A Wine Cellar guide to South African wines

A new wave of forward-thinking winemakers has put South Africa on the fine wine map. The last decade has seen some exciting developments in the local wine industry. The quest to produce honest, elegant and terroir-driven wines at lower alcohol levels and with less intervention is slowly gaining traction.

Common white varieties

Chenin Blanc/Steen, Sauvignon Blanc, Colombard, Chardonnay, Sémillon, Muscat and Palomino

Common red varieties

Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Cinsaut, Syrah/Shiraz, Grenache, Pinotage, Merlot and Tinta Barocca

Wine of origin laws

There are no legal restrictions on the varieties that can be planted in each region but Wine of Origin (WO) laws stipulate the geographical unit that wines are made in, including regions, districts, wards and individual estates. For a wine to be WO approved, 100% of the grapes must come from the stated area. To be labelled as a particular vintage or variety, 85% of the wine must be from the said year or grape variety.

Opstal vineyards

David & Nadia vineyards

Did you know?

Pinotage is a South African-born variety. It was created in the 1920s by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsaut and has given rise to the Cape Blend, which is generally made from Bordeaux varieties along with a small percentage of Pinotage.