Delve Into Dry White Wine In South Africa


In the world of wine, few experiences rival the crisp elegance and refreshing allure of a well-crafted dry white wine. South Africa, a land known for its breathtaking landscapes and diverse terroirs, stands out in the realm of viticulture, producing an array of exquisite varietals that captivate the palate and delight the senses.

In this blog, we will look at what classifies as a dry white wine, uncover the varietals that flourish in South Africa’s sun-kissed soils and temperate climates, and look at two delightful expressions from HER Wines.

What is Dry White Wine?

Dry white wine is a type of wine that has minimal residual sugar, meaning it is not sweet. The sugar in wine comes from the natural sugars found in grapes, and during the fermentation process, the sugar is converted into alcohol. Dry white wines have a crisp, refreshing taste and pair well with a variety of foods, making them a popular choice among wine enthusiasts.

dry white wine - people cheersing glasses

Understanding Residual Sugar in Dry White Wine

The concept of residual sugar in wine is what separates dry wines from their sweeter counterparts. Residual sugar is the amount of sugar remaining after fermentation has ceased. Wines with less than 1 gram of sugar per litre are typically considered dry. The dry taste is often perceived as crisp and sharp, with a clean finish that allows the wine’s acidity and minerality to shine through.

The Fermentation Process in Dry White Wine

Fermentation is the process that transforms grape juice into wine. Yeast consumes the sugars present in the grapes and converts them into alcohol and carbon dioxide

Fermentation can take place in stainless steel tanks, a method frequently used for several white wines, including Riesling. It can also occur in an open wooden vat, within a wine barrel, or even inside the wine bottle itself, as seen in the production of numerous sparkling wines.

dry white wine - steel tanks

For dry white wines, winemakers carefully monitor fermentation to ensure that almost all the sugar is converted, leaving very little behind. This careful balance is what gives dry white wines their characteristic taste.

South African Dry White Wine 

South African white wine is gaining recognition in the international wine scene for its unique and complex flavours. The country’s diverse climate and terroir allow for a wide variety of grapes to be grown, resulting in a diverse range of white wines. The most popular white grape varieties in South Africa are Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay, but you can also find lesser-known varieties such as Semillon, Viognier, and Riesling.

Dry White Wine: The Diversity of South African Terroir

South Africa’s wine regions boast a variety of soils, climates, and elevations, which contribute to the distinctive terroir of each area. From the cooler coastal regions that are ideal for Sauvignon Blanc to the warmer inland areas that favour robust Chardonnays, the country’s varied geography allows for a multitude of wine styles. This diversity is one of the reasons South African dry white wines have such complex flavour profiles.

dry white wine - south african vineyards

Popular Dry White Wine Varietals and Their Characteristics

Typically, wines produced from the following white grape varieties that are grown in South Africa are dry; however, it’s worth noting that some winemakers might produce slightly sweeter versions to cater to the specific tastes of their consumers:


Chardonnay is predominantly found to be bone dry white wine, with a distinct acidity. In South Africa, there’s been significant exploration with the techniques of barrel fermentation and oak ageing of Chardonnay, leading to the creation of outstanding wines in various styles. Chardonnay is also utilised in crafting some of the foundational wines for Cap Classique sparkling varieties and is also a component in white blends.

Chardonnay Sign in Vineyards

Chenin Blanc

As the most extensively planted variety in the Cape and known for its adaptability, Chenin Blanc is capable of yielding excellent wines that span the entire range from dry white wine to sweet.

dry white wine - HER Chenin Blanc

Grenache Blanc (Garnacha Blanca) 

This grape typically produces dry white wine with moderate acidity. It boasts a sharp acidity and is known for creating rich, robust wines that feature distinct aromas and flavours of green apple.


Valued for its strong floral scents, Gewürztraminer has flourished for centuries in the Alpine foothills and the Vosges Mountains. Although its fragrance is sweet, many varieties are dry and can develop a savoury character over time. This variety is characterised by a subtle, aromatic flavour profile and a distinctive rose-petal scent, typically resulting in a light, off-dry white wine.

Glasses of white wine in a vineyard

Pinot Gris 

This globally cultivated grape usually results in dry wines and is cultivated on a modest scale in South Africa. This variety yields wines that are rich and harmoniously balanced.

Sauvignon Blanc

This highly aromatic and acidic grape variety is broadly planted worldwide. This variety is typically dry and may exhibit a diverse array of aromas and flavour notes, ranging from the scent of peas and fresh-cut grass to asparagus and tropical nuances such as grapefruit passion fruit.

HER Sauvignon Blanc with a glass poured


Predominantly found in the Rhone Valley, this varietal produces flavourful dry wines characterised by white floral, stone fruit aromas, and occasionally a peppery finish.

Dry White Wine from HER Wines

The HER Wine Collection has two exquisite expressions of dry white wine:

The HER Wines 2023 Sauvignon Blanc

The 2023 Sauvignon Blanc from HER Wines showcases aromas reminiscent of freshly mown grass, crisp green apple, and vibrant grapefruit with hints of luscious granadilla flavours, presenting a revitalising and vibrant flavour profile.

dry white wine - a HER member their Sauvignon Blanc

The Her Wines 2023 Chenin Blanc 

This is a bold and revitalising Chenin Blanc wine from HER Wines, boasting a distinct tropical and stone fruit aroma, leading to creamy apple flavours and lingering notes of green melon on the palate.

Wine Bottle - Feature Image

Food Pairings with Dry White Wine

Dry white wines can be incredibly versatile when it comes to food pairings, and they can complement a wide array of dishes, from light seafood to chicken and even pork. Dry white wine crispness can cut through richer, creamier dishes or enhance the flavours of lighter fare. A rule of thumb for pairing is to match the wine’s intensity with the food, ensuring that neither overpowers the other.

White Wine Paired with Fish

HER Wines Dry White Wine Food Pairing

The HER Wine Collection’s 2023 Sauvignon Blanc offers a lively and invigorating taste that pleases the senses. Ideally served cold, it beautifully complements a crisp green salad or juicy grilled chicken, turning an everyday moment into something extraordinary.

The HER Wine Collection 2023 Chenin Blanc is an invigorating wine that pairs wonderfully with fresh salads, pasta salads, cheese platters, and even mild curries.

HER Wines Bursary Initiative

Born from the pioneering spirit of the HER Wine Collection, the HER Bursary initiative represents a commitment to support individuals striving to overcome barriers in their professional journey. Recognising the challenges faced by those with aspirations, the HER Wine Collection team has dedicated 2% of our proceeds to establish a bursary. This initiative aims to empower young, ambitious, and talented individuals to pursue their dreams.

Non Profit logo

This scholarship is open to families actively involved in grape cultivation for HER Wines. Recipients will not only receive financial assistance for their academic endeavours but also personalised mentorship to navigate the complexities of higher education and career advancement.

Dry White Wine: Explore the World of HER Wines

If you’re seeking some of the best dry white wine in South Africa, then discover our selection available for purchase online through our website, at Woolworths, and now on Takealot. It is also available at various other retail outlets countrywide. 
Stay updated on HER Wines’ latest developments and wine specials by following us on Instagram and Facebook. For any questions about our dry white wines, or if you need any other information, email us at or by phone on 021 873 3170.