The Magazine of Ethiopian Airlines
Commerce + Capital

A New Wave for South African Wine

The business of boutique wine is booming
at the tip of the continent.

In recent years, European wine-lovers might have esteemed vintages from South Africa as bottom-shelf bargains — an opinion rooted in some fact, given that South African wine (and grape) prices have historically hovered below the averages of major wine-producing regions. Yet thanks to groups like the Old Vine Project, which works to protect still-promising old vines that might otherwise get pulled, and a crop of rule-bending vintners, the price — and potential — of South Africa’s wines is on the rise. Meet a few of the winemakers shaking up the scene.


▲ Ryan Mostert & Samantha Suddons: Silwervis, Terracura and Smiley wines

Known for their fanatic and experimental approach to winemaking, this couple has been gaining cred for producing some of the most compelling sips to come out of the Swartland, from quirky blends to single-vineyard vintages.


▲ John and Tasha Seccombe: Thorne & Daughters

Sourcing grapes from heritage vineyards throughout the Western Cape, the Seccombes pursue winemaking with “old-school simplicity and a modern edge,” favoring gentle restraint over loud profiles. The couple also specializes in semillon, a grape varietal once dominant in the Cape and now making somewhat of a comeback.


▲ Pieter Walser: BLANKbottle

Walser’s approach to winemaking is nothing if not adventurous: He doesn’t shy away from one-off wines, which comprise half of his production; he designs all of his labels himself, downplaying the varietal in an attempt to promote open-mindedness; and he sourced 35 or so varieties from around 60 vineyards just last year.