South Africa: Viticulture

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

The stark contrast between the traditional and the progressive in South African viticulture, often visible on adjoining farms, reflects the disparate objectives of growers. The bulk grape-farmer delivering to one of the less progressive co-operatives strives for quantity; the grower bottling his own crop knows quantity can be the enemy of quality. From the second half of the 20th century, trellising, low vine density, and chemical pest and weed control became common features of the South African viticultural landscape. However, in this century closer planting, more restrained organic and biological pest controls, careful clonal selection, painstaking soil preparation that can involve additions of over 20 tons of lime per hectare to achieve higher ph, and pruning for lower yields have become the norm on many properties.