1. It offers a whole world of wine in one country
Whether you’re a Bordeaux traditionalist, or zippy NZ Sauvignon Blancs are your thing, South Africa has a wine for you.
This is thanks to the wealth of diversity in South Africa’s vineyards and wine landscapes. From the maritime influence of two mighty oceans, to high altitude mountain ranges and a climate that varies from Mediterranean to the unforgivingly dry – South Africa produces a wide range of wine styles, each with their own unique character and a true sense of place.
Add to this 350 years of winemaking tradition and history, drawing together the restrained elegance of the Old World and the accessible fruit-driven wines of the New, and you have a world of wine to discover.
Here are some places to start:
- Bordeaux-blends > look to Stellenbosch
- Refreshing Sauvignon Blancs > Cape Agulhas or Hemel en Aarde Valley
- Light and juicy Pinot Noir > cool climate Elgin
- Peachy and floral Viognier > explore some South African Chenin Blancs
- Mediterranean cultivars such as Grenache > give the Swartland a try
2. Burgundy “Grand Cru” quality at less than a drop of the price
With the quality of South African wine still being uncovered by many wine drinkers in the UK, and given the favourable ZAR>GBP exchange rates, South Africa offers some of the best value premium wine in the world right now.
So if you’re looking for ‘Grand Cru’ quality without it costing an arm and a leg, South Africa is the place to look.
3. Old Vine heritage is being protected
South Africa is the only country where wines made from vineyards that are at least 35 years old are certified by a regulatory body.
Old vines make wine with a unique character and are therefore valued around the world:
“We believe that older vines bring another dimension, a new character that tells a story of our land, our culture and our history” – Rosa Kruger
Thanks to South African viticulturist Rosa Kruger, lost and forgotten vineyards in the Cape have been rescued and preserved since 2002, with the formal launch of the Old Vine Project (OVP) in 2016. Today, each bottle labelled with a Certified Heritage Vineyard seal can be traced back to the old vines it was produced from.
4. It’s an exciting time for South African wine
While winemaking in South Africa dates back to the 1600s, the last 20 years have been a particularly exciting time for the winelands.
Following the demise of the apartheid era and the lifting of trade sanctions in the early 90s, established winemakers re-emerged onto the world stage with new wines, wineries and even wine regions. The renaissance that ensued, supported by investment and driven by a dynamic new generation of highly qualified winemakers, resulted in an extraordinary leap in wine quality.
Today, winemakers continue to push quality boundaries, develop new wine styles and experiment with techniques old and new, making this a particularly exciting time to be drinking South African wine.
5. The last year has been particularly challenging for the SA wine industry
Since March 2020, there have been three bans on the domestic sale of alcohol in South Africa in a bid to reduce pressure on health services during the Covid pandemic. This has had a devastating impact on the wine industry and could ultimately lead to 27,000 people losing their livelihoods.
Thanks to the support of the international wine community and initiatives such as the global #SaveSAwine campaign, some solace has come through an increase of 7.7% in the value of vital wine exports in 2020.
While there is some hope for a brighter future, the road to recovery will be a long one with every bottle of SA wine enjoyed, as we celebrate our regained liberties, helping to protect livelihoods and an industry in its prime.
Browse our careful selection of some of the best South African wine available to purchase through our online shop.
RAKQ exists to champion premium South African wine in the UK. Born out of a firm belief that the quality of premium South African wine merits greater attention and shelf-space in Britain, the company was established to support winemakers through the challenges of the pandemic. RAKQ offers only the best South African wine through its Online Shop and SA Wine Club.