About South African Wine
South African wine, specifically Western Cape wine carries a significant heritage, with the first grapes planted in 1655. The early history of South African Wine traces back to the days when The Dutch East India Company founded of a supply station at The Cape Of Good Hope. Jan van Riebeeck was elected to manage the station and originally started planting wine and grapes that could be used to ward off scurvy for sailors travelling along the Spice Route. In 1685, Simon van der Stel, another Cape Governor purchased a 750 hectare estate, internationally known today as The Constantia wine estate. But we’ll uncover the history and formation of the Western Cape Wine Regions later on, for now let’s begin to understand South African Wine a little better.
Although by no means a newcomer to planting, growing and harvesting wine grapes South Africa is considered a “New World” Wine Region – see New World Wine Vs. Old World Wine – At three times the size of the state of California, South Africa currently boasts an impressive 99 463 hectares of vine producing wine grapes which are under cultivation over an area roughly 800km in length.
Under the advocacy of the Wine of Origin Scheme, production zones in the Cape Winelands are divided into formally demarcated regions, districts and wards. There are six wine producing regions that fall under the geographical unit of the Western Cape. These six regions embody 26 districts and 69 smaller wards
(Nationally, another four geographical units exist: KwaZulu-Natal; Northern Cape (which includes the production areas Hartswater (ward), Douglas (district), Central Orange River (ward), Rietrivier FS (ward) and Sutherland Karoo (district)); Eastern Cape, which includes the production area St Francis Bay (ward)and Limpopo.)
INFORMATION SOURCE :SA Wine Industry Information and Systems