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.

What Makes South African Red Wine So Special?

What Makes South African Red Wine So Special?

South African red wines are renowned for their distinctive character, blending rustic and robust flavours and offering exceptional value. The unique terrain of the region and the diverse grape varieties, including the local Pinotage, contribute to the special allure of South African red wine brands. In this blog, we will explore the history of South African wines, four popular types of red wine in South Africa, and a few interesting facts.

South African Red Wine - Two Glasses of Red Wine

History of South African Vineyards

The origins of winemaking in South Africa can be traced back to 1655 when Jan van Riebeeck planted the first vineyards in an area called Roschheuvel (now known as Bishopscourt in Cape Town). He was entrusted with the establishment and management of vineyards to combat scurvy among sailors. During this early period, planters prioritised grape varieties that yielded high quantities, with Cinsault being a popular choice. On 2 February 1659, the first wine in South Africa was made from these Cape Grapes.

The role of winemaking was then passed onto the Cape’s Governor, Simon van der Stel, who arrived from Holland in 1679. Van der Stel, a wine enthusiast with first-hand experience in winemaking, established Groot Constantia, the oldest winery in South Africa, in 1685, in a lush area behind Table Mountain. This expansive estate produced globally acclaimed wine, which was enjoyed by nobility and royalty worldwide, thereby placing South African wines on the international stage.

Groot Constantia

South Africa’s winemaking industry thrived until the 1880s, when the destructive insect pest Phylloxera decimated almost all the vine roots in the country. The industry suffered a significant blow as there was no cure for the pest, leading to the collapse of many vineyards.

Rebirth and Reform 

It took several decades to find a solution and restore the vineyards; however, many wine producers had already gone bankrupt or were acquired by fruit farms during this period, creating a supply-demand imbalance. This led to the establishment of growers’ cooperatives like KWV, which became the dominant force in the industry, setting standards and prices for the South African wine sector for many generations.

In 1994, at the end of Apartheid in South Africa, wine exports boomed as international sanctions were removed. This allowed many a small South African wine company to emerge and encouraged boutique winemaking, which focuses on growing grapes of exceptional quality and producing smaller quantities that reflect the terrior in which the grapes were grown.

South African Red Wine: The Impact of Terroir

The art of winemaking extends beyond simply planting vineyards and converting the fruit into a much-loved beverage. It involves a multitude of factors, such as climate, topography, soil quality, and more, to create an excellent red wine in South Africa. The concept of ‘terroir,’ which refers to the environmental factors that impact crop production, plays a crucial role in making South Africa an ideal location for vineyard cultivation. Terroir encompasses aspects like growth habitat, farming practices, and the climate.

South Africa’s predominantly Mediterranean climate, its mountainous landscape, and its relative proximity to the sea contribute to the creation of unique red wines. Different regions specialise in certain grape varieties that are particularly suited to that area’s terroir, and they produce incredibly good South African red wine.

South African Red Wine - Red Wine Vineyards

Let us look at the Stellenbosch region, for instance. It features quite a dry and hot climate, with sandstone and granite soils, exposed hills, sheltered valleys, and adequate winter rainfall. This environment is conducive for red grape varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage, and Shiraz. While these varietals also grow elsewhere, variations in terroir, sun and wind exposure, water availability, soil, and topography result in subtle differences in taste, and this shows just how integral terroir is to good wine production for red wine brands.

Further away from the Cape, in more remote areas like the semi-arid Klein Karoo, a microclimate perfect for fortified, port-style wines and Muscadels exists. Heading towards the southern coasts, you’ll find cooler climate regions such as Stanford, Cape Agulhas and Hermanus. These areas have unique soils and sea breezes that cool the vines, making them more suitable for white wine varieties.

