2019 South Africa Special Report


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This is my seventh annual report about the South African wine scene and I remain as enthusiastic and positive as ever. The sector has many problems (which I discuss in the report), but I’m still convinced that the best Cape wines are world class and represent outstanding value for money. Ever creative, ever evolving, the wine industry continues to surprise and delight me. I tasted wines from at least 20 new producers this year and the quality was mostly good to excellent.

More than in most countries, the past informs the present in South Africa. And yet it remains a forward-looking place whose best days are ahead of it. As Lukas Wentzel of Groote Post told me over lunch in Darling, “You can’t change what happened before you were born, but you can change the future.” I’ll raise a glass of Cape wine to that.

This year’s report runs to over 280 pages and contains ·

  • My Top wines of the year (white, red, rosé, sweet, fortified and sparkling)
  • Scores for 2,200 wines, with retail prices in South African Rand, ranging from R33 to R4,000;
  • Over 1,440 tasting notes
  • Evocative photos of the winelands and winemakers
  • My controversial 2019 classification of the 250 best South African wineries