The New South Africa 2018
“A winning combination of better viticulture, the development of new wine regions and the emergence of a young generation of wine-making talent make South Africa the most dynamic wine-producing country in the world right now,”. TIM ATKIN MW
Atkin argues that South Africa’s old vines are “a precious and dwindling resource that needs protection” and says that too many wine farms are unprofitable because of the low price of the country’s wines, particularly on export markets. “In the absence of significant government subsidies, the answer is to increase the price of South African wine.” TIM ATKIN MW
Significant old vine plantings being underutilised… A global perception for the production of low quality high volume wines due to poor quality exports… A new generation of young, enthusiastic winemakers attempting to buck the trend and focus on quality driven wines… All this sound familiar? The story of South African wine parallels our own domestic narrative over the last three decades. It is little wonder Tim Atkin has singled out South Africa as the most dynamic wine country at the moment. South African wine in Australia has largely been confined to the nominal Pinotage and Chenin Blanc (if that) on a wine list or in a more discerning retailer. Recently we’ve seen a few exception wines from SA produced from old vine material and exception wine-making and this is but a small preview of what will no doubt be taking the world by storm!
Sebastian and the team at PWS
A few notes on the regions:
Swartland: fashionable wine-producing district in South Africa which, since the late 1990s, has attracted some of the country’s most adventurous and least interventionist winemakers. This focus is partly explained by the relatively high percentage of older vineyards planted with varieties well suited to predominantly dryland viticulture. For red wines these are mainly Rhône varieties, while the whites are typically blends based on low-yielding old Chenin Blanc vineyards. There is a strong community spirit here and an energetic local association of Swartland Independent Producers.
Western Cape: the most important of the five geographical units making up South Africa’s production areas defined by the country’s wine of origin scheme and accounting for well over 90% of the nation’s vineyards and wineries. (Even the extensive coastal region is a region within it.) On wine labels it generally indicates a multi-regional blend.