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South African Wine

South African Wine

South Africa is a relatively new country in terms of exporting wine.  However, we can pinpoint exactly when the wine story of South Africa began, which was the 2nd of February 1659.  On this date, the very first grapes were pressed, starting the production of wine in this country.

Facts about Viticulture in South Africa

    Some 400 million litres of South African wines are exported every year
    The South African vineyards cover 112,700 hectares
    In 2010, around 1,231,405 tons of wine grapes were harvested
    South Africa has made a clear commitment to sustainable wine farming
    Chenin Blanc is the most common grape variety in the country
    South Africa ranks 7th in the global wine producing countries

    South African Wine Climate
    Although South Africa is very close to the South Pole, it actually knows quite a Mediterranean climate, even down at the Cape, which is the most southern parts of Africa.  The Cape wine lands know wet, cool winters and dry, hot summers.
    The cape has beautiful mountains and values, which makes the perfect habitat for the Vitis Vinifera.  Also, because the breezes of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other side continuously blow in, the vineyards are cooled down perfectly during the summer heat.  This means the ripening process is slowed down considerably because of this, which makes the flavour of the fruit far more intense than anywhere else.

    South African Wine Areas
    The Wine of Origin Scheme was introduced in 1972.  This was designed to make sure that the various qualities of wine were fully protected.  Because the areas, vintages and grape varieties all needed some form of protection, the various regions, different districts and many wards were all named.  Some say that this makes it very complicated to understand the labels.

    South African Grape Varieties
    The most popular grape in South Africa is the Chenin, which accounts for around 40% of the vineyards.  This is quite new, however, and it is thanks to the new Chenin vineyards that the split between red and white is now around 50/50, where it used to be 80% white.  There are five main varieties of grapes in South Africa, which are the Cabernet Sauvignon, the Chenin Blanc, the Shiraz, the Colombard and the Sauvignon Blanc.
    South African wines have gained a lot of international recognition and for good reason.  The wines are truly delicious and have very distinct flavours.  The perfect South African wine for any situation or meal exists.

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