Washington Post columnist, Dave McIntyre, recently published his latest column with the title, ‘South African wine may not be the next big thing, but it deserves to be’. In fact, he published a similar article 4 years ago, where he predicted that SA would be the next big trend in wine with Eastern Europe pushing just behind. He argued that, ‘twenty years after the end of apartheid and international isolation should be a golden time for wine, as new investment in vineyards and wineries begins to pay off’.
Four years later and he believes he got it back to front, with Eastern Europe currently the next big thing in the States. He still stands by his original claim though and after stumbling upon some terrific valued SA wines he believes that SA wines are once again knocking on the door.
The reason for this he believes is due to the young importers in the States who are looking to make a name for themselves and are doing so by bringing in the really interesting and intriguing wines. One of these importers, Travis Vernon, believed that ‘South Africa was underrepresented in the market, and the wines that were here did not reflect the quality of wines being produced in South Africa, we came back convinced there were wines of incredible quality for the price, but also unique, artisanal wines of intrigue’. Travis now imports and stocks local brands such as Thelema, Noble Hill, Lammershoek and Remhoogte.
Another importer, husband-and-wife team of Ian and Alyssa Wolf, also had the feeling that SA was being underrepresented in the States and the brands that were available weren’t reflecting the changes happening in the SA wine industry. Alyssa remembered, ‘you’d just see the same wines over and over with no sense of what was happening over there’. They now import wines such as Ataraxia, Babylonstoren, Eagles’ Nest, Ernst Gouws & Co and Kaapzicht.
In conclusion Dave noted that, ‘South African wine may not have become the next big thing, but our choices from that part of the world are certainly getting better’.