Blog: Andy MortonCape Wine - Day One - Cape of Good Hope

Andy Morton | 14 September 2015

just-drinks is in South Africa for the Cape Wine exhibition this week, courtesy of Wines of South Africa (WOSA).

The show doesn't start until tomorrow, but WOSA has a packed schedule for its guests and has already taken us to a few meet-and-greets with local producers. And, while it may only be day one of the trip, everyone I've spoken to appears particularly optimistic about this year's Cape Wine. The feeling is that more international buyers than usual will be pitching up in town, attracted by South Africa's growing reputation for quality wine.

For some, this burgeoning distinction is being built by a new generation of producers who have respun the traditional South African styles by bringing a sense of innovation and fun to them. The makers of sparkling Chenin Blancs and unorthodox Pinotages are showing the world that South Africa's wine industry is trying new things, and it seems that people here believe that can only be a good thing. Especially if it helps the country escape its dyed-in-the-wool reputation for cheap-and-cheerful wines.

It's not all good news, however. The sharp enthusiasm for Cape Wine has been blunted somewhat by a dry winter that has seen just a fraction of the expected rainfall. The cause has been a freakish double El Niño, which started in March but - according to the weathermen - has yet to peak, meaning rainfall patterns are unlikely to catch up and the vines could remain parched. To make matters worse, there have been patches of rain in the past couple of weeks, which, according to one Stellenbosch grower I spoke to, can rot the vines.

But, wine growers here in the Cape have seen worse, and anyway, it's still too early to fret about grapes that right now are barely budding. For the next week, then, the focus is on past harvests, and the wine growers and blenders will be busy on the trade show floor trying to sell them to the world.

For a full round-up of just-drinks' coverage of Cape Wine 2015, click here.

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