Home Industry News Releases South African Chenin Blanc Shows Tremendous Promise for Wine Industry

South African Chenin Blanc Shows Tremendous Promise for Wine Industry


47% Sales Increase in Past Five Years Indicates Strong Potential for Nation’s Most Planted Varietal

Wines of South AfricaNew York, NY, June 21, 2016 —Wines of South Africa (WOSA) USA (http://www.wosa.us) is pleased to announce participation in #DrinkChenin on June 17th, 2016- the second annual celebration of the versatile varietal. To help raise awareness for the nation’s most-planted grape, WOSA will host an exclusive #DrinkChenin #SAChenin virtual tasting of six South African Chenins for wine writers and bloggers on June 17th from 2-3:30pm EST. The tasting will be moderated by WOSA US Marketing Manager Jim Clarke, and winemakers in South Africa will present their wines. Winemakers, sommeliers and retailers in South Africa will participate in the #DrinkChenin events with special tastings at wineries, special flights at restaurants and discounts at wine stores.

In recent years, winemakers have raised the standard of Chenin Blanc across the Cape winegrowing regions. Clarke comments on the varietal’s reinvigorated presence: “It is an exciting time for South African Chenin Blanc. Our winemakers are experimenting with different techniques and practices in the vineyards and the cellar, and we’re witnessing the ageing potential of old-vine variations.”

Winemakers outside of the Cape are also enthusiastic about the potential of the varietal. Loire native Vincent Carême, winemaker of Terre Brûlée in the Swartland and Domaine Vincent Carême in the Vouvray, is passionate about making Chenin Blanc around the world and has found tremendous potential in South African plantings.

With the most Chenin Blanc plantings of any wine-producing region, and a history of plantings dating back to 1655, South Africa is the premiere source for world-class quality expressions of this celebrated grape. As of 2014, South Africa recorded 99,680 hectares of Chenin Blanc plantings, which is more than the rest of the world combined. A rigorous vine with typically high yields that can stand up well to warmer climates, Chenin Blanc is particularly suited for the wide range of terroirs found in South Africa, especially the Stellenbosch and Swartland appellations.

South African Chenin Blancs are produced in a range of styles, reflecting the versatile nature of the grape. The two primary styles are: fresh wines with vibrant white fruits, and a crisp finish; and full, rich wines with oak barrel fermentation. South Africa also boasts a range of old-vine Chenin Blancs, produced from vines over 40 years old. Many of these wines are produced in the Swartland.

As proof of the Cape’s commitment to the grape, the Chenin Blanc Association (CBA) of South Africa was formed in 2000 to promote the varietal, help producers increase quality with research and information, and ultimately make Chenin Blanc a category worthy of long-term investment. CBA Chairman Ken Forrester comments on the importance of Chenin Blanc for the South African wine industry, “We honestly believe Chenin Blanc is a fantastic driver, probably the most effective for our industry.”

About Wines of South Africa

Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is the organization representing all South African producers of wine who export their products. WOSA, which was established in its current form in 1999, has over 500 exporters on its database, comprising all the major South African wine exporters. It is constituted as a not-for-profit company and is totally independent of any producer, wholesaling company or government department but is recognized by the South African Export Council. WOSA’s mandate is to promote the export of all South African wines in key international markets including the United States.

About #DrinkChenin

#DrinkChenin day celebrates this amazing and versatile varietal with events in Portland, OR, Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, New York City, Troy, NY, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Alexandria, VA,  Arlington, VA, Charleston, Atlanta, Athens, GA, and New Orleans. And, for the first time, the event will have a global presence with events occurring in France, South Africa and beyond. The day is meant to bring Chenin Blanc to the center of the conversation and into the minds of the wine-buying public. Events range from featured pours, bottles and flights of Chenin at restaurants and wine shops and special tastings to complete Chenin takeovers of wine menus.More details and the most up to date information about #DrinkChenin events can be found at www.drinkchenin.com and on the Facebook event page at www.facebook.com/DrinkChenin.

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