Three Centuries of Cape Wine


Important developments since 1900:
  

2017


The fourth Cape Wine Auction, sponsored by Nedbank Private Wealth, raised a record-breaking R22.3 million to further education in the winelands. A bespoke experience in the USA’s Napa Valley fetched R3 000 000, the highest figure ever paid for a lot in the auction’s history.

The Institute of Masters of Wine and international trade publication The Drinks Business  announced Eben Sadie of South Africa’s Sadie Family Wines as the winner of the 2017 Winemakers’ Winemaker Award.

A new Wine of Origin District named after Cape Town, one of the world’s foremost tourism brands, incorporates the wards of Constantia, Durbanville, Philadelphia and Hout Bay. A total of 30 wineries will join forces under Wine of Origin Cape Town.

The 43rd Nederburg Auction saw just under 8 800 litres go under the hammer, raising over R6 million and leaving no lots unsold. The Meerlust 1978 Bordeaux-style blend achieved an auction record price per litre of just over R21 300. 

Total sales exceeded R13.2 million at the 33rd Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction, which was held at Spier in Stellenbosch. A new record price for a case of wine was set when Danie Steytler’s Kaapzicht Estate The Ultimate Vision 2015 fetched the highest price ever recorded of R16 600 for a six-bottle case.

2016

The third AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction raised R15 000 000 to further education in the winelands.  The Touch Warwick Cabernet Sauvignon – The Debut Lot fetched an unprecedented R1.3 million, closely followed by The Port2 Fino Lot, sponsored by online wine and spirits retailer Port2Port, which went for R1.25 million

Sales of South African wine in the US for the 52-week period ending 16 July 2016 went up 14% by volume and showed a 25% growth in value.

South Africa earned higher prices for its wines in several key markets. While the year-on-year rand per litre price for bottled wines increased by 13% in the UK for the 12 months to August, it rose by 19% for the same period in Germany and Canada, and by 32% in the Netherlands.

Wines of South Africa staged Intrepid, its first stand-alone tasting since 2011, in the East End’s historic Tobacco Dock on 08 September. Over 138 producers showed the country’s bold and dynamic winemaking nature, creating such a buzz that it was rated as the most exciting and vibrant trade tasting of the year so far.

At the 42nd Nederburg Auction, held annually in September, record prices and an all-time high of R740 per litre were achieved. A total of 18 lots were sold, raising just over R500 000 for charity.
 
Wines of South Africa successfully staged the third triennial Sommelier Cup with eight contestants competing for the title of champion, which culminated in a prestigious event held at the Taj Hotel in Cape Town on 23 September.

Record sales were achieved at the 32nd Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction, held on 01 October at Spier in Stellenbosch. These amounted to R13 833 400 for 2 428 cases, almost R2 million more than the previous record, with the average price per case being R5 697 and per bottle R950.

South African winemaker Andrea Mullineux of Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines was named Winemaker of the Year by prestigious US magazine, Wine Enthusiast.

South African wine exports of R9.0 billion (428.5 million litres ) went up by 9.8 percent in 2016, driven by impressive growth in higher price points, and exceeded local sales of R7.9 billion (up 9.4%).

2015

The second AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction raised R10 485 000 for education charities in the winelands.

At The Drinks Business Green Awards 2015, Backsberg Estate Cellars won The Amorim Sustainability Award for Wine and owner Michael Back the Green Lifetime Achievement Award. 

At the 41st Nederburg Auction, held annually in September, total sales amounted to R6.163 million, holding up well against last year’s record of just over R7 million. An average price of R576 per litre was achieved, compared to R597 in 2014.

South Africa achieved a 50% increase in gold medals at the 2015 International Wine & Spirit Competition.

Cape Wine 2015, September’s three-day showcase to the international wine fraternity, proved to the most successful exhibition of its kind to date, with the number of visitors rising by 27% on the previous show. Held every three years, this year’s trade fair drew 1 900 visitors from a total of 58 countries.

New record prices were set at the 31st Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction for both red and white wines, and the average price per case was up by almost 10% on last year. The auction achieved total sales of R11 815 800, just short of the R11.9 million in 2014, despite smaller volumes, with 264 fewer cases this year.

2014

The inaugural AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction raised R7 045 000 for education charities in the winelands.

WWF's Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) awarded Cape Town, South Africa the title of Global Earth Hour Capital 2014.

Michael Jordaan, venture capitalist and former CEO of First National Bank (FNB), was appointed chairman of WOSA. He succeeded Johann Krige, CEO and co-owner of Kanonkop Estate, who was chairman of the marketing body for the past five years.

Viticulturist Pietie le Roux of La Motte won The Drinks Business Green Awards Personality of the Year Award.

Charles Back (owner of Fairview, Goats do Roam Wine Company and Spice Route Winery) was the recipient of the IWC Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Organisation of the World Bulk Wine Exhibition (WBWE) awarded The Voice of Wine 2014 to WOSA.