South African Red Wine: 4 Popular Varietals

South African red wine enjoys not just local admiration but also significant international acclaim, with many good South African wine brands winning international awards. The four most popular varietals among South African wine types include Shiraz, Pinotage, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Below, we take a brief look at each of these and share some interesting information:

Shiraz: The Harmony of Fruit and Spice

Initially, it was thought that Shiraz originated from ancient Persia (now Iran), specifically the city of Shiraz. Some stories even suggested that it was transported from the Middle East to Marseilles, France, around 560 BC. However, these tales turned out to be merely romanticised stories when DNA testing in the late 90s confirmed that Shiraz was a cross between two lesser-known French varieties, Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche.

Shiraz was only made as a sweet wine up until 1956 when it was bottled for the first time as a single cultivar. This was due to the hard work of an ambitious young couple, Bernard and Fredagh Podlashuk, who bought the run-down Bellingham wine farm in Franschhoek in 1945. They worked tirelessly to restore the manor house and plant vineyards and, 21 years later, bottled the first example of the type of South African red wine Shiraz we know and love today.

Shiraz from South Africa is a robust wine characterised by its high acidity and tannin content. It’s celebrated for its rich, fruit-centric tastes, commonly displaying hints of blackberry and plum coupled with undertones of pepper and various spices.

Pinotage: A Unique South African Red Wine

In 1925, Professor Abraham Izak Perold, the first professor of Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University, developed the first unique South African red wine grape cultivar. He crossed Hermitage (today called Cinsaut) with Pinot Noir and planted four vines in his garden at the Welgevallen Experimental Farm.

Professor Perold forgot about the cuttings and moved away from the University for a new job opportunity at KWV. The garden soon became overgrown and a team was soon sent to clear the garden. Luckily, Charlie Niehaus, a young lecturer, noticed the vines in time and saved them. He then planted them at the Elsenburg Agricultural College, where they were propagated.

Pinotage Vineyard Sign

Today, the South African red wine Pinotage is renowned for its substantial tannin levels and bold, intense flavours. However, the taste profile can significantly differ based on its production process, with some typical flavours encompassing smoke, mocha, chocolate and earthy richness coupled with an energetic fruitiness of red berries.

Merlot: Silky Red Fruit Forward Magic

Merlot was first introduced to South Africa in the 1920s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that its production truly began to flourish. Overgaauw wine estate is recognised for producing the first single-varietal Merlot wine in the country, using grapes from the 1982 harvest. In 1979, Merlot occupied only one hectare of South African vineyards, but by 2020, it had expanded to cover 5,387 hectares, ranking it as the eighth most commonly planted grape variety.

South African red wine like Merlot is recognised by its refined red fruit flavours, blueberry, strawberry, red cherry, blackberry, and a luscious, silky mouth feel complemented by delicate tannins. The type of wood used for ageing can introduce additional flavours like mild black pepper and roasted or smoked nuances.

South African Red Wine - Merlot

Cabernet Sauvignon: A Popular South African Red Wine

The exact origins of Cabernet Sauvignon were long unknown, with some speculating that its history might stretch back to ancient or even Roman times. Yet, these theories were definitively disproved in the latter part of the 20th century.

In 1996, a DNA profiling study carried out at the University of California, Davis, revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon is actually a relatively new grape variety. The research determined that this highly respected grape is the progeny of two other varieties: Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Cabernet Sauvignon Grape Harvest

Cabernet Sauvignon is undoubtedly one of the best South African red wine types. It typically produces full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity, contributing to its ageing potential. Its popularity can often be traced back to its cultivation ease, thick skins and robust vines, naturally low yielding, and resistance to common vineyard issues like rot and insects.

5 Interesting Facts About South African Red Wine and The Wine Industry

1. SA is the 8th Largest Wine Producer: South Africa is currently the 8th largest producer of wine in the world, from 7th place to 1st place being Argentina, Chile, Australia, USA, Spain, France and Italy.

2. 45% of their vineyards are planted with red grapes: The percentage of South African Red Wine vineyards are planted with approximately 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah/Shiraz, 7.5% Pinotage and 6% Merlot.

3. SA has just over 525 officially registered wineries: Among these, approximately 225 are recognised as producers of “estate wines”, which means the entire wine production process, from grape growing to bottling, occurs in one specific estate.

