Since the 1990s the production and popularity of South African Wine started to grow. This is due mainly to the end of the apartheid. From this many winemakers begin to indulge into their wine making exploring new ideas and technologies that they had never tried before, to rapidly speed up their developments of wine production. They also began to exchange ideas with other wine makers from around the world as before this time they had only exchanged through post, and now other winemakers from around the world where being flown into South Africa to share their knowledge on viticulture and wine making. All these factors have helped the South African Wine industry bloom in the last 20 years.
The South African wine regions are mainly situated around the coast exposed to the Atlantic and Indian Ocean at the South tip of Africa. Because of this exposure to the sea the major wine regions have a Mediterranean climate, which mean that the vineyards are exposed to hot sunlight during the day, with a cooler temperature in the evening created by the cool sea breezes. Also the main ocean current brings cool breezes from the Antarctica, to help cool South Africa’s hot days.
South Africa’s most popular red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinotage, and South Africa’s most popular whites are Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay.
South African Wine has many wine growing regions, some of the most popular are:
Constantia was the first place where vineyards in South Africa where planted. Because of this regions shape it is exposed to the sea on both sides, experiencing cool breezes, which cool down its days and nights, to create a slow and ripening period for the vineyards. Sauvignon Blanc is famous here.
Stellenbosch is a popular tourist destination for wine lovers, with many wine trails and vineyards with included accommodation for a tourist to visit. Here the second vineyards were planted in South Africa. This area is exposed to the nearby coast which brings in a cool sea breeze, keeping the summer temperature steady. Here African red wines are grown in the east and white wines in the west, where they are nearer to the cool breeze from the coast.
Paarl can be hot, meaning that the best vineyards are grown on the higher altitudes. Two popular areas here are The Franschhoek Valley and Wellington. Paarl is mainly linked to white wine, but with the hot summers and steep slopes, red wines popularity is rising.
Robertson is known for its Chardonnay and Shiraz, along with other South African Whites. Robertson is a hot region located in the Valley, where the river gives life to the area.
Walker Bay is known for its cool climate as it is close to the coast and constantly exposed to the ocean breeze. Chardonnay and Pinot Noire are famous here.