People who have never sampled a bottle of South African wine are usually unaware of the country's long wine making history.
The history of wine in South Africa is older than a lot of popular non-European wine making countries today such as the United States, Chile and Argentina.
Unlike these countries however, it was not the Spanish or the French that brought wine making to its shores, but the Dutch.
Anyone who does consider sampling wine from South Africa and learning some of its wine making history will hear of the fabled Groot Constantia estate, of the Cape Town suburbs, that has been producing wine since the mid-17th century. The estate was established by the Dutch Governor of Cape Town of the period, Simon van der Stel, and still produces its famous wine today.
Most of South Africa's wine making efforts are confined to its Western Cape region which enjoys a climate that is favorable to the growth of various wine grapes.
Other than the Constantia estate, other famous wine districts include Stellenbosch, which was established about a decade after the Constantia estate. Some other famous wine districts are Paarl, Franschoek Valley, and the Breede River Valley. You may see these names on bottles of wine of South African origins which also serve as an indication of the wines quality as well.
In terms of red wine grapes, the Carbernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah (Shiraz) are rather well grown within South Africa and people are likely to encounter this sort of wine when they opt for South African wine in venues around the world.
Pinotage and Pinot Noir varietals are also quite popular.
Wine grapes such as the Chenin Blanc are also widely grown in South Africa, although these are predominantly used to make sparkling wine. Wines in South Africa are predominantly classified according to where their grapes were grown and the wine bottled.
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