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The South African Wine Industry Roots

The South African wine industry traces its roots back to 1659 when the first grapes were harvested at the Cape of Good Hope. These grapes were picked from vines planted by Jan van Riebeek, the Dutch governor at the Cape, who had arrived in 1652 and was tasked with establishing a refreshment station for the Dutch East India Company to support their ships travelling between Europe and the Far East to trade in spices. To this end, he established a fruit and vegetable garden to supply the ships and started producing wine, as the drinking water on the ships often became contaminated on the long sea voyage.

Van Riebeek’s wine farm

Van Riebeek’s wine farm was established in what today is aptly known as Wynberg, the first wine farm in Cape Town though today wine farms are found from around 30km from the centre of the city. In 1685 the first French Huguenots arrived at the Cape, fleeing religious persecution in France but bringing with them a sound knowledge of the French winemaking tradition. These Huguenots were granted land in areas now known as Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek and Wellington which today form the centre of the winelands of South Africa but these days our wine country extends much further.

South African Wine Climate

The History Of South African Winemaking,

Tracing back the history of South African winemaking, some of the first varietals planted back then in the Cape Winelands included ‘Groendruif’, now known as Semillon, and several Muscat varietals that are still used today mostly in the production of dessert wines. Grape varieties have changed over the years as new varietals were discovered and better viticultural and winemaking practices were introduced to produce different types of wine.

The South African Climate

The South African Climate is generally not suited to the production of wine as the country falls in a summer rainfall region. Only the far north and the southern tip of the African continent enjoy a Mediterranean climate, similar to the conditions found in the premium wine growing areas of Europe and therefore suitable for viticulture.

The South African Wine industry is a vibrant one straddling the Old World traditions of Europe and applying the modern practices of the New World resulting in a wide range of good wine. 

Quick stats:

Area under vine90 512 hectares
No. of producers2 613 wine producers
No. of wineries536 wineries
Tons harvested1.5 million tons
Litres produced911 litres

Did You Know: South Africa is the eighth largest producer of wine in the world, producing 4.1% of the world’s wine.

Great South African wines compete with the best in the world. Buy South African wine online and it can be delivered to your door to be opened and enjoyed immediately or stored in your wine cellar.

South African wine types today are still mostly of French origin, though new, more resilient varietals are being propagated both for red and white wine.

Recently the South African wine industry has become a catalyst for the empowerment of women as the number of female Cape winemakers is increasing rapidly, as well as the number of skilled women in the wider industry. South African women winemakers bring with them a unique skillset combining their natural intuition with a grit and determination cultivated along their often-tricky path towards success. Wine by women is no longer a novelty, but an all-female wine company is definitely something to write home about. The HER Collection was established by a group of women already at work in the South African wine industry. They combined their skillsets in, not only winemaking but viticulture, accounting, logistics, marketing and sales, to produce an impressive line-up of wines.

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The HER Wine Collection

How Is HER Wines Sourced?

The HER wines is sourced, made, produced and distributed by a team of dynamic women who have each broken through barriers to achieve their dreams. These empowered women are determined to give back, channelling 

2% of profits into the HER Wine Collection bursary scheme to fund the tertiary education of dynamic young South Africans.

If you enjoyed this article on South African Wine, then keep an eye out on our social channels for all updates and announcements to learn more about our work and our products at HER Wine Collection.