Without a doubt, the fine wines of South Africa are amongst the best kept secrets in the wine world. South Africa is a founding member of the Six Nations – known back in 2003 as the Tri-Nations Wine Challenge, and according to Huon Hooke, has shown the most marked improvements in quality over this time. Many of the the beautiful Cape wine regions are ideally located between the sea and the mountains – the perfect combination for producing these world class wines of distinction, especially Sparkling Wines, Chenin Blanc, Pinotage, Cabernet, Bordeaux Blends, Syrah & Dessert Wines.
Michael Fridjhon – South Africa
South Africa’s most highly regarded international wine judge, the country’s most widely consulted liquor industry authority, and one of South Africa’s leading wine writers. With over thirty-five year’s experience in the production, wholesale and retail sectors of the industry and considerable local and international expertise, he is South Africa’s most respected wine judge, commentator and liquor industry strategist. Visiting Professor of Wine Business at the University of Cape Town, he also teaches and directs the Wine Judging Academy run in association with its Graduate School of Business.
The roots of the South African wine industry can be traced to the explorations of the Dutch East India Company, which established a supply station in what is now Cape Town. A Dutch surgeon, Jan van Riebeeck, was assigned the task of managing the station and planting vineyards to produce wines and grapes. This was intended to ward off scurvy amongst sailors during their voyages along the spice route to India and the East. The first harvest was made on 2 February 1659 (as noted in Van Riebeec
k’s log) seven years after the landing in 1652.For much of the 20th century, the South African wine industry received minimal international attention. It was not until the late 1980s and 1990s when Apartheid ended, and the world’s export market opened up, that South African wines began to experience a renaissance and focus on well-known varieties such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. South Africa is without a doubt, the best kept secret in the wine world with breathtaking scenery complimenting exceptional world class wines.
Wine Regions: 26
Planted Varietals: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Semillon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Merlot
Climate: Regions have a mostly Mediterranean climate that is marked by intense sunlight and dry heat. Winters tend to be cold and wet with potential snowfall at higher elevations. The threat of springtime frost is rare with most wine regions seeing a warm growing season between November and April.
Winning Wines from South Africa
Below are a selection of winning wines from the Six Nations Wine Challenge since their inclusion.