A lot of hard work is going to producing great South African wine and then promoting it. The hard work can be found at all levels from brands and estate to regions and the national wine industry. It is therefore good to see recognition of the effort.
Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, Maria Hunt had this to say in an article about South African wine: “(South Africa) is polishing its reputation for an impressive range of wines that are long on quality and affordability.
“South African winemakers are producing notable Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. These South African selections are finally starting to break through onto Bay Area wine lists at such diverse spots as Eos Wine Bar and Gary Danko.”
Quoting co-owner of Bin 38, Don Davis, Hunt writes that the relatively young clientele, mostly aged 21 to 40, is open to varietals from new regions. “That’s a big change from my parents’ generation who want their Kendall Jackson or Rombauer, or whatever they want, and the last thing they’d be interested in trying is a Chenin Blanc from South Africa,” Davis said.
“Overall, South Africa exported a respectable 1.5 million cases to the United States in 2009, down slightly from the previous year, says Rory Callahan, the U.S. representative for Wines of South Africa. The number had been growing steadily, but these days flat is the new up.
“As is the case across the industry, South African wines that retail between $8 and $16 are moving most briskly. At K & L Wine Merchants, shoppers are flocking to 2008 Goats Do Roam, a familiar $8 Rhone-style blend; 2009 Neil Ellis’ $9 Sincerely Sauvignon Blanc and Graham Beck’s $15 sparkling wines.
“We’re getting customers who know South African wines and some people who are a bit more adventurous,” says John Majeski, the store’s South African wine specialist. “I’m pretty confident over the next couple years it will pick up even more.”