Nice Red Wine: What To Look For

Nice Red Wine: What To Look For

Exploring the world of red wine is a sensory journey filled with unique flavours and characteristics. From fruit-forward notes to earthy undertones, each sip offers a glimpse into the intricate world of wine flavours. In this guide, we delve into the essence of nice red wine, uncovering the key characteristics and features that make it a delightful experience. Explore with us as we navigate through the nuances of wine flavours, characteristics, the essence of a perfect red wine selection and two of the Woolworths Cape wines.

Her Wine Collection

The Flavour Profile of Nice Red Wine

One of the first things to consider when choosing a nice red wine is the flavour profile. Each wine has its own unique combination of flavours, which can range from fruity and sweet to earthy and bold, and the flavours of wine are influenced by factors such as the grape variety, region, and winemaking process.

Fruit Flavours

Many red wines are characterised by their prominent fruit flavours, which can vary from bright and light to dark and jammy. Red wines like Merlot or Grenache often have notes of strawberry, red cherry, or red currant, while others such as Zinfandel may present richer fruit flavours like black cherry or ripe plum. 

nice red wine - merlot sign in the vineyards

Spice and Herb Notes

Spice notes in red wine are typically derived from either the grape variety itself or from the ageing process, particularly in oak barrels. Some red wines might offer a hint of black or white pepper, cinnamon, or liquorice. Herbs like rosemary, thyme, or oregano can also come through.

Earthy and Woody Undertones

Earthy flavours in nice red wine can range from the subtle taste of minerals or wet stone to more pronounced flavours like leather, tobacco, or mushroom. These flavours are often associated with Old World wines, such as those from France or Italy, and can add complexity and depth. Woody undertones typically come from ageing in oak barrels and can impart flavours of vanilla, cedar, smoke, or toast. The type of oak used and the duration of ageing will influence the intensity and quality of these flavours.

Floral and Other Aromatics

Some red wines, particularly those made from grapes like Pinot Noir and Sangiovese, can have floral aromatics such as violets, lavender, or rose petals. These delicate notes can add elegance and a sense of freshness to the wine. Other aromatics that may be present include chocolate, coffee, or even hints of tar, all contributing to a wine’s unique bouquet.

Winemaker smelling a glass of red wine

It’s important to note that these are general flavour profiles, and not all red wines will have the same exact flavours. Every person’s palate is different, which means that what one person may taste in a wine may differ from another person’s experience.

Characteristics of a Nice Red Wine

In addition to flavour, there are a few other characteristics to consider when selecting a nice red wine in South Africa. While these features can vary based on the grape varietal and the region in which it was produced, some key characteristics to look for in a nice red wine include:

Nice Red Wine – Body 

The body of a wine refers to its weight, texture, and overall mouth feel. It can range from light-bodied (think Pinot Noir) to full-bodied (think Cabernet Sauvignon). A wine’s body is influenced by factors such as the grape variety, climate, and winemaking process. Full-bodied wines tend to have higher alcohol content and more concentrated flavours, while light-bodied wines, are typically more refreshing and easier to drink.

Nice Red Wine – Tannins

Tannins are naturally occurring compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems that give wine its astringency and structure. They can be described as the drying sensation you feel in your mouth when you drink red wine. Some red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, are known for their high tannin levels, which can contribute to their ageing potential.

Person Holding Grapes

Nice Red Wine – Acidity

Acidity is a key component in wine that gives it its tart and refreshing taste. It helps balance out the sweetness and tannins in a wine, making it more enjoyable to drink. Red wines tend to have lower acidity levels compared to white wines, but there are some exceptions which do have quite a high acid content, such as Grenache. 

Nice Red Wine – Alcohol Content

The alcohol content of a wine can vary greatly and is influenced by factors such as the grape variety, climate, and winemaking process. The alcohol content is typically listed on the label and is expressed as a percentage by volume (% ABV). A higher alcohol content can lead to a fuller-bodied wine with more intense flavours. However, balance is, of course, key, as too much alcohol can overpower the other elements of the wine.

Nice Red Wine – Finish

The finish of a wine is the impression it leaves after you’ve swallowed it. A good red wine will often have a long, satisfying finish that lingers on the palate. This can be a continuation of the flavours detected while tasting or even introduce new subtle notes. The quality of the finish is often indicative of a wine’s overall complexity and craftsmanship.

Nice Red Wine – Complexity

Complexity refers to the range and harmony of flavours, aromas, and characteristics within a nice red wine. A complex wine will reveal different notes and nuances as you taste it, often changing and evolving in the glass. Complexity can be a result of many factors, including the grape blend, terroir, ageing process, and winemaker’s technique.

Winemaker looking at a glass of wine

Nice Red Wine – Balance

Balance is the harmonious integration of a wine’s flavours, acidity, tannins, and alcohol. A well-balanced wine will not have any one characteristic dominating the others, but rather they will work together to create a pleasing and cohesive experience. Balance is often what separates good wines from great wines and is a key factor to consider when selecting a nice red wine.

HER Wines: Two Popular Red Wine Varietals

While there are countless red wine varietals to choose from, two of the most popular varietals include Pinotage and Shiraz.

HER Wines Shiraz

The 2022 Shiraz from HER Wine Collection flawlessly combines the flavours of dark berries with subtle notes of spice and vanilla, producing a captivating wine. It leaves a lasting impression on the palate and is hailed as a top nice red wine of South Africa.

HER Shiraz in front of a fireplace

HER Wines Pinotage

The 2022 Pinotage from HER Wine Collection enchants wine enthusiasts with its rich, ripe red berry flavours, complemented by aromatic spicy notes. Its medium-bodied structure features velvety and soft tannins that enhance the richness of the delicious fruit tastes.

Lady holding a bottle of HER Pinotage

Where to Find HER Wines 

Our wines are available to purchase directly from our online store, but if you’re looking for alternative options of where to purchase HER Wine in South Africa, there are many local and online retailers where they can be found. 