4. The SA Wine Industry exported 368.5 million litres of wine in 2022: The South African wine industry has gone from strength to strength over the last few decades, and SA wines are growing in popularity worldwide.

5. 269 096 people are employed in the SA wine industry: The South African Wine Industry helps provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of South Africans both directly and indirectly.

HER Wine Collective

The HER Wine Collection is a trailblazer in the wine industry of South Africa. We take pride in being the first business to be entirely owned and operated by black women. Every phase of our process, from the carefully nurtured vineyard to the fine bottle and through to production, marketing, and distribution, is managed with love by black women. We understand the inherent worth of idea sharing, encouraging each other, and expanding our connections across the various communities throughout South Africa.

South African Red Wine Varieties Available at HER Wines

HER Pinotage

HER Wine Collection Pinotage 2022 captivates wine lovers with its lush, mature red berry fruitiness, accentuated by fragrant, spicy undertones. It’s a substantial wine that leaves a lasting impression on the palate. Its medium-bodied composition is characterised by tender, plush tannins that enhance the intensity of the juicy fruit flavours.

Her Wine Pinotage being held

HER Shiraz

The HER Wine Collection Shiraz 2022 is the perfect balance of deep dark berry fruit and nuances of vanilla and spice to craft an appealing wine. This medium-bodied wine leaves a lasting impression on the palate, making it one of the best red wines in South Africa.

South African Red Wine - HER Wine Shiraz near fire

HER Bursary

Our all-women team at the HER Wine Collective recognises the hurdles that must be overcome to achieve professional success. We understand the steep struggle that young individuals encounter in creating their own way in this world, and this shared journey has ignited in us a passion to give a hand up. That’s why we’ve committed to donate 2% of our profits to a scholarship fund dedicated to nurturing the dreams of ambitious young individuals, aiding them in making their aspirations a reality.

All candidates who qualify for this remarkable scholarship come from families who labour in the vineyards that provide grapes for the HER Wine Collective. The selected beneficiaries will receive financial support for their education, as well as mentorship, to help them navigate through the complexities of studying at a tertiary institution and building a career.

Buy South African Red Wine Online with HER Wines

If you are looking for a good red wine in South Africa, you can buy our wine online, or you can buy our wines at various retailers. Stay updated on all the thrilling happenings at HER wines by joining our community on Instagram and Facebook. For any additional information on our South African red wine or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out via email at or give us a call at 021 873 3170.

South African Shiraz: Exploring its Unique Charm

South African Shiraz: Exploring its Unique Charm

Shiraz red wine is a firm favourite amongst South African wine lovers, but where did this variety originate from, and how did it make its way to our beloved country? In this blog post, we will explore the fascinating history of Shiraz, how it made its way to South Africa, its exciting flavour profile, and some interesting facts about growing this exceptional grape. We will also discuss whether Syrah and Shiraz are the same and compare Shiraz’s flavour profile with another popular red wine, Merlot.

Shiraz - HER Wine Shiraz

Earliest Record of The Variety

For many years, the birthplace of the grape has been the subject of numerous theories. The widely held belief was that this particular type of grape originated from ancient Persia, especially the city of Shiraz. Some historians, however, proposed that it was transported from the Middle East to Marseilles around 560 BC. The idea that Roman legions carried it all the way from Egypt to Syracuse in Sicily was another theory that floated around. Another prevalent belief was that the Crusaders introduced it to France upon their return from the Middle East in the 13th century.

Contrary to these fascinating theories, it was definitively established in the late 90s that the red grape variety actually originates from France. This revelation was due to DNA testing conducted by L’Ecole Nationale Superiore Agronomique of Montpellier’s, Jean-Michel Boursiquot, and Carole Meredith from the University of California, Davis, both of whom are experts in grapevine identification. Their groundbreaking declaration was made in 2001 at a convention of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture. They confirmed that the Shiraz is not of Persian descent but is instead the offspring of two less famous French grape varieties: Mondeuse Blanche (Savoie) and Dureza (Ardéche).

