This is my third visit to South Africa – a country which is so beautiful, so fascinating, dynamic, and sad at the same time. For me it’s the archetypal example of how politics can completely shape the way a wine industry functions, even down to the styles of wines it produces. (Anyone who wants to pursue this notion can read the final chapter of my book ‘Wine and Society’.) This time I was going to an academic conference at Stellenbosch University, and took the opportunity to catch up with a few friends as well. I’m conscious that this blog post may seem a bit negative. I ought to say that this is one of the most exciting places to make wine in the world at present, the people are great, there is a sense of vinous dynamism and some of what I drink from South Africa (especially the whites – also some cinsaults) are stimulating and enjoyable. I tell my students that if I was 20 years younger I’d be inclined to move there. Maybe, though, I’ll blog one day about pinotage, which is something else entirely!
Find out more about my 2019 trip to South Africa here: