South Africa first started producing wine in the middle of the 17th century. Jan van Riebeek founded a supply station in South Africa for the East African Trade Company in 1652. Vines were imported ad vineyards planted.
First wines were reportedly of poor quality, but sailors were happy to drink some alcoholic beverage regardless of quality.
The modern history emerged only with the fall of the Apartheid regime.
That was a mere two decades ago, and it is fair to say that since then South African wine industry has been unusually dynamic due to prevailing world market conditions, of demand and supply. The industry had to re-shape and re-fine itself and did so successfully.
There is a continuous effort to refine quality, marketing, shipping, and distribution in an attempt to re-establish South Africa’s place on the world stage.
Presently the wine industry represents 2.2 per cent of the GDP of South African economy.
Today, South Africa produces huge quantities of wine and most is exported to China, the United Kingdom, the U S A, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Canada. The indigenous population drinks mainly spirits and beers.
In Ontario, South African wines were once very popular due to their competitive pricing. When “trade sanctions” were imposed, they wee absent from the Ontario market for several years and lost a considerable amount of market share.
Now South African wines are gradually regaining their previous levels of market share albeit at low prices.
First agents and wine writers were offered a sit-down tasting of 29 wines, most of which are general list products.
After lunch, agents presented various general list, consignment and private import wines for the trade.
The following wines stood out:
Chardonnay, 2012, Aldering 90/100 $ 28.00
Sauvignon Blanc, 2012, Rooiberg 90/100 $ 12.00
Siju, 2011, 89/100, $ 29.80
Rose, 2012, Mulderbosch, 90/100 $ 12.95
Spencer, 2011, Lemberg Estate Wines 90/100, $ 35.55
Shiraz, 2010, Rooiberg 89/100 # 11.50
Triptych, 2008, Cathedral Cellars 89/100 $ 16.95
Goats de Roam, 89/100$ 14.95