Adi Badenhorst's new venture, the Saldanha Wine & Spirits Company, was the venue for the 2023 annual Swartland Party

What is the most popular wine in South Africa?

Written by Clifford Roberts; Photography Johan Viljoen

We’re a leading producer of wine in the world, but what is the most popular wine in South Africa? You’ll get many answers to this question. You’ll probably get more questions too. We think there’s only really one proper response you could possibly give when deciding on an overall favourite.

To determine the most popular wine in South Africa, you would first need to clarify your pursuit. Are you seeking an answer that corresponds to the winery that sells the most wine across the country? Perhaps you’re only interested in volumes at a particular price point, or style, like red or white. What about sparkling wine? Should this be included too? Ultimately, the most popular wine in South Africa is determined by just one characteristic: your own personal enjoyment.

The overall favourite wine

The overall favourite wine may be found in bottle that provides the most satisfying experience on aroma, taste, story and experience, at a given moment.

Here we would like to offer the most recent Swartland Beach Party as an example. Every year in November, members of the Swartland Wine and Olive Route host a festive wine event. This year, they headed for Saldanha Bay, to a rustic sea-view venue.

The most popular wine is related to experience

While the Swartland is known for its exceptional wines, it was its reputation for independent-minded winemakers that made this location just perfect. Some 28 wineries poured their wines for tasting. There were also two special masterclasses on Swartland Chenin Blanc, as well as street-style food like fresh mussels, sosaties and slap chips; live music; and cocktails.

By late afternoon, a DJ had feet tapping and so to the dance floor everyone went!

How does this tie in with our quest to find the most popular wine in South Africa? The Swartland Seaside Party was sold out, and if you’d asked anyone there about their favourite wine, the answer most certainly would have pointed to the Swartland.

What’s a seaside party without a braai? Local suppliers laid on a small feast to accompany the wines.

Jorrie Du Plessis (ex Lammershoek and now with AA Badenhorst Family Wines).  Far right is AA Badenhorst Family Wines’ Adi Badenhorst.

 A Chenin Blanc masterclass gave visitors the chance to taste seven top-notch wines from the Swartland.

Chris Mullineux pours the Mullineux Roundstone Schist Chenin Blanc 2023, made with grapes from Riebeeksrivier in the Swartland.

Sharing the love: Philip Hanekom of Schenkfontein chats to party guests.

A wide selection of wines by David & Nadia was on show at the event, including the single vineyard Hoë-Steen Chenin Blanc made from iron-rich clay soils of the Malmesbury Hills district.  Doing the honours in the photograph is David Sadie.

Tim Hillock (with mic) is one of the Swartland’s relative newcomer winemakers and spoke at the event about his wine, La Cosmica 2023
Also presenting their wines to visitors were Johan (Stompie) Meyer of Platteklip Vineyards (far right) and, Brandon Wightman (second from right) of Wightman & Sons.
Just a smidge: Winemaker Paul Jordaan of Sadie Family Wines pours a glass at the winery stand.
Also among the winemakers present were, from right, Johan Gerber of Org de Rac and en Thinus Krüger of Fram Wines.
The inimitable Billy Hughes of Nativo – Hughes Family Wines made an appearance too.
Kloovenburg’s Johan McKinnon represented the winery in Riebeek Kasteel.
Callie Louw of Porseleinberg (left) isn’t just a winemaker, but also the foodie behind Southern Smoke House. Some of his delicacies were on offer at the party too.
This group of wine lovers from KwaZulu-Natal flew down specially for the Seaside Party.
Flying the colours for his wines was winemaker Donovan Rall.

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