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Cabernet Sauvignon has long been grown in South Africa, in almost all the regions of the Cape, but most extensively in Paarl and Stellenbosch. This noble grape has become the most widely planted red variety, accounting for over a quarter of the hectares planted to red wine grapes.

Merlot was first planted in South Africa in 1910. Traditionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon but increasingly bottled as a single varietal with succulent, fruity flavours. This variety is found in Stellenbosch, Paarl and Worcester as well as in the drier regions along the West Coast.

Pinotage was born in 1925 when South African viticulturist Professor Perold crossed Pinot Noir with Hermitage (Cinsaut). This variety is unique to South Africa and is celebrated worldwide for the distinctively rich and spicy wines it produces. More than a fifth of our red wine vineyards are dedicated to Pinotage.

Shiraz is well suited to the Cape and is seen to have tremenduous potential. Intense smoky and spicy wines are being produced. Plantings have increased significantly, particularly in warmer areas.

Pinot Noir has relatively small plantings in South Africa. Nevertheless, outstanding, international award winning wines are being produced in the cooler Walker Bay and Elgin areas.

Other red varieties are Ruby Cabernet, Cinsaut and Cabernet Franc, used mainly for blending, and Tinta Barocca .

More producers than would admit, are experimenting with a block or two of what had previously been regarded as rather ‘foreign' cultivars. Such recent introductions include Mourvèdre, Malbec, Petit Verdoc, Viognier and Nebbiolo.




Chardonnay was only introduced to South Africa in 1982. Many new vineyards of this popular noble variety have been planted in recent years and, whether oak-fermented and matured or left unwooded, Cape Chardonnay always makes elegant wines full of fruit flavours.

Chenin Blanc (Steen) is the most widely planted grape variety in South Africa.This variety produces fresh, fruity easy-drinking styles. Modern growers are raising the standard of Chenin to a new level by making lively and full flavoured wines with excellent maturation potential. Chenin is also highly suitable for sparkling wines and brandy production.

Sauvignon Blanc was widely planted in South Africa during the 18th century. South African Sauvignon Blanc strikes a balance between the flinty, mineral qualities of classic French styles and the herbaceous, grassy character typical of the New World. South African wines made from this variety are turning heads internationally.The Sauvignon Blanc vineyards are found predominantly in the Paarl, Stellenbosch and Constantia areas.

Colombard makes crisp, dry fruity wines. Colombard is often blended with Chenin Blanc or with Chardonnay.

Sémillon , once the Cape's most dominant variety, today it represents a tiny percentage of South Africa's total vineyard area. Sémillon is currently regaining popularity and wines of great intensity and flavour are being made.

Other white varieties include Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Muscat d'Alexandrie, Muscat de Frontignan, Cape Riesling (Crouchen Blanc) and Viognier.

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