I was half wondering whether to just cut and paste the old one here, but that’d be just a bit too lazy, right? Instead I’ll just recap it in a briefer way. Anything that doesn’t make sense is probably (hopefully) better explained in the posts during NWTW Week 8 when we did Pinotage.
The big things to remember for the wine industry in South Africa are:
1) The ecosystem is very beautiful but gives winemakers some very unique challenges. Sustainable agriculture across the country’s farms is absolutely mandatory. This can add to costs, but as a consumer it’s good to know that the wine is ethically produced.
2) Apartheid only ended 20 years ago in 1994. The wine industry has embraced the Black Economic Empowerment initiative which has got many people involved with the skills and the employment that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. As the years tick by, the benefits in terms of a skilled and motivated human element to wine production are clear for all to see.
3) Arguably the most important thing for drinkers of South African wine is that the end of apartheid and the fall of the supporting government meant the decline of the state run co-op monopoly. Now there’s lots of opportunity for independent winegrowers to do their own thing and produce a huge range of wines.
4) The wine areas are split up into Geographical Units (e.g. Western Cape), Regions (e.g. Coastal Region), Districts (e.g. Stellenbosch), and Wards (e.g. Elgin Ward). As you go GU’s to Wards you go into more specific and smaller production areas with more area-specific smells and flavours.
Keep these 4 things in your head when you’re choosing a bottle of South African wine and it’ll help I reckon.
Other posts in NWTW Week 15: