Overview2017-03-24T11:05:42+00:00

South Africa and South African Wine

Full of diversity

Size

South Africa is a medium sized country that would fit into the USA eight times. It has a diverse population of 55 million people and is affectionately known as the ‘Rainbow Nation’.

Viticulture Region

Wine growing is limited to the south-western region of South Africa, in the Western Cape Province, which is an area the size of Greece.

A World-famous Mountain

The world-famous Table Mountain is at the heart of this region. It is one of the oldest mountains on earth: six times older than the Himalayas, and five times older than the Rockies.

The South African Wine Industry

  • South Africa has been making wine for over 350 years. The first grapes were pressed in 1659.
  • The wines reflect the best of the old and the new; they present fruit-forward styles with elegance and finesse.
  • The South African wine industry is one of the most technically advanced in the world of wine.
  • There is an extremely rigorous Wine of Origin Certification Scheme, introduced in 1973, which guarantees that the wine is what it says it is. Each bottle carries a certification seal to guarantee that the claims regarding vintage, variety and origin on the packaging are true.
  • South Africa has more certified Fairtrade wines than any other country.
  • There are five officially demarcated production regions – they are based on the massive variations in soil, climate and location between regions. The regions are: Breede River Valley, Coastal, Klein Karoo, Olifants River and Boberg.
  • There is a commitment to environmentally sustainable wine production and wines can be certified by Sustainable Wine South Africa, which is part of the Wine and Spirit Board.
  • Grapes are produced in harmony with nature, which allows vineyards to flourish alongside their natural habitat. The Biodiversity and Wine Initiative is a unique partnership between conservation bodies and the wine industry.

Export Markets

South Africa is the eighth largest producer of wine in the world and 57% of South African wine is exported to:

  • UK – South African wine is the fourth largest category; in 2011, it overtook French wine.
  • Germany – More wine is exported to Germany than any other New World producer.
  • Sweden – Number one in Sweden and popular all over Scandinavia.
  • Russia – A rapidly growing market.
  • USA and Canada – South African wine sales have been growing steadily.
  • Netherlands  – South African wine is the second biggest category.
  • Asia – There is a significant opportunity for growth and development in Asia, particularly in China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Thailand.
  • Africa – A rapidly growing market.
  • Brazil  – Holds huge potential.

Land and Climate

South African wines have a purity and intensity in flavour that comes from growing vines in harmony with the environment.

The Land

  • The Cape mountain slopes and valleys form the ideal habitat for the wine grapes.
  • South Africa has the oldest viticulture soils in the world.
  • The Cape Winelands area is made up of mountain ranges and valleys – each creating a wine region with an individual character.

The Cape Winelands Climate

  • A Mediterranean climate with sun-drenched summers and mild, wet winters contribute to ideal cultivating conditions.
  • Surrounded by two oceans – the Atlantic and Indian – that generate winds which cool the vineyards during hot summer days. This slows the ripening process and intensifies flavours.
  • Made up of mountain ranges and valleys, each creating a wine region with an individual character and microclimate.

Cape Floral Kingdom – A World Heritage Site

  • Over 95% of the wine is produced in the Cape Floral Kingdom – with over 10 000 plant species, it has more than the entire Northern Hemisphere.
  • This Kingdom has been created by a diversity of soils (produced from granite, sandstone and shale), climates and geography, which in turn has created a treasure trove of winemaking possibilities.
  • As a result, South African wines have a huge array of flavour and aroma profiles, which lead to wines with intriguing character and drinkability.

Wine Production in South Africa

  • 100 000 wine-grape hectares cultivated, 1 000 000 000 litres of wine produced per year.
  • 3 323 grape farmers, 564 wine cellars, 276 000 people supported by the wine industry.
  • Ninth largest area under vineyards in the world, eighth largest producer of wine in the world.
  • 4% of the worlds wine are produced by South Africa.
  • South Africa has its own unique grape variety – Pinotage – a cross between Pinot Noir and Hermitage (Cinsaut).

Diverse Flavours – supplying diversity

Diverse Flavours has established a long term working relationship with a growing selection of South Africa’s finest wine estates and distillers. Our partners are award-winning, critically acclaimed producers of fine wines and spirits.