South Africa Wines
Although South Africa is regarded as a New World wine producer, the first grapes were actually pressed for wine at the Cape in 1659 under the command of Jan van Riebeeck. He had come to the Cape in 1652 to establish a settlement on behalf of the Dutch East India Company. Vineyards were planted more extensively a generation later.
Today, in terms of world wine production, South Africa now ranks number nine in volume and produces 3.1% of the world's wine. It has emerged as a global enterprise with strong cultural roots and a sense of social responsibility.
Wine production is concentrated around Cape Town, with major vineyard and production centers in Paarl, Stellenbosch and Worcester. A "Wine of Origin" system was implemented in 1973 with designated production regions, districts and wards. There are now nearly 60 officially declared appellations. Key varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.