South Africa’s top 10 fastest-growing grape plantings

South Africa has come a long way since it re-entered the democratic world some twenty years ago, as has its wine industry, which today is flourishing as winemakers continue to test the limits of its terroir.

South AfricaOne of the results of its new found freedom was exploration, the results of which are only now beginning to appear with diversity of varieties, rapid advancement and rising quality combining to present an as yet untapped reservoir of potential.

“South Africa has been producing wine for hundreds of years, but post democracy it has just motored”, said Jo Wehring of Wines of South Africa. “With South Africa it’s hard to summarise its varieties. You have Stellenbosch championing Cabernet Sauvignon and there’s beautiful Chenin Blanc, which are varieties that you would think are traditional and not new wave, but then you see how they are being used in blends, with Mediterranean varieties and from single vineyards. There is the traditional and new wave happening, but they are both driving quality.”

Between 2011 and 2015, fifteen new varieties were planted in South Africa, not accounting for those planted this year, with everything from Nero D’Avola and Nebbiolo to Gruner Veltliner, Assyrtiko and Alicante Bouschet on the radar of winemakers. Adi Badenhorst of Badenhorst Family Wines released South Africa’s first Barbarossa in 2015, following the 2014 vintage, with the second 2015 vintage released this year. He has since planted a second vineyard with the same variety. Similarly Diemersdal in Durbanville released the third vintage of South Africa’s only Gruner Veltliner this year.

South Africa has been making wine for hundreds of years, but is only a mere two decades into its modern wine journey. As such the need for exploration and experimentation is strong among young winemakers, who grew up in the shadow of apartheid but now have the opportunity to experiment and push their craft forward. Consequently, no variety, indigenous or otherwise, is out of bounds.

Click through for our round up of South Africa’s top 10 fastest-growing varieties, based on the number of hectares added between 2011 and 2015. (Statistics sourced from SAWIS)

NB: It’s worth noting that much of the interest currently surrounding Cinsault in South Africa is being driven by the rediscovery of old vines, which means that while interest is high and production is increasing, plantings are not. South Africa’s most-planted variety is Chenin Blanc, which for comparison accounts for 17,965 hectares, followed by Colombard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage.

One Response to “South Africa’s top 10 fastest-growing grape plantings”

  1. Isaac says:

    I want to farm grape in Ghana, I want the one that is very sweet without seed.
    Could you please help me with contacts in South Africa where I can get grape plant to develop my seeding for planting.

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