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South Africa
Although vines were planted by the original Dutch settlers and the Cape was celebrated in the 18th century for its legendary Constantia dessert wine, the modern South African wine industry only really got going in the early Nineties

Although vines were planted by the original Dutch settlers and the Cape was celebrated in the 18th century for its legendary Constantia dessert wine, the modern South African wine industry only really got going in the early Nineties after the ending of years of apartheid and economic isolation.  Now it is the 6th most popular source of wine in theUK.  Their appeal has been for their ability to produce everything from good entry level wine to top quality wines that compare with the best in the world. There is now a concerted drive to bring other ethnicities into the business.  It was only late in 2009 that Thandi became the first South African Fair Trade wine brand to be owned by a black farmers’ collective.  In the annual Tri Nations Challenge 2011 (South Africa vsAustralia andNew Zealand) Paul Cluver Chardonnay 2009 won the Trophy for best white wine in the show as well as Trophy for best Chardonnay.

Look for:

STELLENBOSCH PRODUCERS:

RUSTENBERG – Icon winery in SA, producer of fine Red blends and premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.  Located on the slopes of the Simonsberg.

GLENELLY – property purchased in 2003 by May  de Lencquesaing formerly of Ch Pichon Lalande, making classic red varietals and blends plus newly released Chardonnays Located on the slopes of the Simonsberg.

KAAPZICHT – 3rd generation of the Steytler family making exemplary Pinotage and classic red varietal wines. Steytler premium wines regularly win international awards. Located in the Bottelary Hills.

GUARDIANPEAK– Winery owned by Jean Engelbrecht producing wines that are strong, positive examples of their varietals and location on theHelderbergMountain.

RUST EN VREDE – Icon winery in SA. 300 year old Winery owned by Jean Engelbrecht.  Specialising in Cabernet, Merlot andShirazproduced from estate grown Helderberg fruit.

ERNIE ELS WINES – Wines made by Louis Strydom, with many international accolades.  Extended range in 2011 with 4 single varietals and Big Easy red blend and Chenin Blanc. Located on the Helderberg.

Walker Bay, BOUCHARD FINLAYSON – Peter Finlayson, the winemaker planted the vines in 1989. PinotNoirGalpinPeak is the star of the estate alongside 3 styles of Burgundian inspired Chardonnay and some innovative red and white blends.

Elgin, PAUL CLUVER – 2000 ha estate, mostly part of  UNESCO world heritage site. First wine growers in the region, plantings started in 1986.  Banks of cloud frequently cover the vineyards enabling cool climate varietals to thrive.

Elgin, CATHERINE MARSHALL – Established ‘home base’ inElgin permanently in 2011 having vines and winery under her control plus buying in premium red varietals for SMG blend. Motto is ‘Powered by Pinot’ has 10 years under her own brand.

Malmsbury,SPICE ROUTE –  Charles Back, owner was aware of ‘how easily quality happens in Swartland’ established the brand in 1997.  Recognised for producing exceptionally ripe and deep flavoured wines.  Deep red soils, unirrigated bush vines produce the red wines in Malmsbury, whilst white wines are produced in Darling – being moderated  by cooling Atlantic breezes and morning mists.

Overberg, SLOWINE – A collaboration of producers around theGroenlandMountain where the Parrot-beaked Tortoise (on the label) is found. Motto ‘Time becomes precious when life rushes by’

Western Cape, THANDI – Established inElgin in 1995.  Fairtrade producers of grapes and fruit.  First majority Black owned co-operative inSouth Africa.

Western Cape,CAPEDIVERSITY –  Recognising  the cultural and natural diversity of theCape in this easy drinking range.

Western Cape, INDABA – Zulu word for ‘meeting of minds’ Production overseen by Bruwer Raats, celebrated winemaker of Raats Family wines.  Grapes selected from emerging regions – Robertson,Wellington,BreedeRiver.  Supports a scholarship fund  for wine –related studies for formerly disenfranchised communities in SA.

Western Cape, FORGE MILL – Great value range offering varietal distinction and consistency.

Western Cape, LIVING ROCK – Blended in South Africa by Charles Withington for Seckford Agencies, wines of personality at competitive price points.