South African Wine


The history of wine-making in South Africa began as the Dutch East India company established a “refreshment station” at the Cape for trading fleets (a precursor to the truck stop) in 1652. Jan van Riebeeck, the first Cape governor planted the first vineyard in 1655 and others followed with various Dutch immigrants. The Constantia vineyard was first planted by Simon van der Stel and gained some notoriety. But since the Dutch, face it, aren’t really known for their viticultural skills, it wasn’t until the French Huguenots settled in the Cape around the 1680s that more refined wine-making techniques were practiced. 
But South African wines still had yet to catch on in the rest of the world. In the 18th century, there was a shortage of proper oak barrels for aging, and terroirs and climates had yet to be matched to the grapes most suited to grow in them. But the British occupation of the Cape finally helped nudge things along in the mid century, since they Read more »

Mentor for South African Wines

Mary John Baumann, DWS

Accredited wine expert with advanced wine education, sales and lecturing talent. Creative marketer with demonstrated success in global marketing and development of leading multinational luxury brands.

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Popular wines made in South Africa under $20

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Varietals Produced in South Africa View all

  • Pinotage

    History of the grape: In 1925, Stellenbosch University Chief Horticulture Professor Abraham Izak Perold created the P...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc is widely grown in California -- at over 15,000 acres, it’s now the third most planted variety -- and...

  • Chenin Blanc

    History of the grape: Modern day French oenologist Pierre Galet states Chenin Blanc has been in France at least since...

  • Syrah

    The irony here is that Syrah’s origins could give Carmen Sandiego a run for her international wallet. Syrah’s deepest...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

Subregions of South Africa

  • Breede River Valley

      The Breede River Valley is a low altitude, flat wine region in South Africa. Much of it ha...

  • Bot River

  • Coastal Region

      The Coastal Region, within the Western Cape district, is considered the heart of the South...

Popular Wineries in South Africa View all

  • Tall Horse

    Tall Horse is a winery in the Western Cape, at the tip of South Africa, named for the nickname ...

  • Jam Jar

    Jam Jar was born out of the realization that there are not a lot of options available to consu...

  • Neil Ellis Wines

    Neil Ellis Wines differs from most South African wineries in that instead of owning vineyards we ...

  • Boland Kelder

    Situated in the picturesque Paarl Valley, Boland Cellar has much to boast about. Nominated as one...

  • Robertson Winery

    Our winery has a long-standing tradition of dedicated grape-growing families, some of whom are 4t...

  • Rupert & Rothschild

    At the foot of the spectacular Simonsberg mountain in the Franschhock Valley lies the historic Fr...

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South Africa on Snooth

  • Boekenhoutskloof Syrah Coastal Region 2005


    No written review

    Wine review by DHerman

  • Mulderbosch Rose 2006


    No written review

    Wine review by GDal Piaz

  • Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2004


    No written review

    Wine review by GDal Piaz

  • Tresso Cellars Shiraz Blend Stellenbosch Ancient Fynbos 2004


    Possibly a bad bottle, but there was high amount of bottle stink (smelled skunky). In the mouth, yes, I tasted it, there was definitely still the skunk plus a bit a fruit, but not a lot. Mostly earth, some herbs, and yet more skunk. Read More

    Wine review by Stephen

  • Bottle enclosures used to be simple. Cork=good. Screwcap=bad.The lines are now ... ... the price. New Zealand, South Africa, South America and the rest of the New World then began to follow suit.Meanwhile, Europe held steadfastly onto the cork for all but the most inexpensive wines.Just last month, a consortium of highly regarded French Winer... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Corks vs Screwcaps

  • Jardin Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2004


    Decanted" for 6.5 hours. Nose is overwhelmingly coffee beans. with green pepper, blackberries and black peppercorns mixed in. I also get some cedar plank; but coffee is the primary aroma. Mouth-feel was very smooth. Cherry cough syrup, coffee, a little tobacco, a little strawberry. Strong, warming (alcoholic) finish that the mid-palate (though q... Read More

    Wine review by jaye

  • Radford Dale Shiraz Stellenbosch 2002


    Dark reddish purple with thick legs clinging to the sides. Sour raspbery right off when I stick my nose in the glass followed by a little earth, mineral, leather and some light herbal notes. Strong acidity with medium tannins and a sharpness on the front palate. Rich in the mouth the wine show chocolate, charcoal, and redfruit, though overall it... Read More

    Wine review by ryanopaz

  • Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2003


    Light crisp, slight mid palate sweetness, though at 14% could just be the alcohol. Enjoyable but had to have more than a glass on a hot day. More of a winter white. [NR] Read More

    Wine review by ryanopaz

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