South Africa Wine Exports Fall in 2022

According to recent data released by Wines of South Africa (WoSA), export volumes dropped 5% year-on-year to 368.8 million litres of wine. Sales by value declined 2.9% to ZAR9.9bn (US$577m). WoSA advised that this was due to adverse weather and supply-chain disruption.

“The recovery of exports was hampered in 2022 by various factors out of the control of our producers,” WoSA CEO Siobhan Thompson said.

WoSA pointed to an “extended period of adverse weather conditions,” which hit the shipping port of Cape Town in April. In October, industrial action by port workers caused disruptions for two weeks that impacted the port’s export capacity.

South Africa’s largest wine market is the UK, which took in 96.9 million litres of wine in 2022, a rise of 5% on the previous year. However, the total value of exports to the UK dropped by 5% to ZAR2.4bn.

Germany, South Africa’s second-biggest export market, declined by 17% in value and by 9% in volume terms. WoSA attributed the results to inflation and “an emerging culture of drinking local wines”.

Exports to China fell by 38% in volume, accompanied by a decline in value of 26%. South African wines in the market had been showing “exponential growth” but China’s zero-Covid policy hit demand, WoSA said.

WoSA CEO, Siobhan Thompson comments “On a positive note, the image of South African wine continues to grow with South African wine being awarded various top accolades and ratings in a host of competitions and professional ratings. CapeWine2022, our premier industry showcasing, proved to be a major success and attracted top buyers, influencers and importers from around the globe and we hope to see the impact of this on exports going into 2023.”

view the infographic for further information pertaining to 2022 exports.

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Wine Review: Delaire Graff – Cabernet Franc Rosé 2021

I purchased this wine at Delaire Graff  Wine Estate (South Africa) a few months ago and decided to save it for a special occasion to share with family and friends, and Christmas Day is the day!  I was also told that this is a staff favorite.

This is a wine that feels like a special occasion once I opened it and had the first aromas.  The perfect indulgence was tasting it with Delaire Graff 60% chocolate – heaven!

*2021 Delaire Graff, Cabernet Franc Rosé

Winery:     Delaire Graff

Grapes:    Cabernet Franc

Region:     South Africa / Stellenbosch

Alcohol:    13%

*According to Vivino this wine is top 2% of all wines.

Tasting Notes

Very aromatic pink salmon in colour, with a complex nose of fresh strawberries, red plums and floral notes; this character is maintained on the palate with some cassis and cotton candy through to a spicy finish.

95/100

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South African viticulturists predict a smaller 2023 harvest

South African viticulturists and producers are predicting a smaller 2023 wine grape crop following a “healthy, yet dry season.”

This is the second consecutive year the grape crop is expected to be lower than the previous year, after 2022’s challenging harvest due to the uprooting of vineyards causing a decline in the overall vineyard area.

“At this very early stage the net decrease in the estimate is mainly attributed to all our growing regions that have experienced a drier season, except for the Northern Cape which has had its own difficult environmental conditions during and after the harvest,” said Conrad Schutte, manager of Vinpro’s team of viticulturists who issue the crop estimates with the industry body SAWIS.

“Poor flowering and set in various areas, together with the uprooting of vineyards, also contributed to the decrease in our estimate for the 2023 harvest.”

In the Northern Cape, where unseasonably wet and rainy conditions are said to have characterized the season, vines budded on a minimal reserve status and from the beginning, fewer bunches were formed. Foliage also grew poorly and even stopped temporarily in some instances.

In the rest of the regions, flowering conditions were reportedly good to outstanding. Few diseases and pests occurred, but the general average rainfall was lower in most regions compared to the previous year, which will impact berry sizes, especially in the dryland regions, thus influencing the total grape production.

“The season looks promising, but a lot could change leading up to the harvest,” Schutte added.

The next crop estimate by viticulturists and producer cellars will be released in the third week of January 2023.

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Stellenbosch “Sommelier Bootcamp” Launches September

Stellenbosch Wine Routes will hold its inaugural “Sommelier Bootcamp” this September, in a bid to educate wine professionals about the region’s terroir. There will be an intensive five-day course aimed at sommeliers, hospitality professionals and wine media across South Africa with the aim is to immerse participants in the stories of the region and enlist them to help spread the word about its micro terroirs. There will also be tutored technical tastings, and site visits with producers and experts.  Bootcamp attendees will complete a practical exam at the end of the course to earn their Stellenbosch Ambassador’s pin.

“It’s our job to tell people the story and create a value proposition for someone or for something [like Stellenbosch wine],” said Spencer Fondaumiere, chair of the South African Sommeliers Association. “Marketing terroir will increase price points and value.”

“There are so many wine brands,” said Thomas Webb of Stellenbosch wine producer Thelema. “We need to do everything we can to promote our wines. And our terroir is the most obvious one. It’s important to look at the wards of Stellenbosch and promote them. The more we look at the smaller level, the more we push up the whole region and country. Now is definitely the time for specialisation.”

“Quite frankly that information isn’t out there,” said Fondaumiere. “There’s no one beating the drum for the different wards in Stellenbosch and saying this is what we’re good at and this is what to expect. If you’re trying to gain information, there’s not much, other than lived experiences which may or may not be correct.”

The bootcamp aims to create a single, relatable story on the region’s typicity. “Stellenbosch is a recognised quality brand in key markets, but it is much more exciting to learn about the region in an immersive experience,” said Elmarie Rabe of Stellenbosch Wine Routes.

