Wine in Africa has come a long way. The Cape wine growing region has become particularly famous throughout the world. A range of varietals have become a popular and important beverage to accompany and enhances a wide range cuisine. The climate and conditions under which grapes are grown result in varied and, year-on-year, variable products.
Pinotage is a single grape varietal cloned from Hermitage and Pinot noir which are unique to South Africa.
The fermentation process itself and improvements attained with proper aging, sometimes for several decades or more, will further increase variation. However, variety is not in itself a sought-after quality for large producers of table wine or more affordable wines. For large volume wine producers marketing main stream wine brands, consistency is more important than distinction and their producers try to hide any hint of climatically underperforming harvest years by blending harvests of various years and vineyards, pasteurizing the grape juice in order to kill indigenous yeasts (after which "choice" cultivated yeasts are reinserted), sometimes using flavour additives to enhance the wine.
Wine is usually made from one or more varieties of the European grape species Vitis vinifera. When one of these varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Stein, for example, is used as the predominant grape (usually defined by law as a minimum of 75 or 85 %) the result is a varietal as opposed to a blended wine. Blended wines are in no way inferior to varietal wines and indeed some of Africa’s most valued and expensive wines from the Constantia, Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Paarl regions, are a blend of several grape varieties of the same vintage.
The taste of a wine depends not only on the grape species and varietal blend but also on the ground and climate (known as terroir) where it is cultivated. Historically, wines have been known by names reflecting their origin, and sometimes style like the Bordeauxs and Medoc methods of blending.
Wines may be classified by year of the grape harvest (vintage). Vintage wines are generally made from grapes of a single year's harvest, and are dated as such. These wines often improve in flavour as they age and wine enthusiasts will occasionally save bottles of a favourite vintage wine to enjoy in a few years' time. Superior vintages from reputable producers and regions, will often fetch much higher prices than their average vintages. Some vintage wines are only made in better-than-average years. Some wines are made to be drunk immediately and are not labeled with a vintage year.
Wines may also be classified by vinification methods. These include classifications
such as sparkling, still, fortified, rosé, and blush. The colour
of wine is not determined by the juice of the grape, which is almost always
clear, but rather it is determined by the presence or absence of the grape
skin during fermentation. South Africa is better known for its red wines,
however the white wines are making positive ground in the international