In South Africa for #CapeWine2012

I’m in South Africa right now, attending a biennial trade show called Cape Wine 2012. Although wine was first made in 1659, the industry has confronted numerous challenges from the weather, economic crisis, economic boycott, and phylloxera over the years. In the almost two decades since apartheid ended, the industry has changed a lot in terms of grape varieties vinified and how they are grown, wines exported, labor practices, and arrival of international capital. Today, the Western Cape remains a stunningly gorgeous region that has exciting local vintners as well as an international flair: I been in and around Stellenbosch the past couple of days and have already bumped into Bruno Prats, Hubert de Bouard, Charles Banks, and the view above is from Glenelly, the winery built by May de Lencquesaing of Pichon-Lalande. I look forward to exploring the wines, meeting vintners, winemakers and other journalists, and delving into various themes at the show in the coming days. Is there anything you are particularly interested in? What is your take on South African wines now?

In the name of disclosure, and for those who think press trips are nefarious exercises in brainwashing, my trip is organized by Wines of South Africa.

Keep an eye on my Twitter feed for my latest updates (where wifi permits!) including commentary and pictures (instagram handle: drvino).

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9 Responses to “In South Africa for #CapeWine2012”

  1. Dr V, ask why Sourh Africa keeps making Pinotage?

  2. Are all SA producers doing the modern wine thing?
    A better questions might be, “Are they going for Parker or plonk, and the rest be damned?” From my experience (25 bottles in my life), this seems to be the case.

  3. I’d like to know how Charles Back of Fairview Wines is doing. I haven’t heard much of his wines in years. Did Eric Asimov attend too?

  4. dont get stabbed or robbed mmkay

  5. I am a big fan of the white wines from S. Africa, but find that most of the reds that I’ve tried from there have a prominent smoky, barbeque sauce flavor to them. Any idea on what this is? Possibly an effect of reduction?? This has really puzzled me for years and have never found a satisfactory answer.

  6. Hi Ghetto Sommelier – Well, it is a variety developed here and there sill are many acres planted to it. But, I agree, it is difficult. If you’d like a good current release one, try Kanokop 2010.

    Benny Boy – With some very warm growing areas, they can easily tack on sugar levels (leading to high alcohol) and some producers show a fondness for extraction and new oak. However, there are quite a few leaner white wines and some reds with freshness. Check out a group called the Swartland Independents. Here’s a pic from today of two of them:

    Thanks, Robin, I will check out Fairview/Fairvalley. No Asimov is not here but I did see Neal Martin of the Wine Advocate across the room.

    Thanks, Weston!

    Emily – Yes, it is a common complaint. There are a variety of responses as to why but I have noticed the smoky/burned rubber character not nearly as present in the wines I have tasted thus far. Will check it out more!

  7. Thank you for the reply. I looked into SIP. Good call, from what I read, their approach to wine making is of a style I tend to enjoy. So, one more question, are they distributed in the SF Bay Area?

    Thanks again, even if I may not be able to find their wine, I am happy to know they are out there.

  8. Beautiful picture! I’ve had a white wine from South Africa but it’s been a while and the name slips my mind. Safe travels!

    — Kristy @ Wine Logic

  9. Hi Benny Boy!
    Thanks for your interest!
    K&L Wines in SF and Redwood City have Mullineux, Badenhorst, and Sequillo. You can also try Robert’s in Woodside and Farmstead in Oakland/Piedmont area. Maybe someday you can make it down to the Swartland to try some of the rest : )


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