Natural Causes

Thompson adds: “South Africa has some of the world’s best wine tourism offerings. Within easy reach of Cape Town, most are within two hours’ drive of the city hub. The South African wine lands offer visitors an all-round experience of exceptional food, wine, accommodation and entertainment.

“Wine tourism is a great opportunity for South African wines and there are plans in place to grow this sector. The offerings are a great drawcard to get people from around the globe to visit the wine lands once they have become ambassadors for the country. It’s cost effective, with a sound infrastructure that makes exploring the wineries easy and enjoyable.”

Oldenburg Vineyards’ proprietor, Adrian Vanderspuy, says: “We have recently refurbished our family home to create the luxurious ‘homestead’, offering visitors a chance to stay in the vineyards. Our tasting room offers a peaceful and tranquil environment in which to enjoy a glass of our award-winning wines.”


On the issue of varieties, Thompson says: “The Chenin Blanc grape affords South Africa an opportunity for growth, especially in the on-trade where its food-friendly style is well suited. As South Africa’s most planted variety and one in many older vineyards, there is the opportunity for the country to take ownership of this variety. South Africa is proving capable of producing high-quality Chenin Blanc from several regions.

“There is a clear movement towards planting lighter-style varieties such as Pinot Noir, Grenache and Cinsault, and also varieties that are well suited to a warmer climate. South Africa’s Méthode Cap Classique wines are increasing in popularity too and these will be showcased at Cape Wine 2018, our international wine showcase.”

“Chenin Blanc is South Africa’s most widely planted variety and its versatile profile is proving popular with many consumers around the world,” says Thompson.

Vanderspuy says: “Our key plantings at Oldenburg are Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and a Cabernet Sauvignon and we have seen great success with these. We also plant a few other varieties, such as Viognier and Grenache Noir, which are becoming increasingly popular.”

Finlayson adds: “I fully endorse the fact that Chenin Blanc, Pinotage, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc are winners. There are certainly marvellous Chardonnays emerging from Hemel-en-Aarde and Elgin – as good as any. The local bubblies are also worth trumpeting about. Cabernet Franc is a further one to watch.”

He continues: “With the realisation of global warming, cooler wine regions such as Walker Bay with its Hemel-en-Aarde wards are certainly making their mark. Elgin is also strong in quality white wines.”

Distell’s Erasmus says: “The key trend at the top end is, without doubt, wines made from old vines. We see a lot of good Chenin Blanc-based blends being produced and the consumer is reacting positively to this. In terms of plantings there is a trend towards white varieties in the higher production regions, while Cabernet and Chardonnay are favoured in some of the premium-growing regions.

“In North America soft reds remain popular and there is a definite awareness of Chenin Blanc developing.

“South Africa is still a major supplier of quality entry-level wine in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands and prices unfortunately remain under pressure. In Sweden there is a lot of focus on ethically certified wines – Fairtrade, Fair for Life and the Wine Industry Ethical Trade Association.