The Story of Shiraz in South Africa

The exact timeline and process of how the first of the wine varietal reached South Africa remain uncertain, although there are a couple of hypotheses. One possibility is that Governor Simon van der Stel imported some from Europe to the Cape towards the end of the 1600s. One other theory suggests that James Busby, a Scotsman acknowledged for introducing Shiraz to Australia, might have left some cuttings in Cape Town around 1840 while on his way from Europe. What is known for certain, due to documented evidence, is that the first planting of the grape variety on South African soil took place in the late 1890s at the Groot Constantia farm.

The story of Shiraz in South African wine history has its roots deeply embedded in the past century. Records from the Shiraz SA website reveal that in 1935, 15 Shiraz wines (with a surprising count of 12 sweet wines) were submitted for the Cape Agricultural Wine Competition. The credit for bottling the first single cultivar of the varietal goes to Bernard Podlashuk, often referred to as ‘The Father of Shiraz in South Africa’. This pioneering act was done under the Bellingham label in 1957. Following this, Groot Constantia bottled their first bottle in 1963, and in 1965, Klawer Co-op bottled their first Shiraz.

Shiraz Grapes

In the late 1970s, the number of recorded Shiraz wines was still modest, standing at just 20. However, the early 1990s witnessed a significant shift as the global popularity of the wine began to influence South Africa. Vineyards began to expand rapidly from approximately 900 hectares in 1992 to a staggering 10,000 hectares by 2009.

Today, Shiraz holds a prominent position in South African viticulture. It is the second most planted red variety in the country, following Cabernet Sauvignon. Out of all the varieties, it is the fourth most planted after Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Colombar and was the most planted variety from 2000 to 2010. On a global scale, South Africa boasts the fourth largest plantings of the variety worldwide.

Shiraz on The Vineyard

Vines and Grapes

If you take a stroll out into the vineyards and walk amongst the Shiraz vines, you will notice they exhibit a limp, creeping growth pattern. These vines display remarkable vigour and adapt well to a variety of climatic conditions. On inspection, the leaves sport a dull green hue, are substantial in size, and have a longitudinal shape, five defined lobes and a downy (fluffy) underside.

You’ll also notice the bunches of grapes are medium large in size, elongated in shape, occasionally featuring a winged structure and generally loosely packed. The individual berries are medium small, oval in shape and cloaked in a thin yet relatively sturdy blue-black skin that is heavily dusted with bloom when ripe. Shiraz grapes ripen between mid-February and late March and produce juicy flesh that carries a unique and pleasant flavour.

Shiraz - Shiraz Vineyards

The Perfect Conditions for Shiraz: Location, Aspect and Soil

The primary goal when growing Shiraz is to cultivate a vineyard that exhibits uniformity, moderate strength, and growth. To produce high-quality wines, the conditions should be cool to promote gradual ripening along with adequate sunlight exposure. The vines require comparatively cool slopes with ample soil moisture and middle to upper rocky slopes oriented east to north. In cooler climates, rows should be planted in a north/south direction, while in warmer climates, rows should be aligned in an east/west direction.

Shiraz in The Cellar

In the process of producing and maturing Shiraz, winemakers employ an array of methods involving the use of oak. Historically, European oak, particularly from France, has been the preferred choice among winemakers, but American oak has been progressively more prevalent. Alternatively, Hungarian oak offers a high-quality yet cost-effective option in comparison to the other two.

Several factors significantly impact how the wood influences the wine. These include the kind of wood used, the manufacturing techniques employed, and the size and age of the barrel. Additionally, the duration for which the wine is aged and the unique characteristics of a specific vintage also contribute to the final outcome.

Oak Barrels

Exploring Shiraz in The Glass

Flavour Profile

Shiraz is a robust wine, abundant in tannins and acidity. It’s renowned for its rich, fruit-centric tastes, commonly highlighting undertones of blackberry, plum, pepper, and an array of spices. Owing to South Africa’s warm weather, the Shiraz produced here may display more pronounced fruity traits compared to those from other regions.

