Wines of South Africa
In keeping with the spirit of renewal in the South African wine industry, in recent years over 40% of the vineyards were replanted as the industry has realigned its product to compete globally, moving from volume production to noble cultivars and quality wines. South African vineyards were once dominated by white grape varieties but the predominantly red new plantings shifted that. In the last two years, winegrowers have started planting more whites than reds, a reversal of the 10-year trend to planting more reds.
Noble varieties which have been cultivated increasingly in the past few years include Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, which produce top-class white wines, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Pinot Noir. A significant proportion of our red wine vineyards are currently very young – 74,8% are under 10 years old.
Although most of the vine varieties cultivated here today were originally imported, up to now six local crossings have been released. The best known of these is a red variety, Pinotage, a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Hermitage (Cinsaut), which more recently is cultivated locally on a fairly large scale.
The Worcester Region has the most vineyard plantings (20% of all vines), followed by Paarl and Stellenbosch (17%), Malmesbury (15%), Robertson (13%), Olifants River (10%), Orange River (5%) and Little Karoo (3%).
The Worcester Region also produces the most wine (24%), followed by Olifants River (17%), Robertson (14%), Paarl and Orange River (12%), Stellenbosch and Malmesbury (9%), and Little Karoo (3%).