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The history of South African wine begins in 1655, when the first grapevines were planted near Cape Town by members of the Dutch East India Company. The first results weren’t encouraging but as more colonists arrived, they brought a knowledge and a tradition of viticulture and winemaking. The wine industry grew throughout the 18th century, mainly producing sweet and fortified wines. Brandy, which necessitated the cultivation of white grapes, also became a major export. South Africa is found at the southern tip of the African continent. The vineyards are almost all within a hundred miles of Cape Town, which lies at about 34 degrees South Latitude. While not very far south, the climate—described as mild Mediterranean—is suitable for winegrowing for these reasons.
International grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Merlot predominate in the vineyards across South Africa. The most-planted grape is Chenin Blanc, which is resistant to drought, a big plus in South Africa. The best Chenin Blanc wines, many produced from old vines, rival the great Chenin wines of the Loire and the grape has become the country’s signature white grape. The new generation of winemakers in South Africa, many of whom have traveled and worked all over the world, are innovating and improving both in the vineyards and in the cellars. It is a very exciting time for South African wines, which have improved dramatically in recent decades.
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Please note - all wine/sparkling wine is sold in cases of 6 bottles, unless otherwise stated. Please see product details page for clarification if you are unsure.