For many years, South Africa has been somewhat of a mystery to Australian wine drinkers. But, in the last 10 - 15 years, South African wineries have been making a name for themselves around the world. South African terroir has been compared to wine from popular French regions such as Bordeaux and Burgundy - home of some of the best wines in the world.
So, if you’re looking for something new to try, check out our favourite South African wineries producing world-class wines.
The idea of Beyerskloof was established in Johannesburg in 1988 by four wine lovers with a goal to “produce a wine of exceptional character”. Beyers Truter who worked for Kanonkop Estate at the time was one of the founding members of Beyerskloof (previously known as Nooitgedacht) making him the 6th generation of the farm.
Their vineyards initially were focused on the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal which boasts over 20,000 vines on their land. The land is similar to the popular French wine region of Bordeaux, made up of shallow, gravel soil that is ideal for growing grapes.
Beyerskloof use open-air fermenters and stores wine in French oak barriques - the traditional way of wine-making.
They have a wide range of Pinotage wine - South Africa’s signature wine variety. Beyers Truter has such a great belief in this varietal that he was one of the founding members of the Pinotage Association.
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Diemersfontein nestles in the Hawekwa Mountains and displays views of the stunning Du Toit’s Kloof and Bain’s Kloof mountains.
The estate has remained in the Sonnenberg family since the 1940s and has spanned 3 generations. Diemersfonteins’ maiden vintage (2001) won the Paul Sauer Trophy for a wooded Pinotage at the SA Young Wine Show, and today the Diemersfontein brand continues to enjoy the success in attaining numerous wine awards.
Tim Atkin, a British Master of Wine, scored an impressive 91 points for the Diemersfontein Carpe Diem Pinotage 2016 and had this to say about the variety - “ Rich, smooth and chocolatey, it has the concentration to carry its 70% new oak”.
The first vineyards were planted in the 1970s and in 2000 the cellar was built and started producing estate wines. Vineyard plantings include: Shiraz, Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and also less known varietals such as Viognier, Barbera, Roobernet and Mourvedre. Eevry vintage is now celebrated with the annual "Pinotage on Tap" festival.
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Diemersdal is located in one of South Africa’s oldest wine regions - Durbanville Valley.
The complex climate and decomposed soil of Durbanville Valley provide the perfect location to grow vineyards. The grapes require no irrigation and are cooled by Atlantic Ocean winds and benefit from high rainfall. The natural process of growing grapes allows for rich, full-bodied flavours to develop.
Diemersdal have been collecting a slew of accolades in recent years. Their Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2017 was awarded a Double Gold at the 2017 Veritas Wine Awards.
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In 1993, Ken Forrester and his wife would acquire their vineyard through a public auction. Located in South Africa’s most popular wine region, Stellenbosch, they have grown to export their acclaimed wine globally.
Ken Forrester Winery has large plantations of the Chenin Blanc grape variety. When starting the winery, the goal was to develop a Chenin Blanc wine to rival the best white wines in the world and he sure has accomplished this. Ken Forrester is known as Mr Chenin while putting South African wines on the international map with numerous awards so much so that their vineyard is commonly referred to as the Home of Chenin Blanc and other premium award-winning wines from South Africa.
The winery produces a mix of popular South African wines including Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose and Pinotage.
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In the early 1980’s Achim von Arnim acquired a part of land in the wine region of Franschhoek, wanting to make world-class Chardonnay - as well as a goal to produce a local version of French Champagne. Initially Achim von Arnim was cellermaster at one of South Africas larger winemakers - Boschendal!
Achim continued to buy land int he region and purchased what was called - Haute Cabriere. Located in the incredible Franschhoek Mountains, the terrain of Haute Cabriere was similar to popular French wine region - Burgundy.
An underground cellar would be built into the side of the Franschhoek Mountains and opened in 1994.
Their famous Pierre Jourdan Brut was recently nominated for “Best Bubbly” at Wine Tourism South Africa’s “The Klink Awards”. Méthode Cap Classique is South Africas term for Sparkling wines produced in the Champagne method.
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Fairview Winery was purchased by Charles Back in 1937 and is still owned by the Back family to this day.
Fairview Winery have always been innovators in the wine industry. In 1974 they began bottling and would have the Cape’s first public wine auction.
Fairview Winery has forever been a fixture of South African wines and in 1996, Charles Back was named the second most influential person in South African wine (placing behind Nelson Mandela). They were the first to bring Mediterranean grapes including Tempranillo and Sangiovese to the Cape. They could grow a selection of different grapes by going “where the terroir is”. They have vineyards planted in Darling, Swartland, Paarl and Stellenbosch which gives them access to different climate and soil conditions to grow grapes they proudly own all these vineyards.
In 2017, Charles Back became the most awarded winemaker in South Africa.
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Simonsig Wine Estate is synonymous with the history of the South African wine industry, the Stellenbosch wine region, and the Malan family name. Named after the majestic views of the Simonsberg Mountain, Simonsig cultivates, bottles and labels all their wines on the farm - one of the few who do so.
The late Frans Malan produced the first bottle of the much-loved Kaapse Vonkel, South Africaʼs first Méthode Cap Classique made in the classic bottle-fermented style. Malan was also founding member of the Stellenbosch Wine Route.
Simonsig is exceptionally well known for their sparkling wine range as well as their famous award winning Redhill Pinotage!
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Want to try some South African wine? We have a big range of South African wines from these wineries and others available in store and online. Take a look at the South African wine section of our online bottle shop.