One great option is Woolworths. Woolworths offers the complete selection of the HER Wine Collection at stores nationwide in the Woolworths wine section, and these can also be found at Woolworths Online. If you are looking for a nice red wine, then the HER Wine Collection Shiraz, as well as the HER Wine Collection Pinotage are available at Woolies wine online at R89.99 per bottle.

HER Wine Shiraz being Poured

The HER Wine Bursary Initiative

The HER Wine Bursary initiative arises from the HER Wine Collection, a pioneering effort led by women in the winemaking industry. Having overcome significant challenges in their professional journey, the HER Wine Collection team understands the hurdles aspiring individuals face to carve out their careers. Motivated by this knowledge, we have committed 2% of our proceeds to set up a bursary to empower ambitious, talented, young individuals to pursue their dreams. 

HER Wine Bursary Stamp

Eligible candidates for this scholarship are families actively working on wine farms that cultivate grapes for the HER Wine Collection. Selected recipients will receive help financially for their academic endeavours, along with mentorship to help them navigate the difficulties of higher education and career advancement.

Contact HER Wines

Stay updated with the latest news and wine specials from the HER Wine Collection by following us on Instagram and Facebook. For more information or inquiries about our selection of nice red wine, feel free to email us at info@herwinecollection.co.za, call us at 021 111 0210 or contact us on WhatsApp 060 551 5989.

Best White Wine in South Africa: A Spotlight on HER Wines

Best White Wine in South Africa: A Spotlight on HER Wines

Cape Town is renowned for its scenic beauty, diverse culture, and of course, its exceptional wines. Among the myriad of wineries dotting the landscape, HER Wine Collection stands out for its commitment to crafting exquisite South African white wine that captures the essence of the region. In this blog, we embark on a delightful journey through HER Wine Collection’s white wines, delving into the unique characteristics of each grape variety, exploring tasting notes, suggesting pairings, and uncovering how some of this best white wine can elevate your culinary adventures.

Who is HER Wines?

HER Wines proudly stands as a pioneering force in the South African wine industry, as the premier enterprise entirely owned and operated by black women. Every aspect of our extraordinary journey, from nurturing the vineyards to creating extraordinary bottles, and overseeing marketing, production and distribution, is driven by the passion and dedication of black women. We value the exchange of ideas, mutual inspiration, and the cultivation of deeper connections within South Africa’s wonderfully diverse communities.

best white wine - HER Team

Best White Wine: HER Wines White Wine Selection

At HER Wines we offer two exceptional expressions of white wine: Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc.

Best White Wine: Sauvignon Blanc

The name “Sauvignon Blanc” is derived from the French term ‘Sauvage’, which translates to ‘wild’, giving it the meaning of ‘wild white (vine)’. This grape variety originated in France’s Loire Valley before being introduced to South Africa. The history of Sauvignon Blanc runs deep in South Africa, with records indicating its cultivation as early as 1880 in Constantia. The oldest recognised vine block is located in the Swartland area and was planted around 1965. 

Loire Valley - overlooking vineyards
Loire Valley

The flavour profile of Sauvignon Blanc undergoes significant transformation based on the climate, which makes it one of the best white wines. Cooler climates yield “greener” notes, such as bell peppers, grass, and citrus, while warmer regions produce intense stone and tropical fruit flavours. These wines are distinguished by their minerality, often presenting a flinty or chalky undertone that contributes complexity and depth to the flavour profile. This mineral quality can also impart a subtly bitter finish, complementing the wine’s fruit-forward nature perfectly. 

Best White Wine Tasting Notes

The HER Wines 2023 Sauvignon Blanc exudes notes of freshly cut grass, green apple, and luscious grapefruit and granadilla flavours, offering a refreshing and lively taste profile.

HER Sauvignon Blanc being held

Best White Wine Food Pairing

The Sauvignon Blanc from the HER Wine Collection is a refreshing and vibrant choice that delights the palate. Best enjoyed chilled, it pairs perfectly with a refreshing green salad or succulent grilled chicken, transforming an ordinary day into a remarkable experience.

Best White Wine: Chenin Blanc

Beyond France, South Africa stands as a significant advocate for Chenin Blanc and with over 19,000 hectares dedicated to its cultivation, the country outstrips the grape’s native land in vineyard acreage. Introduced in 1655 by the Dutch East India Company, Chenin Blanc, also known locally as “Steen,” has evolved from a staple grape to a focal point of fine winemaking in South Africa, especially among producers nurturing old bush vines. 

chenin blanc grapes in vineyard

The grape’s inherent high acidity plays a pivotal role in the remarkable diversity of wine styles derived from Chenin Blanc. This intense acidity contributes structural integrity and vibrancy to both still and sparkling wines, complementing the grape’s waxy and honeyed notes. 

Best White Wine Tasting Notes

This is a daring yet invigorating Chenin Blanc wine with a pronounced tropical and stone fruit fragrance, giving way to creamy apple and lingering green melon notes on the finish.

Best White Wine Food Pairing

The HER Wines Chenin Blanc is delightful when paired with fresh salads, pasta salads, cheese boards and even light curries.

HER Chenin Blanc with wine glass

Cooking with HER Wines

Wines are not only delicious to drink but can also add that little bit of extra to your meals when it is used in cooking. Discover the art of cooking with some of the best white wine to enhance your culinary creations: from rich Chenin Blancs for creamy sauces to citrusy Sauvignon Blancs for seafood, the diverse flavour profiles of the wines and different cooking techniques can enhance a wide range of dishes. Let us uncover the perfect pairing and cooking methods to bring out the best in your meals:

Cooking with Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc, renowned for its fruity, herbal, and floral notes, introduces a wonderful dimension when used in vegetable-based cooking. It’s notably one of the most versatile wines for culinary use, and you can simply incorporate a splash of the wine to deglaze the sauté pan.

Sauvignon Blanc with a Glass of Wine

For an exceptional culinary experience, consider pairing this wine with artichokes, eggplant, swiss chard, Mediterranean-style tomato dishes, bell peppers, mushrooms and garlic. You can consider enhancing the flavours with a touch of lemon and butter for added richness and perfectly balanced acidity. 

