|South African wine needs to rejuvenate image, says top winemaker|
|Written by Gemma McKenna|
|Thursday, 14 June 2012 09:53|
We need to “jack up brand South Africa” in the UK, says Vergelegen’s winemaker, who believes Cabernet Sauvignon should be the country’s flagship grape.
Tooth said that South Africa’s tiny share of the above £8 wine market was a sad “indictment” of its efforts. Over £8 accounts for 2.6% of the total market, and South Africa makes up only 3-4% of that - way behind France, New Zealand and Australia.”
He said in order to boost its image South Africa needs to “influence the influencers” and demonstrate how good value South African wine is compared to quality equivalents from other countries.
André van Rensburg, winemaker at Stellenbosch’s Vergelegen winery, told Harpers: “Without a doubt Cabernet Sauvignon is the most royal of grape varieties- there’s not a nanosecond’s hesitation in my mind. You’ve just got to find the right soils for it.”
Since 1998 van Rensburg has been gradually increasing the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in his Reserve blends. The 2010 is 95% Cabernet. “2010 is as adventurous as I’ve been able to get,” he added. He likens the older Cabernet vines to “the legs of a rugby player”.
Tooth added: “South Africa’s reds are 80% Cabernet Sauvignon driven. Coming after the identity crisis over Pinotage, it’s the one grape that South Africa does really well.”