Cape Wine Attracting Unprecedented Interest As Positive Trends In South African Wine Industry Continue To Build

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Excellent 2015 Harvest, New Investments and Exciting Marketing Initiatives, All Positive Indicators For South African Wine Industry

Cape Wine, South Africa’s triennial wine fair, takes place this September in Cape Town and is attracting unprecedented attention, evidenced by increased participation and pre-registration numbers. According to Wines of South Africa (WOSA) CEO Siobhan Thompson, “The wave of optimism around the quality of South African wines will only continue to expand, and we’re excited to be able to showcase this great vintage [2015] during our forthcoming trade show, Cape Wine, this September.” The three-day wine event is the biggest wine show in the southern hemisphere, and includes of a series of insightful speakers, tastings, and seminars. More details are available from http://www.capewine2015.com, where delegates can also register for the exhibition.

Leading up to preparations for Cape Wine, South African winemakers had an exciting, and early, start to the year. 2015 harvest reports described it as one of the earliest and driest in decades, with smaller yields promising exceptional wines. Commenting on the good harvest, Ms. Thompson says, “The wines from our 2015 harvest are set to cement South Africa’s position as the most exciting wine producer in the world.” Producers have described the crop as one of the healthiest in years, and positive for growers throughout the country. 2015 has also seen the expansion of investments from major industry players such as Charles Banks and the Jackson Family with wineries like Fable Mountain Vineyards (Terroir Selections) and Capensis (Spire Collection). Outside investments such as these further attest to the potential of the nation’s wines, and are a strong predictor of growth to come.

Since the end of apartheid, the revival of old-vine vineyards (some with vines 60, 80 or even 100 years old), a commitment to sustainable agriculture (with 95% of producers certified), and advances in both viticultural and winemaking techniques have made South African a leader among New World wine-producing countries. Furthermore, the Cape’s diverse terroir, exposures, and growing conditions has allowed the Cape to produce a wide range of styles and varietals. South Africa’s Wine of Origin (WO) system includes 60 different appellations, with Stellenbosch, Constantia, Hemel-en-Aarde, and the Swartland being some of the most well-known. The most widely planted varieties are Chenin Blanc (South Africa has the most plantings in the world), Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc.

To complement the industry’s advances, WOSA is spreading the word via masterclasses for the trade as well as a presence at key industry events across the U.S., including TexSom (Dallas, August 8-10), the Society of Wine Educators Conference (New Orleans, August 12-14), and the Wineblogger’s Conference (August 13-16th). “We’re excited to introduce the industry to some wines they might not expect to find in South Africa, says U.S. Marketing Manager, Jim Clarke, “such as cool-climate Pinot Noirs and creative white blends.”

As the 8th largest producer of wine in the world, South Africa’s more than 500 cellars now export 417 million liters of wine annually. "The spotlight on South Africa's wine industry has never been brighter,” says Ms. Thompson, “thanks to the steady stream of positive attention elicited globally by many of the country's dynamic and innovative winemakers. Praise for our wines and our imaginative approach to eco and socially sustainable issues continues to mount, the result of years of extremely hard work that's starting to really bear fruit for us now.” As Ms. Thompson mentions, social responsibility has remained an important goal throughout the industry. Producers are enabling a new generation of black winemakers via scholarships and training programs; trusts empowering workers from previously disadvantaged groups have led to the creation of a number of black-owned brands. South Africa’s innovative and collaborative wine industry is working hard to create a new national identity by sharing resources and information.

WOSA CEO Siobhan Thompson and US Marketing Manager Jim Clarke are available for interviews, and can speak on a variety of topics including export trends, key varietals and styles in South Africa, and Cape Wine 2015.

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Juliana Colangelo

Kelly Jones
@alessandroboga
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