Viticulture has been passionately practiced in South Africa for almost 350 years. Originally a means to an end, wine has now become a South African consumer good. South African wine only achieved its current fame in the 1980s with a change in South African domestic and foreign policies.
But how did viticulture come to South Africa in the first place?
A Dutch navigator named "from Riebeeck" transported the first vines to Cape Town when he recognized the potential of South Africa's vegetative and geological peculiarities. He also saw the possible uses of wine on voyages, since wine was superior to water in terms of durability, nutrients and medicinal effects.
French Huguenots contribute their expertise
He was followed not a little later by others French Huguenots, which fueled viticulture in the local area. One of the wineries built there, Boschendal, still exists today. The Huguenots also brought the French barrique barrels with them, which still give the South African wine an individual touch today.
In the following decades and centuries, the number of wineries, as well as the areas used by them, increased rapidly. With them the variety of grape varieties and knowledge of winemaking. However, the number of barrels has fallen, which was triggered by an embargo imposed by the European wine countries. This led to the tradition of using casks as often as possible.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, South Africa faced a multitude of other hurdles that could only be overcome through the country's geological resources. Some hurdles are to great regret also self-made, so many wineries employ slaves and only stopped this with the end of apartheid.
South African wine trade on the rise
In the early 20th century, South Africa's wine industry stabilized with the unification of these as one organization and the invention of the Pinotage and the transition to fair farming practices.
To new glory South Africa only succeeds in the 80s, as it gains access to higher-quality grape varieties and the international market, which means that the range of wines there increases, but the greatest increase is in quality. This results from the combination of noble grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon with a unique terroir full of minerals that characterizes South African wine.
Today, South African wine stands for this quality, as well as for a responsibility to produce wine in an environmentally and humane manner.
Since 2016, we from join us The WineStore on South African history and future. Originally an idea of two students, The WineStore has grown into a serious business. Since then we have been exporting and importing unique wine with a unique history.