At the southern tip of Africa, where two mighty oceans meet in the shadow of the landmark Table Mountain, lies one of the most breathtakingly beautiful wine regions in the world. Known locally as the Mother City, Cape Town is the gateway to the South African wine country and one of the great wine capitals of the world. Here the cultures of Africa, Europe and the East have met and mingled for over 350 years, shaping a city both ancient and modern, rich in colorful history and culturally diverse.
Today South Africa is a peaceful democracy with a vibrant and enormously diverse culture. This diversity is reflected in its wines.
With a winemaking history dating back more than 300 years, the industry reflects the classicism of the Old World but is also influenced by the contemporary fruit-driven styles of the New World. This rare combination makes for wines that are complex yet accessible, refined yet powerful, eloquently expressing the unique terroir and people of the Cape.
In the last few years, a dynamic new vision has given momentum to changes within an industry that is innovation driven, market directed, globally competitive and highly profitable. This new ethos has seen the local wine industry emerge as a global enterprise with strong cultural roots and a sense of social responsibility. It has truly come of age. With the advent of democracy, the opening of new markets and exposure to international trends, South Africa can now compete with confidence on the world wine stage. A passionate new generation of winemakers, many with global winemaking experience, are keen to learn, experiment and consolidate. There has also been a focused shift from grape farming to winegrowing.
The Cape winegrowing areas, situated in the narrow viticultural zone of the Southern Hemisphere, have mainly a Mediterranean climate. The mountain slopes and valleys form the ideal habitat for the wine grape vitis vinifera. Long, sun-drenched summers ensure grapes with enough sugar to provide excellent wines year after year. Wet winters with cool sea breezes and mild temperatures also contribute to the ideal conditions for viticulture at the Cape.
All of the traditional red and white grape varieties are cultivated in South Africa: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cinsault and a unique South African hybrid, Pinotage, which is a cross of Cinsault and Pinot Noir created in the 1920s. White grapes include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc (also known as Steen) and Riesling.
About 30 miles northeast of Cape Town is the picturesque town of Stellenbosch which represents the center of the South African wine industry. With its many diverse microclimates and subregions, Stellenbosch has the biggest concentration of quality-wine producing wine estates in South Africa.
Stellenbosch is stunning, dramatic and beautiful. The town is encased by mountains to the east and rolling hills to the north and west. The region remains green throughout the summer, and irrigation is seldom necessary. Breezes off False Bay help moderate summer temperatures.
Stellenbosch is widely planted with grapes such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Shiraz and Chenin Blanc. Marvelous Pinotage is also grown there. Stellenbosch is thought by many to be the premier red-wine producing area in South Africa. The wines from South Africa showcase winemaking talent and tradition from around the world and project an exhilarating spirit of innovation. We invite you to enjoy one of our South African selections and discover what the excitement is all about!