SA Chenin nears "tipping point"
28 February 2012 by Gabriel Savage, www.thedrinksbusiness.com
Chenin Blanc from South Africa is approaching a "tipping point", according to one of the variety's biggest pioneers, Ken Forrester.
The winemaker, whose own FMC has done much to promote the potential of this widespread but historically under-rated grape variety, reported a growing enthusiasm for Chenin Blanc, saying: “It’s building its own momentum now.”
The most recent figures from 2010 show that Chenin represents 18% of South Africa’s total hectares under vine, compared to the 10% share for Sauvignon Blanc and 8% share for Chardonnay.
However, while these latter two varieties have seen their proportions more than double since 1990, plantings of Chenin almost halved in that time, as many winemakers put their faith in more widely available international grapes.
However, Forrester, who is also head of the Chenin Blanc Association, is convinced of a reversal in the variety’s fortunes. “More producers are planting Chenin and making serious wine,” he confirmed.
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