At the 40th Nederburg Auction, held annually in September, a record average price per litre of R597.36 was achieved, a 68.5% increase on the previous year. Total sales amounted to R7 001 600 and the volume sold was 11 491.50 litres.

2013

Su Birch, CEO of WOSA, won The Drinks Business Green Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.

China made its first investment in the Cape winelands in August 2013 when Perfect China in Yangzhou, the 51% shareholding partner in Perfect Wines of South Africa, purchased the wine cellar at Val de Vie in Paarl. The deal included a 25 ha wine farm with 21 ha of vineyards and the historic manor house, dating back to 1783.

The total 2013 crop was 4.6% higher than the record crop of in 2008.

The annual Nederburg Auction in September broke the record of previous auctions, yielding R4.36-million at an average of R355 per litre, compared with the 2012 average of R185.

Records tumbled at the 29th Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction, held at Spier in Stellenbosch in October, with the highest sales ever recorded exceeding R8,4 million. 

Following the success of its inaugural contest hosted in 2010, WOSA once again staged a Sommelier Cup to find the sommelier among 12 competing nations with the best knowledge of South African wines.

The inaugural generic tasting The Beautiful South , hosted by Wines of Argentina, Wines of Chile and Wines of South Africa in October in London, was a resounding success.

2013 was a record year for South African wine exports, which broke the 500 million litre mark for the first time, reaching 525.3 million litres for the year.

Multi-millionaire Indian businessman Analjit Singh bought a stake in a top South African winery from English investor Keith Prothero, which saw its name change from Mullineux Family Wines to Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines (Leeu International Investments is Singh’s local business).

After 13 years as the CEO of WOSA, Su Birch was succeeded by Siobhan Thompson, previously Distell’s global head of marketing for Amarula and the company’s other liqueur brands. 

2012

Su Birch, CEO of WOSA since 2000, was honoured by UK-based wine market research company, Wine Intelligence, as one of the world`s top 10 personalities in wine, for her instrumental role in developing South Africa’s wine-producing reputation.

South African wine tourism was rated the best developed in the world by the influential International Wine Review.

At The Drinks Business Green Awards 2012 held in London, WOSA won the Generic Sustainability Award of the Year for its work in promoting sustainable practices in the country. Other South African winners included DGB (Pty) (Ethical Award of the Year) and Avondale (Environmental Award of the Year).

The launch in May of a campaign to ensure ethical trading throughout the entire supply chain and the introduction of a seal that only producers who pass the WIETA audit criteria annually are entitled to use were two huge milestones reached in the South African wine industry.

Cape Wine 2012, the flagship business showcase of the South African wine industry, took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 25 to 27 September. A total of 2 538 people visited the trade show over the three days, showing an increase of 97% compared to the last Cape Wine, held in 2008. Vindaba, a trade exhibition of the country`s impressive range of wine tourism offerings, took place simultaneously.

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2007 became the first South African wine to achieve a 97-point rating in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. This precedent was followed by the Sadie Family Old Vines Series Kokerboom 2011 also achieving 97 points a few months later.

Exports for 2012 reached 417 million litres, 10 million litres more than the previous record of 407 million litres achieved in 2008.

2011

WOSA conducted its first promotion in Angola.

WOSA produced its first promotional material in Japanese, Korean and Mandarin.

HCI Holdings became the largest shareholder in KWV when it acquired a 33.9% stake for R247,1m from Zeder, the PSG Group’s investment company in the food and beverages sectors.

Durbanville Hills Winery was named winner of the Ethical Award category in the 2011 The Drinks Business Green Awards.

WOSA produced an animated video about the new sustainability seal.

The WOSA Wine Workshop tours, a series of one-day master classes consisting of four seminars in most of its target markets, were introduced.

The Jooste family, who have owned Klein Constantia since 1980, entered into an agreement to sell the historic estate to US citizen Zdenek Bakala and Charles Harman from the UK.

Accolade Wines became the parent company of the Fish Hoek, Flagstone and Kumala brands after Constellation Holdings in the USA restructured, selling their Australian, European and South African entities to an Australian private equity fund called Champ.

Cape Town was named the Design Capital of the World for the year 2014 and landmark Table Mountain was named one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

2010

The total area conserved among all the BWI champions and members is 126 590 hectares, which represents more than 120% of the total vineyard footprint in the Cape winelands.

At the inaugural The Drinks Business Green Awards, which are designed to highlight leadership on environment, sustainability and climate change by drinks companies worldwide, South Africa came up trumps. Dr Paul Cluver of Paul Cluver Wines won the Lifetime Achievement Award, Inge Kotzé of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative was awarded the Personality Award, while Backsberg walked away with the Sustainability Award. Paul Cluver Wines and Stellar Organics were named runners-up in the Ethical Award category, giving South Africa a notable presence in four of the eight award results.

