The Wine Industry in South Africa

South African Wine Industry Statistics

As the wines from South Africa continue to impress connoisseurs from all over the world, the growth of the vineyards has been steadily increasing and the latest figures show that the vineyards account for 105 566 hectares of land compared with the 1997 figure of 98 203 hectares.

The most commonly planted grape is the Chenin Blanc followed closely by the Chardonnay variety. Although the market in South Africa has been dominated by white wine varietals, there has been a sturdy effort to plant more red grapes, especially Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. The indigenous Pinotage blend is also a huge hit locally and overseas. A Chenin Blanc Association along with a Pinotage Association have been established in order to perfect these popular varietals.

Most South African wineries produced whites, but in recent years more than 80 percent of all new plantations have been of red grape vines. South Africa wants to prove to the world that they have the best of both wines, and with the excellent topography and climatic conditions in the various areas, along with a boost of 17.8 % in international sales in 2001, regardless of global recession, this is certainly proving to be the case.

The year 2000 saw over 830 million liters of wine being produced in the Cape Wine Route area from over 355 cellars and a staggering 6042.7 hectares of new vines were planted. There are now over 60 official appellations that have been declared in all the wine regions of South Africa that extend from the tip of the continent all the way inland to the dry, arid Karoo area and the Free State Province.