5 Ways to Enjoy South African Wine from Anywhere in The World

You don’t have to be in South Africa to be besotted with South African wine

For the South African wine industry, all the world is a big, glorious stage.

Diamonds are not the only sparkling international export that has found worldwide favour. Graham Beck Brut NV Method Cap Classic has affectionately been referred to as the ‘President’s Choice’. This iconic sparkling wine was served at both President Nelson Mandela’s inauguration, as well as President Barack Obama’s historic presidential win. Since the dawn of democracy, first citizens and other global citizens have marked moments in history with South African wine.

The fourth industrial revolution has made it even easier to enjoy South African wine worldwide.

Port2Port is an online retailer, founded in South Africa in 2015, that has extended their marketplace to the UK.

Port2Port co-founder, Nicolo Pudel explains, “since inception, we saw an increasing interest in South African wines from overseas customers. Unfortunately, shipping costs and delivery lead times were fundamentally prohibitive. We started considering the possibility of extending our marketplace to our overseas vendors. Today, our UK store allows British wine lovers to shop South African wines (and more) and receive it at their doorstop within 2-3 working days. Our current wine offering is fairly small (just below 200 wines) but we are growing at a rapid place.”

In time, more enthusiasts will be able to enjoy South African wines at the click of a button through the Port2Port platform. Nicolo says, “we have ongoing discussions to open in Germany, the US and possibly Australia. Our technology allows us to open a new market very quickly and without prohibitive start-up costs. Once a market us validated, can scale it through dedicated marketing initiatives and regional events and activities.”

Whether you are in Africa or beyond, there are a myriad of wonderful ways to enjoy South African wine.

5 Ways to Appreciate South African Wine

  1. Fireside

Whether you are cosying up to a fire with a good book, or watching the fire flicker over a good meal, there are various ways to enjoy Steenberg 2017 Merlot. Cellarmaster, Elunda Basson says, “Steenberg Merlot has a velvety texture enhanced by refreshing acidity. The well-integrated tannins and full structure help the wine to stand up to rich dishes with strong Mediterranean flavours.”

Chef Kerry Kilpin, who helms Steenberg’s Bitsro 1682 and Tryn, Steenberg’s new signature restaurant, recommends that diners pair Steenberg 2017 Merlot with her hearty lamb neck stuffed with ricotta and herbs.

  1. With International Cuisine

Since its initial release in 1984, Hartenberg Riesling has been renowned for its ‘dry’ style. The German ‘noble’ Riesling grape, ‘Cepage’ is known for producing wines of high acidity. Gourmands pair this wine with South African dishes, like chicken livers, or Mumbai’s popular kathi rolls.

It isn’t only Stellenbosch Riesling that pairs with a variety of dishes. La Motte Cellarmaster, Edmund Terblanche explains, “rotundone is a chemical in Syrah that smells like white pepper, in some areas it is associated with cool climates.”

The science of pairing food and wine is a delicious experience that enables you to enhance the sensory experience.

  1. With a View

Whether on safari, or seaside, South African wine lovers are spoilt with phenomenal views at home. The panoramic view of the Magaliesberg at The Palazzo Hotel in Johannesburg has been treasured by the late, great, Pavarotti and other international stars.

The Jock Safari Lodge, at the heart of the Kruger National Park provides a scenic backdrop, likewise, the luxury suites at Jordan Wine Estates are a sensational site to enjoy a glass of Chardonnay on your private verandah.

Equally as exquisite, HighTimber Restaurant in London, offers a view of the River Thames with a South African touch. The banks of the River Thames provide an unimaginable backdrop for a variety of fine, South African wine and sensational dining. Whether you are in South Africa, or abroad, the vin experience is elevated with a view.

  1. During an online experience

The Strauss & Co virtual live auction is a joint venture between wine specialist, Roland Peens of Wine Cellar fine wine merchants and sommelier, Higgo Jacobs. Hosted by online auction platform, Invaluable.com, the white glove sale enabled bidders 533 bidders from over 20 countries to bid for lots in real-time and earned a total of R2.12million.

You don’t have to have deep pockets to appreciate South African wine online. Whether you are guessing wines and varietals on Instagram Live with David Cope of Publik Wine Cellar, exploring wine with the Saxon Hotel Villas and Spas celebrated sommeliers, watching Charles Hopkins explore De Grendel wines from the tasting room in Durbanville on Facebook Live, watching a lunchtime tasting with Survivor Wines’ winemaker Ben Snyman on Facebook Live, or even participating in a Blacc Wine Study Group Master Class on Zoom, there are a multitude of ways to taste South African wine online.

Wine educator, Cathy Marston has partnered with the TOPS at Spar Wine Show to decant interactive online wine courses to support the South African wine industry.

“These courses have been designated to ensure that participants don’t have to have the actual wines – or break out the really good stuff – in order to learn something, the course material is highly informative and is presented in a very interactive format,” Cathy says.

  1. By Truly appreciating it

“The South African wine industry is incredibly multi-faceted. From classic Stellenbosch reds, to new wave natural wines, Burgundian-style Pinot Noir from the Hemel-en-Aarde region and powerful, yet elegant Swartland Syrahs. It has survived phylloxera, world wars, prohibition and more,” says Port2Port’s Nicolo Pudel.

He says that the international retail landscape is crowded, but remains optimistic about the future. He says, “it is a tough game to play, but if we keep up the good work we have been doing in South Africa, offering the type of service and selection we have here, we have the chance to earn the trust of international customers.”

As a sniff, swirl and sip are becoming easier to access outside of South Africa, there are innumerable ways to treasure South African wine. 

- By Tshepang Molisana