Sales of South African wines overtook French wines for the first time in the UK wine market. According to figures from market analysts AC Nielsen, South African wine sales grew 20 percent, by volume, to 12 270 000 9L cases, compared to a decline in French wine sales of 12 percent, to 12 266 000 9L cases.

A revised version of Aspect was produced by WOSA.

SA introduced the world’s first sustainability seal as a guarantee of eco-friendly production.

The WOSA Sommelier World Cup, with 12 countries competing for the title of champion, kicked off in March.

Callie van Niekerk of Distell was named the IWC White Winemaker of the Year.

WOSA launched its animated wine soccer video. The industry was gearing up for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ which took place from 11 June to 11 July and was a resounding success.

WOSA also produced a book called Cape Wine Braai Masters in time for the 2010 celebrations.

2009

The anniversary of 350 years of winemaking was celebrated.

Sales of First Cape were up 135% to £90 million in the UK. It overtook Kumala to become the Cape’s biggest selling wine brand and ranked second on the list of fastest-growing wine brands.

KWV Ltd unbundled its indirect shareholding in Distell from its own operations and assets to become KWV Holdings Ltd.

Ithemba, a full-colour book documenting leading examples of socio-economic transformation in the South African wine industry since the advent of democracy 15 years ago, is produced by WOSA. It was funded largely by the Department of Trade and Industry.

WOSA launched DNA SA. This booklet, a toolkit for marketers, represents WOSA's thinking on how to present Brand Wine South Africa.

WOSA’s CEO Su Birch was named The Drinks Business Woman of the Year.

The Drinks Business Ethical Award was presented to WOSA’s project Laduma, funded mainly through the sales of Fundi wines and generous contributions from the Cape Winelands District Municipality.

2008

SAWIC was disbanded.

September's Nedbank Cape Wine 2008, the wine industry's largest ever showcase to the international market, featured over 300 exhibitors and drew some 1 300 visitors. During the trade show, the change in the country's presidency occurred without incident, a positive reflection of the stability and growing maturity of South Africa 's democracy.

The BWI reached its goal of achieving a conservation footprint of 104 511 hectares, 100% equal to the vineyard footprint in the Cape winelands, within three years.

South African wine exports reached a record 407 000 000 litres.

A revised version of Aspect was produced by WOSA.

2007

Flagstone was acquired by Constellation, the largest wine company in the world. Winemaker Bruce Jack is now in charge of all Constellation’s South African winemaking, including the Kumala brand.

2006

The biggest ever showcase for SA wines, Cape Wine 2006, was hosted by WOSA at the CTICC, attracting international and national wine media and buyers. This highly successful event featured the world’s first seminar on wine diversity. Some 40% of SA producers signed a pledge to farm in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way with respect for both people and the land, and filled in a diversity survey of what is noteworthy and worth preserving on their lands – these were presented at the seminar.

Omnia Wines with its large and successful brands, which include Kumkani and Arniston Bay, was renamed the company of wine people.

The SA Wine Industry Council (SAWIC), which resulted from the restructuring of the South African Wine & Brandy Company, was launched.

2005

The CWA was acquired from pointBreak by a consortium which included a 25% holding by the CWA management with the remaining 75% being made up of an empowerment group and a cross-section of wine industry players.

The world’s first biodiversity wine route, the Green Mountain Eco Route, was established within the Groenlandberg Conservancy.

2004

Cape Wine 2004 was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC); a resounding success, it attracted wine media and buyers from across the country and around the globe.

South Africa celebrated 10 years as a peaceful democracy.

KWV entered into the industry’s largest broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) deal with the Phetogo Consortium obtaining 25.1% shares.

KWV branded wines available on the local market.

Vinfruco and Stellenbosch Vineyards merged to form a new company, Omnia Wines, one of the largest producers in South Africa .

The pioneering Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI) was initiated to incorporate biodiversity best practices into the SA wine industry.

Aspect, a booklet which offers in-depth information on our diverse wine regions with their unique biodiversity, a result of our complex terroir, was published by WOSA.

2003

The Wine Industry Plan was accepted by the Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs as the strategic framework for cooperation and action in the South African wine industry. 

2002

Cape Wine 2002 - a major success for the South African wine industry.

Joint venture between Australia's BRL Hardy and Stellenbosch Vineyards (SV) was announced - a first for the local industry.

The SA Wine Industry Ethical Trading Association (WIETA) was established.

The Shiraz Association was formed.

The KWV split into two separate entities: a commercial company, KWV Limited, and Wijngaard Co-operative, which provides services to and looks after the interests of producers.

White wines were bottled under screwcaps by several South African producers.

The CWA was transferred by Distell to an independent group of management specialists called pointBreak.

