Platter’s South African Wine Guide 2019 edition, by Philip van Zyl
The following editorial is taken from Platter’s South African Wine Guide 2019 edition by Philip van Zyl.
Some Trends in South African Wine
It gets better and better at the top end of Cape wine. The revolution in winemaking, now increasingly marked by attention to site and viticulture, continues to develop, and to attract the admiration of the wine-drinking world. But the split between the two ends of the South African wine industry continues to widen: at one extreme is a tiny (though expanding) elite producing fine wine to great local and international applause; at the other, bulk-producers selling at rock-bottom prices that contribute to worries about the financial viability of swathes of the industry. For some years, many grapegrowers have endured costs rising much more rapidly than their income, it is notable, however, that some farmers oriented to providing fruit to the co-ops, big merchants and occasional private cellars are seeking other ways out. Some are working with producers who can pay high prices for special parcels of grapes; others are bottling their own wines from specially tended vineyards; some are doing all of this and also working collaboratively to raise their game and their income. Breedekloof Makers is a good example: various wineries from that mostly bulk-producing region are lifting their collective image through premium bottlings of chenin blanc - a grape which the industry rockstars have made ever more fashionable. Less focused, but also proliferating, are groupings of established wineries aiming to share costs and widen their impact in marketing their products, especially overseas. Generally they are not regional, but based on a shared stylistic approach, or a perceived shared market. Further, going beyond the wine routes, some areas are combining an enrichment of the local wine culture with marketing via festivals. These could be based on a signature grape variety - like pinot noir in the Hemel-en-Aarde, chardonnay in Elgin. There are also producer groups based on style (port and MCC sparkling for example) or grape variety (chenin blanc, sauvignon blanc, pinotage), working to advance both technical capacity as well as image - the latter primarily via competitions. Stellenbosch producers of cabernet sauvignon wines have recently combined varietal and regional criteria for the Stellenbosch Cabernet Collective. Various strategies, then, based on an increasingly important recognition: that working together to achieve common goals is vital. There's still plenty of good value on local shelves. But buyers of South African wine at the top end will have noted that the cost of the most admired bottles (and of many ambitious new entrants, of which there never seems to be a shortage) has been rising implacably in recent years. The sustainability of parts of that trend must also be questionable: just how many beautifully and fascinatingly made chenin blancs and cinsauts off lovingly nurtured old vines can the market absorb at R200 and more (often much more)? The 'ultra-premium' category identified by the leading industry analyst Nielsen is of red wines selling for R125 or more, and whites over R96. It represents less than 2% of the local wine market-well over 50% of bottled wine sells to wine-drinkers for under R40 per bottle. We must remember when admiring the wines rating highest in this Guide that (it's surely safe to hazard) they are generally in that top 2%, and quite possibly most are in the top 1% by price. [...]
This is an excerpt from: Platter’s South African Wine Guide 2019 edition, by Philip van Zyl
Title: Platter’s by Diners Club South African Wine Guide 2019
Subtitle: The Guide to cellars, vineyards, winemakers, restaurants and accommodation
Editor: Philip van Zyl
Publisher: Jean-Pierre Rossouw
Publisher: John Platter SA Wineguide (Pty) Ltd
39th edition, Hermanus, South Africa 2019
ISBN 9780987004680 / ISBN 978-0-9870046-8-0
Hardcover, 11 x 20 cm, 664 pages, several map insets, colour photos and tables, text: English
In Verbindung stehende Artikel
van Zyl, Philip im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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