The beautiful harvest

South Africa’s wine industry is booming – it’s more professional, more transparent, and gaining credibility in leaps and bounds in international markets.

A recent article in the New York Times said: “It took a little longer than the winemakers predicted in 1994. And, indeed, not everybody is up to speed. But the best wines are exceptionally good and there is every reason to expect that dozens, no, hundreds of Cape wines will improve exponentially in the years to come.”

That’s to top the success of Cape Wine 2004, the country’s biggest ever wine trade exhibition, that showcased 4000 wines over four days to more than 1200 people with a specialist interest in wine. It represented nearly all of the country’s exporters. Wines of South Africa CEO Su Birch says it was one of the most successful exhibitions yet.

“It has provided an outstanding opportunity to show international trade and media the scope and depth of our industry,” said Birch.

And despite dire predictions about wine exports on a strong rand, South African wine producers almost doubled the number of cases they sold in the £5 (R59) price category in the UK last year – selling 7.6-million nine-litre cases of wine in all price categories, an increase of 227% over 2002.

But where do you turn to if you want to get in on the boom? Fortunately the industry has several outstanding online resources to help you on your way:

Wines of South Africa
Wosa, a non-profit organisation, represents all South African producers of wine who export their products. It has over 320 exporters on its database, comprising all the major South African wine exporters. It operates independently of any producer or wholesaling company. It is also independent of any government department, although it is recognised by government as an export council.

SA Wine Industry Information & Systems
Sawis is a non-profit company under control and direction of the South African wine industry. Its main functions involve the collection, processing and dissemination of industry information and administration of the industry’s Wine of Origin system.

South African Wine.co.za
SA Wine.co.za, South Africa’s online wine information centre, is a useful resource with up-to-date news, links, resources, and contacts.

Cape Winemakers Guild
The guild aims to set a global standard for South African wines.

Agricultural Research Council
The ARC aims to promote agriculture and related sectors through research and technology development.

SA Society for Enology & Viticulture
The aim of SASEV is to serve as a forum for making the latest relevant scientific knowledge available to all South African wine and grape producers and to optimize the quality of South African grapes, wines and related products.

Cap Classique Producers Association
The CCPA was established in 1992 by a group of like-minded producers who share a passion for bottle-fermented sparkling wines, made according to the traditional method (Methode Champenoise). Their vision is to promote South Africa’s premium Methode Cap Classique wines, as well as the common interests of the producers.

Cenin Blanc Association
This website provides you with an introduction to the Chenin blanc community in South Africa.

Pinotage Association
The Pinotage Association is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of Pinotage.

SA Wine & Brandy Company
SAWB was established in 2002 by representatives of the wine producers, cellars, labour and wholesale merchants. It is a non-profit company. Its mission is to “enhance the strategic environment for the benefit of the South African wine industry’.

South African Wine Industry Trust
This website still under construction, but relevant contact details are available online.

SouthAfrica.info reporter