Cooking with Chenin Blanc

When preparing cream sauces, gravy, and chicken dishes, opt for thicker and intensely flavoured dry white wines such as Chenin Blanc. Chenin, known for its richness and availability, is a popular choice for these kinds of culinary applications. Cooking with wine in cream sauces or gravies can be challenging due to the need to balance acidity, and it is important to monitor the wine reduction. In order to navigate this successfully, it’s best to reduce the wine before incorporating the cream.

General Tips for Cooking with White Wine: 

  • Keep in mind that the longer the wine is cooked, the less alcohol will remain in the dish. It may take up to 2.5 hours of simmering to completely remove the alcohol.
  • When preparing cream sauces, cook the wine separately and reduce it by half before adding the cream. Most recipes recommend using 1/2 to 3/4 cup of wine.
  • When cooking shellfish, incorporate wine into the broth for steaming or poaching (e.g., mussels, clams, oysters).
  • Opened, refrigerated white wine remains drinkable for up to a week and is suitable for cooking for two weeks.
  • Add a few tablespoons of wine to marinades to tenderise the meat and enhance caramelisation during cooking.
  • After sautéing vegetables, deglaze the pan by adding a few tablespoons of one of the best of white wine.
best white wine - creamy mussels

HER Bursary

Within the HER Wine Collection, our exceptional team of women understands the challenges encountered on the path to professional success and we know the hurdles faced by young people striving to carve their own way in the world. This fuels our dedicated commitment to providing assistance, and so we have pledged 2% of our profits to a bursary fund aimed at supporting the dreams and goals of aspiring young minds and helping them to transform their aspirations into tangible reality.

Her Wine Bursary Logo

Selected recipients will not only receive financial aid for their education but also critical mentorship, guiding them through the complexities of tertiary studies and supporting their pursuit of a fulfilling career. By working together, we can create a brighter, better future.

Purchase HER Wines

Indulging in our exceptional wines, which are some of the best white wine in South Africa, is easily accessible and available to buy at various retailers nationwide, including Woolworths stores or online. Stay updated with the latest news from the HER Wine Collection by connecting with us on Instagram and Facebook. For more details or inquiries regarding our delightful wines, to stay up to date with our wine specials or to make a purchase, please contact us via email at info@herwinecollection.co.za or call us at 021 873 3170.

What Makes Wine Farms in The Western Cape so Special

What Makes Wine Farms in The Western Cape so Special

The Western Cape of South Africa is known for its stunning landscapes, diverse culture, and delicious cuisine. The region boasts some of the top wine farms in Cape Town, as well as many exceptional wineries just outside the boundaries of the city. With a long history of winemaking and a unique climate, wine farms in the Western Cape have become a top destination for wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore what makes the Western Cape so incredible for growing exceptional wines by looking at elements such as the different regions, the terroir, climate and geology.

How Many Wine Farms Are There in the Western Cape?

There are 560 charming Cape wineries gracing the region, and these vineyards offer a diverse range of wines, from rich reds to crisp whites, inviting visitors to indulge in the art of winemaking against the backdrop of stunning scenery.

Constantia Valley Wine Farms

Regions 

The Western Cape is a large and diverse region with a variety of microclimates that are suitable for different grape varieties for wine farms near Cape Town, as well as a bit further away. From the cool coastal regions to the warmer inland areas, there is a perfect spot for every type of grape on the wine farms in South Africa.

This diversity allows winemakers to experiment with different grape varieties and create unique blends that showcase the best of the region’s terroir. It also means that visitors to wine estates in the Western Cape can experience a wide range of wines, from crisp Sauvignon Blancs to bold Cabernet Sauvignons. 

Here are some of the wonderful wine regions located in the Western Cape:

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Breedekloof

Characterised by vineyards on alluvial valley soils with good drainage, this area covers a large proportion of the Breede River Valley, which includes the Goudini and Slanghoek areas and is made up of a total of 20 wineries.

The Breede River Valley

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Cape Agulhas

The vineyards in this area are located near Africa’s southernmost point, and the strong cooling winds in summer are ideal for Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Shiraz.

Cape Agulhas Lighthouse

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Cape Town

This large district incorporates the Constantia, Hout Bay, Durbanville, and Philadelphia areas which all benefit from cool Atlantic sea breezes and very old wine farm soils, where some of the best wine farms in Cape Town are located. Constantia Valley is considered the cradle of winemaking in the Cape, with the oldest wine farm in South Africa being founded in 1685 by Governor Simon van der Stel.

Groot Constantia Manor House

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Cederberg

This remote area hosts some of the best wine farms that are located in the picturesque Cederberg mountain range, and its high-altitude vineyards, which result in increased colour intensity and firmer tannic structure, are known for Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Chenin, and Cabernet.

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Darling

This region which is situated only 45 minutes from Cape Town, is known for its exceptional quality Sauvignon Blanc and other wine varieties. The region experiences a notable diurnal temperature range, with warm daytime temperatures giving way to cooler evenings. This fluctuation enables the grapes to cool down overnight, preserving their acidity while simultaneously promoting the development of intricate flavours.

Sauvignon Blanc Grapes in Vineyard

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Franschhoek

Bordered by mountains on three sides, the valley undeniably possesses stunning natural beauty, and this region also showcases a diverse array of soil compositions, ranging from sandy vineyards reminiscent of beaches to those with rich, deep loams, as well as others characterised by stony and rocky terrain.

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Klein Karoo

This is a diverse region with extreme soils and climate which is known for sweet wines and potstill brandies but has an increasing focus on Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Shiraz.

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Malgas

This pioneering ward with drought-resistant Mediterranean varieties is located on a stony plateau near Cape Agulhas, with excellent potential for growing vines, with its dry, warm climate and stony soils.

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Paarl

Flowing through Paarl, the Berg River is embraced by the impressive Groot Drakenstein and Wemmershoek mountains, serving as the vital lifeline of this wine-producing region. The valley terrain necessitates additional irrigation during the warm growing season leading up to the harvest, whereas vineyards on the eastern slopes, benefiting from superior water retention, often require no supplementary watering at all.

