The most popular grapes in South Africa

In South Africa, around 100 different grape varieties are grown on an area of approximately 117,000 hectares (table grapes not included). This is quite impressive, although of course many of the varieties are grown in very small quantities.

The most planted variety in South Africa is still Chenin Blanc with 19,000 hectares.

This is still a lot but it used to be much more and the trend shows a continued decline. But today, the grape is used for very high-quality wines whereas previously it was mainly a grape for cheap wine and brandy. In recent years many producers have shown us what Chenin Blanc really is capable of in South Africa.

In second place we have Colombard, also a white grape, with 13,000 hectares.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon is in third place with 12,000 hectares followed by
  • Syrah with 11,000 ha,
  • Sauvignon Blanc with 10,000 ha,
  • Pinotage with 8,000 ha,
  • Chardonnay also with 8,000 and
  • Merlot with 6,000 ha.

So, the “signature grape” pinotage only in 6th place.

The grapes that specifically show an upward trend are Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Chardonnay.

Numbers come from

Join us on our wine tour to South Africa in February 2019 to discover more excellent wines! 

Ripe grapes

Ripe grapes ready for picking in Stellenbosch, South Africa, copyright BKWine Photography

This post is also available in: Swedish

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