The flavour profiles of Shiraz wines are shaped by a range of factors, including the meso, macro, and microclimates, soil type, plant material, viticultural practices, production objectives, and winemaking techniques. Terroirs that are cooler and at higher altitudes produce flavours that are distinctly different from those found in warmer regions.

Drinking Red Wine

Popular Styles

South Africa boasts a greater number of Shiraz varietals than any other type of varietal wine. These include chic additions of Viognier or Mourvedre and blends that incorporate various varieties from Southern France and the Rhône are escalating in both popularity and abundance. The styles of these wines are typically influenced by popular consumer preferences and are achieved through winemaking methods rather than being derived from their place of origin.

Perfect Food and Wine Pairing

It is perfectly paired with hearty slow-cooked foods such as casseroles, potjies and stews. The smokiness of the wine is delicious with braaied, grilled food as well as sauces and relishes rich in fruit, complementing the fruitiness of the wine brilliantly. Shiraz also pairs well with game meats and dishes featuring kudu, ostrich, venison, springbok, duck and rabbit.

Shiraz - Food and Wine Pairing

Syrah vs Shiraz: Are They The Same?

Syrah and Shiraz refer to the same grape variety used in the production of red wine, but the name the winemaker chooses to use often indicates the style of wine. Originating from the Rhône Valley in France, Syrah wine is typically medium to full-bodied and is characterised by dark berry and pepper flavours, presenting a sophisticated and intricate profile.

Shiraz, as it is called in South Africa and Australia, usually results in more robust, fruit-forward wines with flavours of jammy blackberry and spicy notes, a product of the warmer climates in these regions. As you can see, although they are the same grape, the name provides a clue to the wine’s style and flavour profile, which are shaped by its geographical origin and climate.

Merlot vs Shiraz: What’s The Difference?

If you are trying to decide between a bottle of Merlot and Shiraz, we recommend choosing Merlot if you are looking for a wine with a soft, velvety texture and carry flavours of plum, black cherry, and herbs. But if you prefer a full-bodied wine with a flavour profile featuring dark fruits, blackberry, hints of pepper, spice and smoked meats, then you’ll love Shiraz. Due to the heightened levels of tannin and acidity, Shiraz wines typically have a more robust and bold flavour profile in comparison to Merlot.

HER Wine Collection

The HER Wine Collection is a pioneer in the South African wine industry, being the first enterprise fully owned and run by black women. From grape to glass, every step of the production, promotion, marketing and distribution is overseen by black women. We understand the value of sharing ideas, motivating each other, and expanding our network across the multifaceted communities within South Africa.

The Her Wine Collection Shiraz is a medium-bodied wine that has flavours of rich dark berry fruit, which is exquisitely balanced by hints of spice and vanilla to create a complex wine that lingers long on the palate. Enjoy it on its own, or pair it with a hearty beef casserole or a juicy steak.

HER Wine Bursary

Our inspiring all-female team at HER Wine Collection understand the challenges that need to be navigated and overcome to achieve professional success. These experiences have imbued us with a deep understanding of the difficulties young individuals encounter while trying to carve out their place in the world, motivating us to give them a hand up. As a result, we’ve pledged to contribute 2% of our profits to a bursary fund to assist young, driven, and talented individuals in achieving their dreams.

Those eligible for this scholarship come from families currently working on the vineyards that supply grapes for the HER Wine Collection. The selected recipients will receive financial support for their education and mentorship aimed at helping them navigate the intricacies of pursuing tertiary education and establishing a career.

HER Wines Shiraz

If you would like to try one of the best Shiraz wines in South Africa, why not purchase a bottle or a case of HER Wines Shiraz? You can purchase our wines on our online wine shop, and a bottle of Shiraz sells for only R90.00 per bottle. If you would like to purchase a case of 12 bottles, you will also receive complimentary shipping. Stay in the loop with all the exciting things happening at the HER Wines by following us on Instagram and Facebook. For further details about our incredible wines, feel free to drop us an email at or give us a call on 021 873 3170.