Groot Drakenstein Mountains and Vineyards

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Robertson

Renowned for both white and red wines, Robertson district has lime-rich soils and a lower rainfall region. Limestone provides advantageous nutrients to enhance grape growth and promote the production of sweeter grapes. Its unique properties include moisture retention during dry conditions and effective drainage in cooler weather.

Wine Farms Western Cape - lime-rich soils

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Stellenbosch

A historic town with a long winemaking tradition, Stellenbosch is famous for its Cape Dutch architecture and excellent wines. It is also an educational and research centre for viticulture and oenology. The hilly landscape, ample rainfall, well-drained soils, and variety of terroirs contribute to the desirability of this sought-after viticultural region.

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Swartland

Known for its grain production, this district is now home to vineyards that produce robust red wines and port-style wines. The area is named after the indigenous renosterbos, which used to darken the landscape. The Swartland Independent Producers (SIP) group aims to express the region’s unique terroir in their exceptional wines.

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Tulbagh

Surrounded by mountains, the Tulbagh district has variable soils and extreme day and night temperature differences, which affect the level of warmth within the vineyard. This is likely the most influential factor affecting the wine that will be produced. The valley’s geographical composition creates a cold trap that results in moderately cool daily average temperatures and this area is known for its Shiraz and Méthode Cap Classique wines and has some great wine farms that are near Cape Town.

Wine Farms Western Cape - Méthode Cap Classique

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Walker Bay

Located around Hermanus, this district is renowned for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinotage wines and the cool climate and persistent ocean winds contribute to the quality of the vineyards. The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley within this region is particularly notable for its great wines.

The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Wellington

Situated close to Cape Town, this district features wineries on alluvial terraces and in the foothills of the Hawequa mountains, and this area not only produces wonderful wines, but is also a key supplier of cuttings to the South African wine industry.

Wine Farms Western Cape - Cuttings from Vineyard

Wine Farms in the Western Cape: Worcester

Worcester is a historic town and the centre of this wine growing valley. The Worcester district holds the top spot as the largest wine growing area in terms of both size and volume, representing close to 20% of the national vineyards. It contributes to nearly 27% of South Africa’s overall wine and spirits production and is renowned as the primary brandy producing region in the country.

Terroir

The Cape’s winegrowing regions, influenced by the Atlantic and Indian oceans, benefit from maritime influences, diverse topography, and varied soils, creating ideal conditions for wines with unique character produced by wine farms in the Western Cape. With a winemaking tradition dating back 350 years, South Africa’s wines beautifully blend Old World elegance with New World fruit-driven styles, expressing the Cape’s unique terroir.

Terroir encompasses natural features that interact to produce specific characteristics of wines; other factors include topography, climate, geology, and soil. South Africa’s Wine of Origin System reflects this concept, emphasising the diversity in vineyard and wine landscapes.

Stellenbosch Vineyards

Globally, there is increasing consumer demand for understanding the origin of wines, leading wine producers to focus on identifying and selecting sites best suited to particular grape varieties while adapting clones and rootstocks to local conditions.

The Cape, though within warmer zones, boasts diverse topography and mesoclimatic conditions influenced by two oceans, driving the industry’s emphasis on site selection and adaptation to local conditions.

Climate

South Africa’s viticulture mainly occurs at a latitude of 27-34° south with a Mediterranean climate, featuring cooler conditions ideal for growing noble wine cultivars. The coastal wine growing areas for wine farms in the Western Cape benefit from cool sea breezes, with warm summers and cool winters with little frost. Rainfall is concentrated between May and August, necessitating irrigation due to the diminishing rain in northerly and north-westerly directions.

The Cape’s impressive mountain ranges create diverse mesoclimates for Cape wine farms, interacting with the proximity of the Atlantic and Indian oceans. The legendary south-easterly wind, known as the Cape Doctor, inhibits disease development and moderates temperatures. Sea breezes, influenced by the contrast between cool ocean and warm inland temperatures, frequently occur during the maturation period in February.

Wine Farms Western Cape - Vineyards below the mountains

Viticultural climate is described on three levels: macroclimate, mesoclimate, and microclimate, which play crucial roles in the expression of terroir. The installation of weather stations in the Western Cape facilitates climatic investigation, particularly regarding the significant contrast between cool ocean and warm inland temperatures, leading to the frequent occurrence of sea breezes during the maturation period.

Geology

The viticulture in South Africa’s Western Cape is situated on some of the oldest viticultural soils globally, shaped by millions of years of geological processes. The region boasts majestic mountain ranges, deep valleys, and diverse mesoclimates as a result of massive pressures, upheavals, and tectonic movements.

Red Wine Grapes in Vineyard

The geological landscape features late Precambrian Malmesbury Group schists and shale, folded and uplifted due to tectonic movement, as well as intrusions of Cape Granite Suite plutons around 600 to 500 million years ago. Rigorous folding and uplifting, about 250 million years ago, contributed to the characteristic valleys and folded sandstone mountain ranges of the Cape. Erosion has left sandstone remnants on granitic foothills, creating notable landmarks such as Table Mountain and Simonsberg.

Plutons are dome-shaped intrusions of igneous magma into the Earth’s crust that have been revealed through erosion, resulting in dome-like mountains or hills, such as Paarl and Perdeberg mountains, or flat-topped formations covered by sandstone deposits, such as Table and Simonsberg mountains.

Table Mountain with Sunset

Soil

The soils in the wine regions of South Africa’s Cape display a remarkable diversity, influenced by the area’s topography and geology, which significantly impact mesoclimate and vine performance. Shaped by weather cycles and periods of coastal inundation, the geography of the Western Cape has given rise to a wide variety of soil types over short distances, which are perfect for growing vines.

Wine farms in the Western Cape along the coast, there are sandstone mountains sitting on granite intrusions, surrounded by shale at lower elevations, while moving inland, shale parent material and river deposits predominate. The well-regarded reddish and yellowish brown soils associated with granitic hills and the foothills of sandstone mountains reflect remnants of a past tropical era characterised by high weathering, stability, and good water-holding capacity.

