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Production Areas

South Africa has one of the most well established wine frameworks within the New World wine producing countries regarding wine producing appellations, even though it is also one of the most intricate.

Wine in South Africa is classified according to cultivar, area of production and vintage.

Wine of Origin

The Wine Of Origin Scheme classification as it is known, was established in 1973, and is made up of 'geographical units', 'regions', 'districts', 'wards' and 'single vineyards'. These areas can all be described as production units and vary in size from the largest, a geographical unit, to a ward and then single vineyard, the smallest.

Each unit has to be demarcated and described by legislation before it is recognised and only then can it be used on a label. The geographical units are Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo and recently added, Free State.

The various regions are made up of districts and wards. The districts are geographical demarcations and the wards are viticulture areas, not always part of a district.

Some 123 000 hectares are being utilised for growing vines with more than 340 million vines planted. Stellenbosch is the largest production area followed closely by Paarl, both of which are in the country’s oldest production area, the Western Cape’s Coastal Region. Most of South Africa’s vineyards are to be found in the Western Cape near the coast. This area, where the fynbos and renosterveld vegetation flourish, has an average annual rainfall of about 1 000mm per year.

There are six regions in the geographical unit of the Western Cape – Breede River Valley, Cape South Coast, Coastal Region, Klein Karoo, Olifants River and Boberg (for use in respect of fortified wines from Paarl, Franschhoek, Wellington and Tulbagh), which encompass 27 diverse districts and some 69 smaller wards. Another four geographical units exist: KwaZulu-Natal; Northern Cape (which includes the production areas Hartswater (ward), Douglas (district), Central Orange River (ward), Rietrivier FS (ward) and Sutherland Karoo (district)); Eastern Cape, which includes the production area St Francis Bay (ward), Limpopo and Free State.

Western Cape

Northern Cape

Eastern Cape

Kwa-Zulu Natal

Limpopo

Free State