- "VINEYARDS IN THE SKY"
Stellenbosch, Cape Town - Tel: (021) 885-1756
Small but beautifully situated vineyard
- Wine Sales & Tasting, Cellar Tours, Picnics
Stellenbosch, Cape Town - Tel: (021) 855-1422
Eikendal Vineyards is in one of the finest
wine growing areas - Wine Sales & Tasting, Cellar Tours, Lunches
Klapmuts, Cape Town - Tel: (021) 875-5226
Some of the best known wines of the Cape
are made in the area - Wine
Sales & Tasting, Cellar Tours
Stellenbosch, Cape Town - Tel: (021) 889-5510
Dating back over 300 years - Wine Sales
& Tasting, Cellar Tours, Lunches, Coffee Shops
By Melvyn Minnaar
The all-in-one official guide
and web portal to South Africa.
the "Dark Continent"? To many European and American
wine drinkers, this is a strange concept. In fact, there are
vineyards all over Africa. Algeria and Morocco have been producing
wines for decades and modern wine-making has been set up in
places like Zimbabwe and Kenya.
But it is
down south in the Cape, where climactic and topographic conditions
simulate those of the old wine countries, that the continent's
finest wines are produced. Today the best of South African wine
is up there with the rest, while in the "easy-drinking"
category no one beats us.
has a way with wine and the Cape's wine culture, which goes
back 350 years, is one that reflects the country's sad colonial
and apartheid past, but also shines with the potential and expectation
of the modern wine world.
long history comes a wine tradition of tastes and styles with
its roots in the classic "Old World" of France, Germany
and Italy, but also an acute awareness of the contemporary consumer,
as has been defined by wine-making in the "New World"
of California and Australia.
It has often
been said that South African wine is in the unique position
of straddling both those wonderful worlds. It offers marketing
possibilities that can be harnessed for the challenges of the
new global economy. It can offer the wine-drinking world all
kinds of new flavour experiences. It can also show the way to
handle such sensitive issues as labour relations in the reality
of the beautiful Cape winelands.
the modern market
In the post-apartheid era since 1994, South African wine has
returned to the world arena with significant impact, growing
from some 50-million litres exported that year to topping 139-million
in 2000, representing more than 25% of good wine production.
It is still
increasing, and Cape wine is reaching even more consumers in
more countries. According to the latest figures from the generic
exporter association Wosa, or Wines of South Africa, international
sales for 2001 increased 17.8% compared with 2000, despite the
the industry is small, ranking 16th with about 1.5% of global
plantings, but production, at seventh position, accounts for
3% of the world's wine.
As in most
established wine-producing countries, new plantings are taking
place at a pace and new varieties of wine grapes as well as
new regions are being explored as the country finds itself at
the frontline of modern market requirements.
Of the 105
566 hectares under wine grapevines (compared with 98 203 hectares
in 1997), according to the latest official statistics, 21.38%
is chenin blanc - by far still the country's most widely planted
variety. Sultana (11.28%), a grape that is also used for non-alcohol
purposes, is next, followed by colombard and chardonnay.
sauvignon comprises the majority of red varieties (a mere 8.36%
of total vineyard plantings) in present vineyards, followed
by pinotage and shiraz.
still represent more than two-thirds of the total, but this
has moved from an imbalance of 15% red and 85% white in 1990.
In 2000 more than 80% of all new plantings were red, with shiraz,
cabernet and merlot at the top of the list. At the same time,
87% of all vines uprooted were white, mostly chenin blanc, white
French and colombard.
a shift from chardonnay to sauvignon blanc, a varietal which
lends itself to a larger range of styles and quality levels.
All in all,
in the year up to the end of 2000, 6 042.7 hectares of new vines
the total grape crop was about 1-million tons, from which 830-million
litres of wine were made by 355 active cellars, of which 185
were non-estate "private producers", 92 registered
"estates", 69 co-operatives and nine producing wholesalers.