Wine Farms Western Cape - Lady on her knees holding soil in her hands

Soils formed on granite in the gently rolling hills between the mountains and the sea exhibit duplex characteristics, comprising coarse sand, gravel, or ferricrete overlaying wet clay. The consistency of vine performance on these soils, coupled with exposure to cool sea breezes, contributes to the production of high-quality wines.

The Malmesbury shale landscapes surrounding granite plutons offer diverse soil types, from stony, weathered residual rock soils on hilltops to strongly structured soils on mid and lower slopes, with vine roots able to exploit the weathered shale substratum.

The three most significant soil types are derived from Table Mountain Sandstone, Granite, and Shale, each possessing distinct physical and nutrient properties that influence vine growth and wine quality.

Topography

The South African vineyard landscapes exhibit diverse and distinctive topography, with sandstone mountains resting on granitic foothills and undulating shale hills, and this topography, closely linked to geology, interacts with climate and soil as a crucial component of the terroir concept. On Wine farms in the Western Cape, altitude, aspect, and slope inclination significantly influence viticulture, impacting grape quality both directly and indirectly.

Vineyards in the Cape span various locations, from valley floors to steep mountain slopes, offering diverse mesoclimates and soils for cultivating different grape varieties. Farmers have expanded plantings to higher elevations for improved drainage and cooler temperatures, with vineyards ranging from 50m to over 600m above sea level. Differences in altitude on a single farm enable the production of varied wine styles or the cultivation of different grape varieties with distinct climate requirements.

Vineyards on a Slope

In the Southern Hemisphere, cooler southern and eastern slopes are preferred for delicate varieties like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, while changes in altitude result in varying sun, temperature, and wind exposure. Northern and western slopes receive more sunlight, but eastern slopes warm up faster and cool earlier.

The mountainous terrain of the Cape restricts sunlight hours, with deep shadows cast over vineyards in the early morning and late afternoon, limiting sunlight exposure to around 10 hours even on the longest day of mid-summer for wine farms in Cape Town.

Viticulture

The wine industry in South Africa is currently undergoing a period of dynamic change, with significant innovations occurring in both the vineyard and the winery. Winemakers are actively engaging in experiments involving new vine varieties and clones of existing varietals like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Comprehensive large-scale research on rootstocks is underway to identify the most suitable planting material for the conditions in the Cape, coordinated by the Vine Improvement Board.

Similar to practices in other New World countries, viticulturists in South Africa are diligently matching vine varieties to specific soils and mesoclimates to achieve optimal results. While the vineyard life in South Africa bears similarities to Europe, the viticultural year in South Africa commences in September, marking a contrast with the European vintage preparations at that time.

On wine farms in the Western Cape, vine management becomes crucial following the formation of buds which necessitates vigilance against pests, diseases, and weed encroachment, and pruning becomes necessary if the vine growth becomes overly vigorous.

Man Spraying Vineyards

 Flowering typically occurs in November, with young grapes beginning to swell and grow in December. At this stage, vines are often ‘topped’ to enhance air circulation around the grapes and minimise the risk of fungus or rot.

In January, the onset of summer in the Cape initiates the ripening of early grape varieties, with the bulk of the harvest taking place in February, and the sugar/acid ratio of the grapes is monitored daily to ensure that each variety is harvested at optimum ripeness. 

Hand harvesting is predominant in most South African vineyards, although some farms employ machines for this process, and the grapes are picked into baskets and transported in bins to the winery, where the vinification process commences.

HER Wine Collective

The HER Wine Collection is a trailblazing presence in South Africa’s wine industry. As the first wine brand entirely owned and operated by black women, we hold immense pride in every facet of our venture. Whether it’s nurturing vineyards, creating exceptional bottles, or managing production, marketing, and distribution, these tasks are all carried out with love and dedication by black women. We greatly cherish the ability to exchange ideas, inspire one another, and cultivate deeper ties within South Africa’s wonderfully diverse communities.

Her Wine Shiraz being Poured

Wines Available at HER Wines 

HER Wine Collection’s Pinotage 2022: This wine makes a lasting impression on the palate with its rich, mature red berry flavours and aromatic, spicy undertones. This is a medium-bodied wine celebrated for its silky tannins.

HER Wine Collection’s Shiraz 2022: Presenting a fusion of deep, dark berry flavours and hints of vanilla and spice, resulting in a captivating, complex wine, this medium-bodied offering exudes depth and leaves a lingering impression on the palate. 

HER Wine Sauvignon Blanc 2023: This is a fruity, vibrant crowd-pleaser with hints of passion fruit, pineapple, and lemon, best served chilled. 

HER Wine Chenin Blanc 2023: This is a bold, flavourful wine with tropical fruit aromas and flavours of yellow apple, green melon, and white pear that is certain to enchant and impress. 

Her Wine Varietals

HER Bursary

At the HER Wine Collection, our remarkable team of women understands the challenges that can appear on the path to success in a career. We sympathise with the challenges young individuals face as they chart their own course in the world, sparking our fervour to provide a hand-up. This dedication is exemplified by contributing 2% of our profits to a bursary fund designed to nurture the aspirations of ambitious young minds and empower them to actualise their dreams.

Her Wine Bursary Fund

Our exceptional scholarship is only available to candidates from families employed in the vineyards that provide the grapes for the HER Wine Collection. The chosen awardees will not only obtain financial assistance for their education but also gain invaluable mentorship to navigate the complexities of higher education and pursue a rewarding career.

Buy HER Wines

Our exceptional wines can be purchased at a nearby Woolworths store or through Woolworths online, in addition to other retailers nationwide. Stay updated on all the latest developments at the HER Wine Collection by connecting with us on Instagram and Facebook. For further details or inquiries about our exquisite wines, please contact us via email at info@herwinecollection.co.za or by calling 021 873 3170. If you appreciated our blog on wine farms in the Western Cape, explore our other intriguing posts on the HER Blog.

Adama Wines Bursary Candidates for 2024

Adama Wines Bursary Candidates for 2024

The HER Wine Collection is produced by an all-black, all-female team who grows, makes, markets, and distributes their own wine. 

