South Africa is considered as a new world wine country, though actually, it has been producing wine (and some of the finest) since the 1600s, when grapes were first pressed, marking the beginning of the South African red wine story.
Before we get started here are some quick facts to give you a on overview of the wine making landscape of South Africa.
– South Africa exports over 450 million litres of wine every year
– There are over 100,000 hectares of land dedicated to vineyards in South Africa
– The country is committed to a sustainable way of wine farming
– It is the 9th largest producer of wine in the world
– The most popular variety to come out of South Africa is Chenin Blanc
The climate for wine in South Africa
Despite the African geography, the southernmost tip of Africa enjoys a Mediterranean climate that means you get a cool, wet winter, but with a warm, dry summer.
The mountainous slopes and valleys create an idyllic habitat for wine grapes. The sea breezes from Atlantic and Indian oceans cool down the vineyards during the warm summer afternoons, slowing the ripening process and creating an intense fruity flavour that is widely enjoyed by South African wine lovers.
Grape Varieties in South Africa
Chenin Blanc is the biggest variety of grape in South Africa, though around 40% of vineyards were replanted, meaning there has been a notable shift from 80 percent white grapes, to almost a completely even 50-50 balance of white and red.
The top five most popular grape varieties found in South Africa are Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Colombard, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc.
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