Cheers to 364 years of wine in our beautiful South Africa

If you didn’t know it, the South African wine industry celebrates a whopping 364 years of grape wine harvesting on Thursday, the 2nd of February 2023. A fantastic reason to raise a glass of your favourite tipple and toast to this significant milestone. Possibly an even better way to celebrate is to make a day of it, or weekend if you’re so inclined, and visit your favourite wine farms or a few of those you’ve had on your bucket list for forever!


“The roots of the South African wine industry can be traced to the explorations of the Dutch East India Company, which established a supply station in Cape Town. Dutch surgeon, Jan van Riebeeck, was assigned the task of managing the station and planting vineyards to produce wines and grapes. This was intended to ward off scurvy amongst sailors during their voyages along the spice route to India and the East. The first harvest was made on 2 February 1659 (as noted in Van Riebeeck's log) seven years after the landing in 1652. The man succeeding Van Riebeeck as governor of the Cape of Good Hope, Simon van der Stel, sought to improve the quality of viticulture in the region. In 1685, he purchased a large 750 hectares (1,900 acres) estate just outside Cape Town, establishing the Constantia wine estate.”

And the rest, as they say, is history…

Join the South African Wine Industry at the commemoration of the first vintage on South African soil. A virtual event on and hosted at Groot Constantia wine farm, is open to all and involves the Blessing of the Harvest, the commemoration of the wine industry’s existence, and the honouring of role players in four categories, namely Visionary Leadership (with the 1659 Visionary Leadership Award), Diversity and Transformation, Wine Advancement, and Viticulture and Wine Creation.

You can look forward to a myriad of wine birthday events across South Africa.

The beautiful One&Only hotel in Cape Town will feature wines from ten partner farms as well as delicious food and live performances by Acoustic Element, celebrating an industry that is both loved and lauded. R650 per ticket includes all wine tasting and food. A few of the wine farms included are: Hamilton Russell Vineyards and Southern Right, Thelema Mountain Vineyards and Graham Beck, to name a few.

The wine sector annually contributes R55 billion to the GDP and employs more than 265 000 people. By celebrating the birthday of the wine industry wine sales and wine tourism will receive a further boost.

So do the right thing this February - celebrate responsibly and support our growing wine industry!

And as you do so, remember these words, as recorded in Jan van Riebeeck’s diary on 2 February 1659: “Today, praise be to God, wine was made for the first time from Cape grapes.”

- Blog by Letishia Charles