Back in the 1650’s Dutch settlers came over to South Africa, bringing with them the first grape vines to plant and harvest. At first, wine production did not take off. It wasn’t until the French Huguenots arrived, back in the 1680’s, that with their viticulture skills and knowledge that wine production became a success. By the 1900’s South Africa had over 80 million vines planted and where known around the world for their legendary dessert wine, Vin de Constance, created by South Africa’s oldest wine estate. Today, South Africa is one of the most prominent wine producing countries in the southern hemisphere. They also have about 60 appellations within the South African wine origin system. Their signature varietal is the pinotage which is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. The grape varietals, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, are the most planted grapes in South Africa. One last fun fact about South African wines is that South Africa is known for “bridging the gap” between new world and old world winemaking techniques!
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ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Michael Cavanagh began his relationship with wine working in fine dining restaurants before managing a tasting room for a mid size winery on the east coast. Katie begged him to quit his job so they could span the globe learning about wine and make the next step in their wine careers. During their travels Michael began writing about wine for print & online publications. His work has been featured in Wine Enthusiast, Centurion Magazine, Departures Magazine, The Culture-ist, Palate Press, and others. He has also written for the wine education site Corkquiz.com and has contributed to books about wineries and restaurants in Australia. Michael is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators and also continues to serve as a judge for wine competitions.