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South African Wine

The roots of the South African wine industry can be traced to the explorations of the Dutch East India Company which established a supply station in what is now Cape Town and Jan van Riebeeck produced the first wine in 1659.

In 1918, growers in the Western Cape founded the Kooperatieve Wijnbouwers Vereniging van Zuid Afrika (KWV). KWV came to dominate the industry until the end of apartheid. Production quotas were abolished in the 1990s, and KWV relinquished its regulatory functions to the South African Wine Industry Trust and its producing interests to the Wijngaard Co-operative, leaving a publicly quoted marketing company. South Africa is located at the southern tip of the African continent with most wine regions located near the coastal influences of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans near the Cape Peninsula and Cape Town, including the Paarl, Stellenbosch and Constantia wine areas.

These regions have mostly a Mediterranean climate that is marked by intense sunlight and dry heat. The river regions along the Breede Valley, Olifants and Orange River are among the warmest areas and are often the location of bulk wine production and distillation. The major wine regions of South Africa are spread out over the Western and Northern Cape regions. Within this wide expanse is a vast range of climate and soil types influenced by the unique geography of the area which includes several inland mountain chains and valleys.

Yearly production among South Africa's wine regions is usually around 10 million hL which regularly puts the country among the top ten wine producing countries in the world.

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