South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere within the latitudes that are most favoured for cultivating vines and making wine. The South African climate can be likened to that of the Mediterranean.
The best wine-growing areas are at the foot of the mountains and in the valleys. The grapes have no shortage of sunshine here. The temperature in winter drops to no lower than 0- 10°C (32- 500 P). Cooling sea breezes bring the necessary moisture to the vineyards. Most rain falls between May to August.
The geology underfoot varies from granite in the foothills of the mountains to sandstone at Table Mountain, soft slate at Malmesbury, and slate and loess along the rivers. There are great differences from one vineyard to another. This makes the estate wines from the smaller domains additionally interesting. The production of wine is mainly in the hands of cooperative wineries (85% of the total) of which the most important is the KWV.
South Africa is at present the eighth largest wine-producing country with 3 % of the world production compared with France at 22%, Italy with 20 %, and Spain with almost 14%.
All wine that is exported is provided with a quality seal. Samples are taken of these wines and the wine must meet organoleptic standards, or put in other words must fulfil certain
|criteria in terms of our senses: colour, scent, taste, character, etc., but also in terms of the veracity of the declared place of origin, grape varieties, and year of the vintage. The wine also undergoes extensive chemical analysis.|