The history of wine making in South Africa began in year 1652, when a Dutchman Jan van Riebeeck has founded Capetown and planted his first vineyards. South African wine was considered as of low quality until new technology and direct investments into the industry came in the middle of the last century. This provides high quality of today produced wines and allows to class them as one of the best wines from New World.
Stellenbosch is one of the most famous and one of the best vine areas with the highest concentration of outstanding vineyards and wine producers in South Africa. It borders with Helderberg region on one side and Simonsberg on the other. The academic center is Stellenbosch city, where South African Wine Control Office is located, the most important research and experiment center in vine growing and wine making of the country. Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay are typical varieties for this region, which are grown on higher sites.
The most important varieties for South Africa in as such, so called „The Great Six“, are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Pinotage.
South African climate is mainly suitable for red vines because it is dry and hot and does not chill much during nighttime. Total annual rains are approximately 250mm. Close location of Atlantic and Indian Oceans create an advantage to the country. Stellenbosch region is a little cooler compared to the other. Here the sea climate insures 450-800 mm of rains per annum. However, it creates a necessary irrigative system. Soil in this area is foliaceous and clayey.
Total area of vineyards producing must wines is 96 000 ha.
Total area of vineyards producing table wine is 9 200 ha.
Annual wine production is 9 million hl.
Export is 13%, has increasing dynamics.
Annual wine consumption per capita is 9 liters.
The law for vine growing and wine making was first accepted in 1970s. It mainly controls information placed on labels. According to it, wine has to contain minimum 75% of one variety to be marked as one-variety wine. Wine enhancement with sugar to increase alcohol is forbidden, whereas adding acids is unlimited. Beginning from 1973 indicating wine origins according to the area was legalized and Republic of South Africa was divided to 50 different regions and areas.
Production: 18% of red wines (upgoing), 82% of white wines
Some changes in oenology, which South African wine specialists made in 1990s, first of all led to creating fruity and highly aromatic wines. It is possible mainly due to usage of stainless steel tanks and temperature regulation while alcohol fermentation. The wines of South Africa are outstanding, rich and pleasantly fruity.