Pinotage: South Africa’s Signature Red Wine

Pinotage: South Africa’s Signature Red Wine

Pinotage is South Africa’s signature red wine, a grape cultivar created back in 1925 by combining the French varietals Pinot Noir (for flavour) and Cinsaut (for vigour). Over the last century, this South African cultivar has developed a distinct profile that ranges from succulent berry flavours to notes of tobacco, liquorice and whiffs of smoke. Its unique taste and growing popularity make it a must-try for every wine lover. In this blog, we will explore the exciting history of this grape varietal as well as its distinct characteristics and food pairing options.

Pinotage - People Cheersing Wine

Origin and History

In 1925, Abraham Izak Perold, the first Professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University, combined the Hermitage (better known as Cinsaut) and Pinot Noir cultivars in the garden of his residence at the Welgevallen Experimental Farm. This new varietal was named Pino-tage as a nod to both parent cultivars. His goal was to make a new grape that had the beautiful full flavours of Pinot from Burgundy but was as hardy, generous and disease-resistant as Cinsaut.

A few years later, Perold left the university to join KWV, and his garden became overgrown. Sometime later, a team of workers went in to clean up his overgrown garden, but serendipitously, Dr Charlie Niehaus, a young lecturer, was cycling past. He knew about the Pinotage vines and managed to rescue and replant them at Elsenburg Agricultural College nearby.

During a visit, Perold saw the grafted vines and recommended immediate propagation.

The First Vintage

The first Pinotage wine was made by CT de Waal at Elsenburg in 1941, and the first commercial, large-scale planting was at Myrtle Grove near Sir Lowry’s Pass in the Helderberg region. During that same year, Danie Rossouw and Paul Sauer planted some Pinotage vines at Kanonkop Estate.

The Rise of the New Grape Variety

Pinotage was relatively unknown on the global stage until Beyers Truter of Kanonkop won the 1987 Diner’s Club Wine of the Year award with this varietal. This recognition sparked a resurgence of interest in Pinotage within South Africa, leading to an increased number of winemakers exploring its potential. They began focusing more on bringing out the grape’s natural fruit character rather than relying heavily on oak ageing. This allowed them to achieve a more refined taste through less ripe extraction.

From 2007 to 2017, Pinotage saw substantial growth in quality, demand, and supply. At the start of the new millennium, around 3 million litres of Pinotage were produced annually. However, by 2017, domestic sales had soared to over 5 million litres, while exports had more than doubled from just over 8 million litres in 2001 to nearly 19 million litres. As of 2017, the Pinotage industry contributed an estimated R495 million to the South African economy.

Red Grapes Hanging in Vineyard

What are the Characteristics of Pinotage?

Pinotage is renowned for its distinctive flavour profile and aroma. As a red wine, Pinotage is known for its high tannin content and bold, robust character. However, its flavours can vary greatly depending on how it’s made, with some typical notes including smoky, earthy undertones alongside a vibrant fruitiness.

What Does Pinotage Smell Like?

Pinotage often presents a deep, intense hue of ruby or purple. When it comes to aroma, this wine can be quite complex. It often showcases a range of fruity scents such as blackberry, plum, and raspberry. But there’s more to its aromatic profile. You might also detect hints of tobacco, coffee, dark chocolate, and even a unique ‘banana’ scent in certain wines made using carbonic maceration (a technique that makes the wine fruitier and softens the tannins).

Pinotage - Man Smelling Wine

What Does a Pinotage Taste Like?

Pinotage offers a fascinating blend of flavours. You can expect a harmony of dark fruits like black cherries and prunes, interspersed with subtle hints of spice and smoke. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Pinotage is its noted mocha or coffee-like taste, making it stand out from other red wines.

Pinotage is a bold, multifaceted wine that beautifully balances fruit, spice, and earthy elements. Its intriguing taste profile makes it a unique and enjoyable wine worth exploring. It has evolved into the signature red cultivar of the domestic wine industry.

What’s the Difference Between Pinotage and Pinot Noir?