The South African Wine and Brandy Company (SAWB) was formed.

The South African Wine and Brandy Company (SAWB) was established, with the aim of implementing the Vision 2020 strategic outline by preparing the Wine Industry Plan.

2001

The Muscadel Association was formed.

2000

The inaugural Cape Wine 2000, showcasing South African wines, was held.

SAWSEA was renamed Wines of South Africa (WOSA). An independent, non-profit company representing all exporters of South African wines, its aim is to build Brand South Africa internationally.

The Chenin Blanc Association was formed.

SFW and Distillers Corporation merged to form one company, Distell.

1999

The new Liquor Bill was rejected as unconstitutional and referred back to parliament for amendment.

The South African Wine Industry Trust (SAWIT) was established to advance the transformation of the wine industry and promote exports.

Winetech initiated Vision 2020, with its aim to produce detailed strategies for the South African wine industry.

1998

The new Liquor Bill, a three-tier system, was approved by parliament.

The CWA was registered in an independent Trust.

1997

KWV Registered as a private company on 01 December.

ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij was founded.

1996

Stellenbosch Vineyards (Pty) Ltd was founded.

1995

The Pinotage Association was formed.

KWV International was founded.

1993

The Port Producers' Association was formed.

1992

The quota system controlled by the KWV was scrapped.

Merger of KWV wine courses with the CWA.

The Méthode Cap Classique Association was formed.

1991

First National Bottled Wine Show and inaugural Veritas awards.

1990

Changes in the Wine of Origin legislation.

The SA Wines & Spirits Export Association (SAWSEA) was established.

Nelson Mandela was released from prison, impacting strongly on the South African wine industry and its acceptability in the international arena.

1985

The inaugural CWG wine auction was held.

1984

Flavoured wines introduced to the market.

1983

The Cape Winemakers' Guild (CWG), an independent association, was formed.

1980

Regulations regarding the residual sugar content of table wine changed - for the first time provision was made for wine exceeding 30g per litre.

1979

The Cape Wine Academy (CWA), the wine industry's general education body, was founded in Stellenbosch by SFW in October.

The restructuring of the Liquor Industry by government sanction took place.

1975

The first Auction of Rare Cape Wines was held at Nederburg.

The first South African Zinfandel was marketed by Gilbeys.

1973

The Wine of Origin legislation was instituted.

1971

Stellenbosch Wine Route, the first wine route in the country, was founded.

1968

Distillers built the Bergkelder with its maturation cellars tunnelled into Papegaaiberg in Stellenbosch.

1965

SFW, Monis and Nederburg amalgamated.

1964

Lieberstein sales topped 31-million litres, becoming the world's largest selling bottled wine.

1961

The first Pinotage, a 1959 under the Lanzerac label, was marketed.

1959

SFW launched Lieberstein, a semi-sweet table wine which revolutionised wine-drinking habits in South Africa.

1955

The Viticultural and Oenological Research Institute (VORI) was founded. Today it is known as Nietvoorbij.

1950

Gilbeys SA was founded.

1945

Distillers Corporation was founded.

1940

The Wine and Spirit Control Amendment Act was passed to control the minimum price for good wine.

1936

Nederburg wine farm was bought by Johann Graue, a German immigrant who used cold fermentation for making white table wine in the 1950s.

1935

The Stellenbosch Farmers' Winery (SFW) Limited, a public company, was registered.

1927

Georg Canitz of Muratie bottled the first South African Pinot Noir.

1925

Professor Perold successfully cross-pollinated Pinot Noir with Hermitage (Cinsaut) to develop South Africa's own grape variety, Pinotage.

1918

The Stellenbosch Farmers Winery, a partnership, was founded.
The Ko-operatiewe Wijnbouwers Vereeniging van Zuid-Afrika (KWV) was formed, saving the industry from disaster.


Important developments between 1650 and 1890:

1886

The phylloxera disaster destroyed millions of vines at the Cape

1761

Constantia exported wine to Europe. By 1788, the luscious dessert wines of Constantia win acclaim throughout Europe.

1688

Some 150 French Huguenots emigrated to the Cape, bringing with them their winemaking skills. They settled mainly in the Franschhoek valley.

1685

Van der Stel planted some 10 000 vines in the Constantia valley.

1678

The town of Stellenbosch was established by Governor Simon van der Stel.

1659

The first wine was produced at the Cape. Van Riebeeck wrote in his diary on 02 February: "Today, praise be to god, wine was made for the first time from Cape grapes."

1657

The DEIC released 49 officers who became South Africa’s first free burghers. Each was given a small land grant to farm.

1655-56

The first vines were imported from France, the Rhineland and Spain and successfully planted in the Company’s gardens.

1652

The Dutch East India Company (DEIC) set up a refreshment station at the Cape of Good Hope under the command of Jan van Riebeeck.