Cape Town


Cape Town Wine South Africa

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Cape Town red wine, white wine, French champagne, Gift cards, rare and boutique wine. We stock Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rosé, Riesling, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir and Pinotage. FREE shipping specials.

Wine Glossary

White varieties
Chardonnay Very versatile and almost always dry wine; may be wooded or unwooded.
Chenin Blanc Made either in dry, semi-sweet or dessert wine style. Easy drinking fruity style.
Gewürztraminer Made in dry, off-dry, semi-sweet or dessert style. Very floral, fragrant character.
Riesling Styles range, dry through to Noble Late Harvest wines. Mostly off dry in SA. Fragrant aromas and flavours.
Sauvignon Blanc Light to medium-bodied and dry with racy refreshing palate. Sometimes wooded

Red varieties
Cabernet Sauvignon Full bodied, robust red wine nearly always wooded. Higher tannins offer good aging potential.
Merlot Elegant medium to full-bodied wines offering a velvety feel with soft integrated tannins.
Pinot Noir Light to medium-bodied depending on wood maturation. A fruity, lively red wine.
Pinotage SA grape varietal. Style varies from a light-bodied, fruity wine to full bodied with great aging potential.
Shiraz/Syrah Rich medium to full-bodied wines that are generally well oaked.

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History of South African Wine

On 2nd February 1659 the founder of Cape Town, Jan van Riebeeck, produced the first wine recorded in South Africa. In 1685, the Constantia estate was established in a valley facing False Bay by the Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel. His 'Vin de Constance' soon acquired a good reputation. But it was Hendrik Cloete, who bought the homestead in 1778, who really made the name of Constantia famous, with an unfortified wine made from a blend of mostly Muscat de Frontignan (Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains), Pontac, red and white Muscadel (probably clones of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains??) and a little Chenin Blanc. It became a favourite tipple of European kings and emperors, from Frederick the Great to Napoleon. But the vineyards were decimated by phylloxera, the Cloete family were bankrupted, and Groot Constantia was sold to the government as an experimental station. In 1980 Duggie Jooste bought Klein Constantia, redeveloped it, and is now selling a new version of Vin de Constance made from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains.

On 8th January 1918, growers in the Western Cape founded the Koöperatieve Wijnbouwers Vereniging van Zuid-Afrika Bpkt (KWV). KWV came to dominate the industry until the end of the apartheid. In the 1930s they set up the South African Wine Farmers Association (SAWFA) as a 50:50 joint venture with their British agents, Vine Products, taking full control after the Second World War.

Restrictions on the sale of "whites man's liquor" to black South Africans were lifted in the 1960s. Restrictions were never placed on Coloured South African laborers for fear of collapsing the wine farm labor force. Production quotas were abolished in the 1990s, and KWV shed its regulatory functions to the South African Wine Industry Trust and its producing interests to the Wijngaard Co-operative, leaving a publicly-quoted marketing company.

Classification of South African Wine

There are about 60 appellations within the Wine of Origin (WO) system, which was implemented in 1973 with a hierarchy of designated production regions, districts and wards. More recently 3 "Geographical Units" have been declared, which may cover a number of WO Regions plus some additional districts and wards.

WO wines must be made 100% from grapes from the designated area. "Single vineyard" wines must come from a defined area of less than 5 hectares. An "Estate Wine" can come from adjacent farms, as long as they are farmed together and wine is produced on site. A ward is an area with a distinctive soil type and/or climate, and is roughly equivalent to a European appellation. A district can contain several terroirs, whereas a ward can't, which explains why Cape Point, with just one winery, is a district and not a ward.

Varietal WO wines must contain at least 85% of the named variety (75% before 2006). About 75 varieties are currently approved for WO wines.

Western Cape Wine

This Geographical Unit covers almost all of the South African winelands, including the regions of Breede River Valley, Coastal Region, Klein Karoo and Olifants River. It also includes the otherwise unassigned southern districts of Bot River, Cape Agulhas, Overberg, Plettenberg Bay and Walker Bay, and the wards of Cederberg, Ceres, Herbertsdale, Prince Albert Valley, Ruiterbosch and Swartberg.

Grape Varieties

South Africa can claim her own grape variety in the Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault (known locally as Hermitage (grape)). Pinotage was bred in 1925 by Dr. Abraham Izak Perold, the first Professor of Viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch.

South Africa is also notable as the second home of Chenin Blanc, known locally as Steen. However there is a lot of dreary white wine produced from some low quality clones of Steen and Colombard.[citation needed] The grapes known locally as red and white Muscadel are probably Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains demonstrating its variable colouring.

In 2006, SAWIS (South African Wine Information and Systems) reported that the country had 100,146 hectares of vineyards, with about 55 percent planted to white varieties. See table (right) for the major varieties planted in South Africa. Other grapes include Riesling (known locally as Weisser Riesling), Crouchen (known as Cape Riesling), Trebbiano (Ugni Blanc), Sémillon (Groendruif) and Muscat (Hanepoot).

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