As women in wine, we understand the struggle to rise out of disadvantaged circumstances because we’ve been there, and we’ve done just that. Funding and mentorship are the key ingredients for empowering young women, and we’re determined to do just that. We’d like to smooth the path for those that come after us by giving bursaries and providing mentorship to the deserving and determined.

To this end, 2% of profits from the sale of HER Wine Collection wines are channelled into a bursary fund. Sponsoring aspirant South African female winemakers is not their only goal, their empowerment vision is much broader.

We are already making a difference: Caylin Samuels (20) passed her first year of Educare training with distinction and is currently in her second year. Funding her tuition and providing stationery and technology is just part of her support. Regular face-to-face meetings with her mentor ensure Caylin is supported and encouraged. The mentor also regularly checks in with her lecturers and chats with her parents to ensure that Caylin is keeping up with her work. 

“This year we are moving from the pre-school phase to Grade R and so I am going to complete the practical part of my course at my old primary school,” she explains. “I am going to try my best to learn everything I can so that I become a good teacher who will build a good foundation for the learners in my class.”

This year we’ve had several applicants for the bursary, and we’d really like to help all of them achieve their dreams. As news of the bursary spreads, more and more matriculants are approaching us, eager to create a stimulating career for themselves and a better life for their families. 

This bursary for students has certain requirements including writing a motivational letter explaining why the candidate concerned deserves support. There is a defined set of criteria to ensure that the process is free and fair including a panel interview and a contract to sign.

As the HER Wine Collection bursary is funded by profits, the available bursaries for 2024 depend on annual sales figures. So far, we have been able to process three bursaries for new students, and also continue to support Caylin in her second year at Huguenot College. We hope to be able to further our support to other deserving candidates soon.

Our 2024 recipients are:

Jamie-Lee Abelse: Jamie-Lee will be studying Hospitality Management at Boland College in Paarl. With a keen serving heart, she sees a future for herself in the tourism sector of the wine industry. She particularly loves the practical aspect, enjoying making all sorts of different dishes.

Amisha Hoffman: From the get-go, Amisha knew she wanted to work in Human Resources because she wanted to work with people. So she was thrilled to receive the news that she had been accepted in Human Resources Management at Boland College in Paarl. “It was a challenge in the beginning, especially getting used to the lecturers speaking only English,” she says. “But I signed up for this, so I am determined to do my best.”

Naslee Morkel: As the daughter of farm workers who spend all day in the vineyards, Naslee was determined to find a way into an air-conditioned office. The Management Assistant course at Boland College is the first stepping stone for Naslee in a career in office administration. “Every day I learn something new,” says an enthusiastic Naslee. “At the moment we are studying Client Liaison and I am learning a lot in the computer class.”

None of these young women would have been able to study further if it wasn’t for the HER Wine Collection fund but also the constant encouragement, accountability and support they receive from a group of empowered women determined to pay it forward.

How To Unlock the Potential in Every Bottle of Wine

How To Unlock the Potential in Every Bottle of Wine

Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or a budding enthusiast, every bottle of wine holds the promise of an extraordinary experience. In this blog, we delve into the fascinating world of wine with a focus on unlocking its full potential. We will share some insider knowledge and handy tips to help you discover the hidden depths within each wine bottle, from the proper storage conditions to handy gadgets and understanding how to taste wine correctly.

Getting The Most Out of Your Bottle of Wine: 5 Tips and Tricks

1. Age Your Wine

Just as we evolve, mature, and improve with age, so does wine. The colour, aroma, taste, and feel of wine all transform over time. Of course, only some readers may have a wine cellar at their disposal, but fortunately, you don’t need one to store and age wine well.

Here are some key considerations when ageing and storing wine at home:

  • Ideal Temperature Ageing Bottle of Wine: Maintain a temperature between 11-14˚c for your wine. Cooler temperatures might dry out the cork, while warmer ones can hasten the ageing process.
  • Light and Your Bottle of Wine: Keep your wine away from direct sunlight to prevent it from going stale prematurely.
  • Positioning The Bottle of Wine: If possible, store your wine horizontally to avoid air leakage into the bottle that could cause premature oxidation.
  • Avoid Disturbances: Minimise disturbances to your bottle of wine. Vibrations can agitate the tannins, which isn’t ideal for long-term ageing.
  • Location Location Location: Avoid storing wine in the kitchen or garage, as these areas experience significant variables in temperature, sunlight, and humidity.
Personal Wine Cellar

Once you’ve identified the perfect spot to store your wine at home, age your wine for approximately two to three years; after this amount of time, you can expect some changes in its flavour profile as it ages. Younger wines usually exhibit more floral and vibrant fruit flavours like black cherry, currant, and boysenberry. In contrast, older wines often develop more savoury, earthy tones like cedar, leather, and autumn leaves.

Ideally, ask the winemaker how long to age the wine as different wines have different ageing potentials. Depending on many factors, some wines shouldn’t be aged longer than 3 years, but some wines can be aged for up to 50 years or more.

2. Aerators: What Do They Do to Your Bottle of Wine?

An aerator serves the purpose of oxygenating a glass of wine to enhance its flavour and aroma. For instance, if a bottle of nice red wine promises notes of cherry, cloves and blackberry, an aerator can accentuate these flavours. It can also mellow particular tastes in the wine, making it more enjoyable.

Wine Aerator

Given that most wine buyers will drink their purchases within months, if not weeks or days, and may not be interested in or have time for wine ageing, an aerator could be pretty helpful. It can reveal the subtleties of certain flavours that would otherwise take years to emerge.

3. Let Your Bottle of Wine Breathe With a Decanter

The process of allowing a wine to breathe varies depending on the wine’s age and how long ago it was bottled. A wine that is less than three years old typically requires little to no breathing time. On the other hand, a wine that’s a decade or older would benefit from an hour of exposure to air.

In terms of letting your wine breathe, you could simply uncork a bottle and let it stand for an hour. If you wish to reduce this time, pouring it into a decanter will expose the wine to more air and surface area. Every wine can benefit from some breathing time. Allowing wine to breathe amplifies its aromatic profile, thereby enhancing your sensory experience.