Though Pinotage and Pinot Noir share a common ancestry, they are unique in their attributes. Pinotage is a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Cinsault grapes, which results in a more robust variety that’s less challenging to grow. In contrast, Pinot Noir is notorious for its difficult growing process, typically creating lighter, more refined wines with a lower alcohol content.

Flavour-wise, Pinotage delivers a bolder, earthier profile with a higher tannin concentration, often compared to Shiraz. On the other hand, Pinot Noir is renowned for its understated elegance, often revealing flavours of red fruits with a smooth, velvety texture. Yet, despite these differences, both varieties captivate wine lovers worldwide with their inherent complexity.

What’s the Difference Between Pinotage and Merlot?

Merlot is known for its soft, velvety texture and plum, black cherry, and herbal flavours. Although it’s typically a medium to full-bodied wine, Pinotage can range from light and fruity to dark and smoky, often with notes of tropical fruit, plum, and sometimes a touch of smoke. When it comes to the question of Pinotage vs Merlot, a lot of it depends on personal preference.

Friends Tasting Wine

Is Pinotage Unique to South Africa?

Most of the world’s Pinotage is grown in South Africa, especially in the fertile wine region of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, but it has made its way to other parts of the world. This includes countries such as New Zealand, the United States, Germany, Israel, Australia, Brazil, and Canada. This worldwide cultivation underscores the versatility and allure of Pinotage.

Despite its journey into wine areas all over the world, the heart of Pinotage is intrinsically linked to South Africa. It accounts for approximately 6% of the total vineyard area in the country.

Pinotage Vineyard Sign

What Food is it Best Paired with?

Pinotage wine is a versatile wine that complements a wide range of dishes. If you’re enjoying a light, easy-going Pinotage, consider matching it with a salami pizza or a robust beef stew. If your Pinotage leans more towards the earthy side, it’s great with a roast duck or a creamy mushroom risotto. Those deep, full-bodied ones shine when paired with hearty dishes like braised short ribs or a steak.

Our Her Wines 2022 Pinotage is delicious with meat platters, curry dishes or anything spicy.

Pinotage - Steak and Wine

HER Wines

The HER Wine Collection stands as a pioneering entity in the South African wine industry, being the first company to be entirely owned and managed by black women. From the vineyard to the bottle, every aspect of the production, marketing, and distribution process is handled by black women. They recognise the value in exchanging ideas, motivating one another, and widening their connections throughout the various diverse communities within South Africa.

The Her Wine Collection Pinotage 2022 lasts long on the palate with its juicy, ripe red berry fruit and aromatic spicy notes. It is a medium-bodied wine with velvety tannins.

Pinotage - HER Wines Bottle of Pinotage

HER Wine Bursary: Uplifting Communities

Our team at HER Wine Collection, an all-female winemaking company, has personally faced and overcome significant hurdles to attain professional success. These experiences have given us a clear understanding of the challenges that young people face trying to find their place in the world, and it inspired us to give some of them a hand up. Consequently, we have committed to donate 2% of our profits to a bursary fund to support young, ambitious, and gifted individuals in realising their aspirations.

Applicants eligible for this scholarship come from families currently employed on the vineyards that provide grapes for the HER Wine Collection. The chosen recipients will receive financial aid for their education, along with mentorship to guide them through the complexities involved in studying at a tertiary institution and establishing a career.

Her Wine Bursary With Pinotage

Pinotage at HER Wines

Our meticulous attention to detail during the winemaking process, from the careful selection of grapes to thoughtful ageing, makes the HER WIne Pinotage 2022 one of the best Pinotage in South Africa. Once the grapes are harvested and destemmed, they are pressed before the fermentation process is completed. This process results in a wine with beautiful fruit flavours and a complex structure. Instead of ageing the wine only in tanks, we also aged them in French oak barrels to add a luxurious oak finish to the wine.

Our 2022 Pinotage wine price at R90.00 a bottle is available to purchase from our website. If you order 12 bottles of any of our delicious wines, shipping is FREE. To stay updated on our winery, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. If you need any more information, call us on +27 (0) 21 873 3170 or email