A bold title for a story about the South African wine industry - so be it.
The story of Africa is one of upheaval, a historical novel of success and tragedy, of disaster and despair, constantly repeating itself. Nothing new. The highly educated, religious, rich, militarily equipped Europeans have virtually all, at some point in time during the last 300 years, attempted to colonize and own a piece of Africa. But who remains? Africa remains, an unconquerable continent with its very own, ancient rhythm.
One of the deepest stains of Europe on this continent is the production of wine. From Morocco, Tunisia all the way to Sir Francis Drake's Cape, the fairest of them all.
King John (Joa) of Portugal should be awarded the modern day award for best marketeer in ancient times. His sailors returned with half their fleet, having been battered by devastating storms in False Bay (Baia Falsa), declaring that they had returned from "Cabo Tormentosa" (The Cape of Torment). The King's challenge was to find sufficient mariners who did not believe the world to be flat to continue making their way around the Cape. He simply could not afford the PR disaster, should the route around the Cape be labelled "Tormentosa". So he renamed the Cape "Cabo de Bon Esperanza" (The Cape of Good Hope). And today we celebrate just that. The firm knowledge that we produce truly world class, top quality wines and the hope that we will live long enough to convince the world and all the wine snobs out there of its quality.
We need a large dose of American self belief. Our wines are great and we simply cannot continue discounting what we do as "just" South African wine. We make truly remarkable wines which, when given the opportunity, challenge popular belief and world legends. Specifically in blind tastings, continually and habitually surprising the judges and pundits by performing incredibly well.
We as South Africans have the opportunity to drink the produce of our own vineyards at a tenth of its value. There is hardly any doubt that right here in this country we are surrounded by some of the best wines in the world, at the most affordable prices. Imagine the ceiling for French white wine at approximately R500/R1000 a bottle! Our very best, competitive white wines being priced as such - Madness! And what is the international ceiling on red wines? R30/40,000?! Crazy how many bottles of South Africa's very best we could buy for just one international legend!
We may just be living in a bubble in so many ways. Look around and take advantage, reach out and enjoy the very best we have to offer right here. Our wines are truly worldclass AND affordable.