Pouring Wine into a Decanter

4. Use the Correct Wine Glass for the Bottle of Wine

Red wine glasses are typically taller and have larger bowls compared to white wine glasses. This design encourages more contact between the wine and oxygen. Since red wine often needs more time to ‘open up’, a bigger bowl provides more surface area for the wine to breathe, thus releasing its aroma and flavours.

In contrast, white wine glasses are usually shorter and have smaller bowls compared to red wine glasses. This design brings the wine closer to your nose since the aromas of white wines are generally subtler.

5. Tasting Tips for Your Bottle of Wine

Step 1: On The Nose

It might be challenging initially to look beyond the vinous aroma, but a helpful method is to switch between brief, sharp sniffs and slow, lengthy inhalations. Have a look at the tasting notes and see if you can detect the aromas mentioned by the winemaker.

Bottle of wine - Wine on the Nose

Step 2: Master the Swirl

Swirling wine actually amplifies the release of aromatic compounds into the air. Consider watching a quick tutorial on how to swirl wine properly. Also, pay attention to the legs (the lines that appear on the glass after swirling) as they are an indication of the alcohol or sugar content of the wine and indicate a fuller-bodied or richer textured wine.

Step 3: Discover More Tastes During Sampling Your Bottle of Wine

Consider taking a large sip of wine initially, followed by several smaller ones. This allows you to identify and distinguish flavours. Concentrate on one taste at a time. Always start with broad flavour categories before narrowing down to specific ones, for example, transitioning from the broad category of black fruits to more specific flavours like dark plum, roasted mulberry, or jammy blackberry.

Bottle of Wine: Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Glasses of Wine in a Bottle?

Wine bottle sizes and wine bottle dimensions can differ quite a bit. A typical wine bottle holds 750ml and provides approximately 5 glasses of wine, while a magnum wine bottle, a big bottle of wine) contains 1.5l (twice the size of a standard bottle), offering around 10 glasses of wine.

Cheersing Together

How Many Calories in a Bottle of Red Wine?

A standard bottle of wine contains 5 glasses, and a big bottle (magnum) would then contain 10 glasses of wine. If one glass of wine contains about 133 calories, then a standard bottle of wine would contain about 665 calories, double that in a magnum wine bottle.

What is the Average Alcohol Content in a Bottle of Red Wine?

Red wine alcohol percentage typically ranges from 12% to 15%, averaging around 13.5% ABV. This is generally higher than what you’ll find in white wines. Red wine grapes are often picked late in the harvest season, which means they contain more sugar than the grapes used for white wines. As a result, during fermentation, these sugars translate into a higher alcohol concentration in the red wine bottle.

HER Wine Collective

HER Wines is a pioneering wine enterprise that stands out in the South African wine industry for its all-black, all-female team. The entire journey of the wine, from vineyard to winemaking to bottling, marketing and distribution, is managed by an exceptional team of black women. Our incredible team values the sharing of knowledge, mutual inspiration, and building relationships within the varied communities of South Africa.

Bottle of wine - HER Wine Collection

HER WINES: Wines Available

HER Wine Collection Pinotage 2022: Leaves a lasting impression on the palate with its luscious, mature red berry flavours and fragrant, spicy undertones. This medium-bodied wine is characterised by its silky tannins. The ageing potential for our Pinotage is 1-5 years from the year of vintage.

HER Wine Collection Shiraz 2022: Featuring a blend of deep dark berry flavours and nuances of vanilla and spice, resulting in a captivating, complex wine. This medium-bodied offering possesses depth and leaves a long-lasting impression on the palate. Ageing potential for this wine is 1-5 years from the year of vintage.

HER Wine Sauvignon Blanc 2023: A fruity, zesty crowd-pleaser with flavours of passion fruit, pineapple and lemon and is best served chilled. Ageing potential for this bottle of wine is within 1 year from the year of vintage.

HER Wine Chenin Blanc 2023 is a bold, flavourful wine with tropical fruit aromas and flavours of yellow apple, green melon and white pear that’s guaranteed to delight and impress. Ageing potential for our Chein Blanc is 1-3 years after the year of vintage.

The World of Sauvignon Blanc: A Comprehensive Guide

The World of Sauvignon Blanc: A Comprehensive Guide

The words Sauvignon Blanc tend to bring to mind memories of warm summer days spent relaxing outside with friends. It is a globally cherished white grape varietal, which is famed for its distinct and diverse flavour profile. From crisp, grassy notes to rich, creamy undertones, this versatile grape produces an array of wines that captivate the senses, solidifying its worldwide appeal among wine connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike.

Couple Cheersing Wine

The History

Sauvignon Blanc (sometimes shortened to sauv blanc) is a widely recognised and universally appreciated grape varietal, and it gets its name from the French term ‘Sauvage’, translating to ‘wild’, so the Sauvignon Blanc meaning is ‘wild white (vine)’. The varietal came from France’s Loire Valley before making its way to South Africa.

The Sauvignon Blanc grape variety has a deep-rooted history in South Africa, with its cultivation dating back to as early as 1880 in Constantia. The oldest recognised block of this vine, however, is situated in Swartland and was planted around 1965.

Despite these early introductions, the prominence of Sauvignon Blanc did not immediately rise in South Africa’s wine industry. This was mainly due to the substandard planting materials that were disease-ridden, particularly by phylloxera. As a result, the growth and popularity of this variety remained dormant until the 1970s, when it started to gain momentum.

In present times, Sauvignon Blanc has carved a significant position in South Africa’s wine market. It now spans over 10,000 hectares, making up more than 10% of all vineyard areas in the country. It is also the fourth most cultivated grape variety in South Africa and contributes considerably to the annual local sale of 2.4 million cases of wine!

Sauvignon Blanc Vineyard Sign

What are the Characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc?

