'South Africa – with its diverse terroirs, old vines and pure winemaking talent – is one of the most dynamic and exciting winemaking countries in the New World.'
A few decades ago, this statement from wine master Tim Atkins would have been considered an opinion – and an unpopular one at that.
Today, the excellence of South African wine is more fact than opinion. The South African wine industry is booming, and the quality of wine coming from South Africa is increasingly recognised as being on a par with Europe. Once described as bold, heavily oaked and over the top, South African wines are now being described by industry experts as elegant, restraint and sophisticated.
This change is almost entirely owed to renewed attitudes and an influx of knowledge. Firstly, today's South African winemakers perceive wine and winemaking much differently than their old-school counterparts. Rather than copying International wine styles in the hope of replicating their success, the younger generation of winemakers are more passionate about expressing the unique landscape of the country and are willing to venture beyond the traditional limits of winemaking practices.
Secondly, South African winemakers are travelling the world, learning about new grape varietals as well as up-to-date vineyard and cellar techniques from their winemaking brothers and sisters up in the Northern Hemisphere. The practical consequence is that a significant number of vineyards have shifted to cooler sites that are usually at an altitude or have a coastal influence.
Radford Dale wine team
Luckily for us, the regulatory environment has been very responsive to the quick development of the winemaking landscape, encouraging young winemakers to express the provenance and quality of their wines with transparency and authenticity. The impact of this extensive innovation in winemaking has translated into greater confidence among wine producers to emphasise the distinct South African personalities of their wines.
It's clear that South African wines have already come a long way. The question that remains is where the industry will go next – and how far it will go.
Wines of South Africa invite you to celebrate the diversity of South African wine throughout the month April
- Over 60 participating restaurants and retailers will offer special menus, happy hours, discounts and free tastings in April.
- Bring your friends to the Discover South Africa annual tasting on Thursday, 20 April 2017,where you can taste more than 200 wines, South African tapas, biltong and much more. Early-bird tickets are available until 6 April 2017. Use the promo code DrinkSAFoodie for further discounts when purchasing tickets.
- Share your South African Wine Moment by posting a photo with hashtag #drinkSA on Facebook or Instagram and stand a chance to win a Vintec Classic Series 18-bottle wine cabinet.