Here is the website to apply somm.wineroute.co.za; the deadline is September 2nd, 2022 and a second bootcamp is planned for November.

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Delaire Graff Estate, South Africa – Part ll Wine Tasting

History
The estate was founded in 1679 by Simon van der Stel. Simon brought with him a sound knowledge of viticulture. In 1982 John Platter (wine writer) purchased the estate which was then known as Avontuur. Looking at the magnificent view, John decided to rename the wine farm Delaire Estate, meaning “From the Sky”. Laurence Graff, Chairman of Graff Diamonds International acquired the estate in 2003 and vowed to transform it into South Africa’s most desirable art, hospitality and wine destination. In just three years the estate was rated one of the top ten wine producers in South Africa.

The Estate
The estate currently owns 20 hectares of vineyards which are located on the slopes of Botmaskop Mountain. The vines benefit from a north-facing aspect as well as high-altitude and maritime influences. Winemaker Morné Vrey produces excellent red blends dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, with impressive single block Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, a 100% Cabernet Franc rosé, and some supremely elegant vintages.

It is interesting to note that Delaire Graff Estate wines rank among the most prestigious in the Southern Hemisphere, where their cutting-edge 450-ton gravity-fed Estate winery is a celebration of both old and new.

After a lengthy tour of the “Owner’s Villa” we headed to the main building walking through breathtaking landscaped gardens, stunning sculptures, and art.  It’s interesting to note that the gardens have over 350 indigenous plants, exotic plants and flowers.

Once inside I had to ask …. for a brief visit to the Graff Diamonds store as it begs for further investigation. Once inside (no photos allowed) it was certainly the ultimate experience — so many enticing pieces and iconic stones were on display. I felt like I was inside a beautifully designed jewelry box.

After a twenty-minute conversation with the Assistant Manager on Graff Diamond’s history, we headed off to the Delaire Graff Tasting Room.

On route, we came across Laurence Graff’s recent acquisition the original of Vladimir Tretchikoff’s ‘Chinese Girl’, which is currently displayed at the entrance of the winery. This is said to be one of the most recognizable paintings in the world.

Delaire Graff Tasting Room
The Tasting Room offers incredible mountain and vineyard views. The sommeliers were quite knowledgeable on South African wines, and their service was quite intuitive – this is certainly hospitality at its best!

Delaire Graff Estate Wines Tasted

Delaire Graff Estate ‘Sunrise’ Brut MCC 

The Backstory
This wine was named after the magnificent 118.08 carat “Delaire Sunrise Diamond” the largest square emerald cut fancy vivid yellow diamond in the world.

Alcohol: 12.5%
Method: Traditional Method
Dosage: Brut
Blend: 58% Chenin Blanc, 34% Chardonnay & 8% Cabernet Franc

Tasting Notes
Light yellow gold in colour; a stream of fine and persistent bubbles; with green apple and melon dominating the nose; the palate shows finesse and intensity, some citrus flavours [lemon and grapefruit] along with toasty brioche; zesty and fresh – elegantly balanced; lovely long yeasty citrus finish.

The Delaire Graff Sunrise Brut MCC spoils the eye with its radiant, golden colour and unquestionably lives up to its name!
92/100

2022 Delaire Graff Estate Rose Cabernet Franc

The Backstory
This unique Rosé is handpicked and gently pressed to obtain the perfect, subtle salmon pink hue.  This wine is also a Delaire Graff Estate employee favorite.

Alcohol: 13.5%
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Franc

Tasting Notes
Medium-intensity salmon in color; has aromas of strawberry, red plum, dark berries with a hint of candy floss; a creamy and structured palate with layered flavours of fresh strawberry, red berries, cassis, and a seductive spicy finish.
92/100

2021 Delaire Graff Banghoek Reserve Chardonnay (Estate)

Backstory
Winemaker Morné Vrey is committed to meticulous vineyard management.  The grapes are handpicked, whole bunch pressed, fermented, and matured in small French oak barrels for 10 months.

Alcohol: 13.6%
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay

Tasting Notes
The wine is a buttery yellow hue; complex aromas of citrus, peaches, concomitant spice, vanilla and salted butter; The palate repeats the aromas with to a long lingering finish.
94/100

2019 Delaire Graff Estate Banghoek Reserve Merlot

Backstory
These wines come from the oldest vineyards on the Estate.  These wines are a raconteur weaving the tale of the property’s humble beginnings. Expressions of the site’s splendor, with its rich earthiness and bountiful fruit. These Single Vineyard wines are also handpicked and are matured in 80% new French oak for 16 months.  Vinification – extensive sorting of the grapes formed part of the quality management process. The grapes were de-stemmed only, not crushed, to ensure gentle extraction of fruit flavours.

Alcohol: 14.5 %
Varietal: 100% Merlot

Tasting Notes:
Firm and well balanced, this Merlot is characterized by spice, dark plum and dark red berry flavours and aromas whilst silky, ripe tannins with a long and lingering finish; a luxurious elegant wine.
93/100

Conclusion
What an extraordinary experience to sip Delaire Graff terroir-specific award-winning wines with these stunning views of the Winelands and being surrounded by Laurence Graff’s personal art collection.

From Laurence Graff’s own words

“Delaire means ‘from the sky’, and the wines we craft here are an invitation to savour this unique piece of heaven and earth in Stellenbosch.”
Laurence Graff

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