Sauvignon Blanc (here is a useful video on the Sauvignon Blanc pronunciation) is a white grape variety known for its distinctive and vibrant flavour profile. The first sip of a Sauvignon Blanc typically offers a punchy, zesty taste characterised by high acidity that leaves a tingle on the palate. This acidity often manifests as a crisp, fresh citrus flavour reminiscent of lime or grapefruit. However, depending on where the grapes are grown, you might also detect flavours of green apple, pear, or even tropical fruits like passionfruit.

The aroma of this wine is equally intriguing and varied. It often exudes a fresh, green, herbaceous scent, hinting at grass, bell peppers, or even jalapenos. Some describe it as having a ‘green’ smell, akin to fresh-cut grass or dew-kissed leaves. In warmer climates, the aroma can be more tropical, with hints of melon, mango, or papaya.

Another unique characteristic of white wine Sauvignon Blanc is its minerality. Wines made from these grapes often have a flinty or chalky undertone, adding complexity and depth to the overall flavour profile. This minerality can also lend a slightly bitter finish, which perfectly complements the fruit-forward nature of the wine.

HER Wines 2023 Sauvignon Blanc, with its hints of freshly cut grass, green apple, and juicy grapefruit and granadilla flavours, presents itself with a crisp and zesty flavour profile. It truly is one of the best Sauvignon Blanc in South Africa, with its good price point and delicious flavours.

Sauvignon Blanc - HER Wine Sauvignon Blanc

How Versatile is Sauvignon Blanc?

Sauvignon Blanc is a highly adaptable grape variety, exhibiting different styles of wine depending on the climate and winemaking techniques used. This versatility is one of its most appealing characteristics among winemakers. Here is how the climate can affect the final Sauvignon Blanc taste:

Cooler Climates

In cooler climates, Sauvignon Blanc wine is often light-bodied, high in acidity, and exhibits pronounced mineral and herbaceous flavours. These wines are typically unoaked and have vibrant notes of green apple, gooseberry, and lime, coupled with a distinctive grassy aroma.

Warmer Climates

In contrast, Sauvignon Blanc produces fuller-bodied wines with riper, more tropical fruit flavours such as passionfruit, guava, and peach. These wines may also be aged in oak barrels, resulting in a richer, creamier texture and adding nuanced flavours of vanilla and toast to the wine’s profile.

Is Sauvignon Blanc Sweet?

Sauvignon Blanc can be sweet as it is also used in the production of sweet dessert wines. It is often blended with Sémillon and Muscadelle and affected by noble rot, creating a lush, honeyed wine with complex flavours of apricot, fig, and nuts.

Vineyards in South Africa are known to produce late harvest and noble rot wines using 100% Sauvignon Blanc. These unique wines boast flavour profiles and scents of fig, quince, apricot, caramelised ginger, almond paste, and orange peel. This version of Sauvignon Blanc presents a sweet taste, balanced beautifully with a gentle, vibrant acidity.

Whether it’s a crisp, refreshing summer sipper, a rich, oaky white, or a decadent dessert wine, Sauvignon Blanc’s adaptability allows it to deliver a diverse range of styles catering to various palates.

What Foods Should You Pair Sauvignon Blanc With?

Because Sauvignon Blancs can contain such different flavour profiles depending on where they are grown, it means that they can also be paired with a wide variety of foods. Here are examples of how to pair dishes based on the flavour profile of the Sauvignon Blanc you’ll be drinking:

Citrus Flavours

This flavour profile harmonises well with fish dishes, either grilled or fried. It enhances the flavours of Greek and Mexican meals and works well with dishes featuring fresh ingredients like avocados, tomatoes and olives.

Strong Minerality

This style excels when matched with uncomplicated, subtly seasoned foods. Consider pairing it with raw or lightly cooked shellfish such as oysters and prawns and plainly grilled fish like sea bass. It also pairs nicely with dishes that include raw or lightly cooked tomatoes, like gazpacho or tomato vinaigrettes, as well as goat cheeses.

Oaked Sauvignon Blanc

This variety pairs wonderfully with white meats like chicken or veal, particularly when they’re served with a creamy sauce. It complements spring vegetables such as asparagus and peas or pasta dishes enriched with spring vegetables and creamy sauces. It also works well with simply prepared seafood or lightly smoked fish.

Wine and Pasta

Grassy Flavours

This flavour profile is an excellent match for salads, especially those featuring seafood or ingredients like asparagus, green peppers, and herbs.

Food Pairing for HER Wines Sauvignon Blanc

The HER Wine Collection Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp and zesty crowd pleaser. Great served chilled with a fresh green salad or crispy grilled chicken, turning an ordinary day into a memorable one.

About HER Wines

HER Wines is a groundbreaking wine company that is both all-black and all-female, making it a truly unique presence in the South African wine industry. What sets HER Wines apart is not only the fact that the wine is crafted by a talented black and female winemaker, but also that the entire process (from cultivation to production, marketing to distribution) is carried out by black women. This collective of remarkable individuals recognises the power of knowledge-sharing, mutual inspiration, and fostering connections within the diverse communities of South Africa.

The HER Wine Bursary: Making Dreams Come True

At HER Wine Collection, an all female winemaking company, our team has personally encountered and overcome significant obstacles on our journey to professional success. These experiences have provided us with a deep understanding of the challenges that young individuals face as they strive to find their place in the world. Inspired by this, we are committed to making a positive impact by donating 2% of our profits to a bursary fund. This fund aims to support young, ambitious, and talented individuals in achieving their dreams and aspirations.

The scholarship is open to applicants from families currently employed on the vineyards that supply grapes for the HER Wine Collection. The selected recipients will not only receive financial aid for their education, but also benefit from mentorship to navigate the intricacies of tertiary education and establish a successful career path.

Buy HER Sauvignon Blanc

If you are looking for Sauvignon Blanc brands to try, then don’t miss out on our 2023 Sauvignon Blanc, priced at only R90.00 a bottle. You can purchase it right here on our website and you will qualify for FREE shipping if you buy any 12 bottles of wine. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on everything at HER wines, and if you need any more information, then give us a call on +27 (0) 21 873 3170 or email info@herwinecollection.co.za.

Sauvignon Blanc - HER Wine