who are produced from most of the noble grapes varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, Chenin and Sauvignon Blanc.
 
If you want to find out more about South African wine, log on to the excellent www.wosa.co.za.
 
Main image by Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire 
 
 

16.09.15

BBQ Spatchcock Piri-Piri Chicken


Summer has come to a close and autumn is well and truly on its way. Blustering winds, cooler temperatures and swiftly shortening days mean it will soon be time to wrap up warm and to make the most of the wonderful autumn produce on offer. Time to say goodbye to those fresh, summer whites and replace them with the warmer, more robust reds frequently associated with colder temperatures.
26.08.15

What to drink with Fish Pie?


Fish Pie is a quintessentially British recipe. Easy to make and absolutely delicious, it is also a great dinner party dish - with a limited amount of last minute preparations needed it’s a winner in my book! However, where do you start when matching a fish pie with wine?
24.07.15

Five Ways to Open a Bottle of Wine Without a Corkscrew


For that moment when you find yourself without a corkscrew and unable to open that bottle of wine; here are five ways to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew. Obviously, if you do have a corkscrew to hand, it is a lot easier to go down the more traditional route…



16.10.12

BevShots: The beautiful photographs of alcohol

A research scientist from Florida State University named Michael Davidson has shone a new light on alcoholic beverages by photographing cocktails through a microscopic lens. The results are breathtakingly beautiful. read more


06.09.12

McDonald’s unveil controversial plans for first vegetarian outlets

McDonald’s are to open their first purely vegetarian restaurants in India later this year. The meat-free incarnation of the globally recognised US Hamburger chain will open within 200 meters of The Golden Temple, the holiest site of the ... read more


04.09.12

Do you want fries with that? Giant cheeseburger breaks record

The Black Bear Casino Resort near Carlton, Minnesota has broken a Guinness World Record for the largest bacon cheeseburger ever made.  read more


30.08.12

What’s Hot in the World of Wine: Terroir, Pinot Noir & Sauvignon Blanc locums

Once a fortnight, CellarVie Wines dives knee deep into the weekend’s newspapers in an effort to determine what’s hot in the world of wine. In this instalment, The Sunday Times explains the nuances of Terroir and winemaking in Mexico, The ... read more


27.06.12

My Perfect Dinner Party: Nederburg winemaker Razvan Macici

Following our recent interview with Nederburg winemaker Razvan Macici, CellarVie Wines pressed the jovial Romanian and current star of South African Master Chef to reveal his hypothetical perfect dinner party, complete with three guests ... read more


20.06.12

CellarVie Wines meets…Nederburg cellarmaster Razvan Macici

Razvan Macici has been the Nederburg cellarmaster since 2001 and he is not only a bundle of affable energy and a pleasure to interview, but he is also the man responsible for restoring the prize-winning traditions of one of South ... read more



Post a comment...