At the southern tip of Africa, where two mighty oceans meet in the shadow of landmark Table Mountain, lies the fairest Cape in the world. Known locally as the Mother City, Cape Town is the gateway to the South African winelands and one of the great wine capitals of the world. Here the cultures of Africa, Europe and the East have met and mingled for over 350 years, shaping a city both ancient and modern, rich in colourful history and culturally diverse.
The Cape has witnessed many momentous events in South Africa's history: the landing of the Dutch settlers in 1652, the British invasion during the Napoleonic Wars, and the rebellion into the interior known as the Groot Trek. This was where, in 1990, Nelson Mandela took his first historic walk to freedom. And it was here, four years later, that Archbishop Tutu described the new South African nation as 'the rainbow people of God', and the 'rainbow nation' was born.
Today South Africa is a peaceful democracy, a vibrant and exciting country of enormous diversity. This variety is reflected in our wines. With a winemaking history dating back more than 300 years, the industry reflects the classicism of the Old World but is also influenced by the contemporary fruit-driven styles of the New World. This rare combination makes for wines which are complex yet accessible, refined yet powerful, eloquently expressing the unique terroir and people of the Cape.
In the last few years, a dynamic new vision has given momentum to changes within an industry which is innovation driven, market directed, globally competitive and highly profitable. This new ethos has seen the local wine industry emerge as a global enterprise with strong cultural roots and a sense of social responsibility. It has truly come of age. With the advent of democracy, the opening of new markets and exposure to international trends, South Africa can now compete with confidence on the world wine stage. A passionate new generation of winemakers, many with experience of harvests around the globe, are keen to learn, experiment and consolidate. There's also been a focused shift from grape farming to wine growing.
With new wineries opening up at a steady rate and South African wines attracting increasing acclaim internationally, Su Birch, CEO of WOSA, says: "A growing visibility in key markets abroad, the recognition by foreign trade and consumers of the value South African wines offer across price ranges, and the rise in South African wine tourism have all contributed to aggressive growth. Positive international media coverage has also played a key role. South Africa has the advantage of being able to supply foreign markets with regionally diverse wine styles which highlight the Cape's biodiversity."
Click HERE to read more facts about the SA wine industry.
Click HERE to read about the three main types of wine producers found here.
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