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The role of cultivar in Wine of Origin

All the cultivars used in South Africa belong to the Vitis vinifera species which was originally imported from Europe. Although most of the cultivars cultivated locally today were originally imported, various unique South African cultivars created by crossing varietals have been released. The best known is the red variety Pinotage, which is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. 

Approximately 82 cultivars have been approved for the production of Wines of Origin. Each cultivar has specific characteristics regarding its adaptability to the soil and climate, and the suitability of its fruit for the production of a wine with a specific style or of a specific quality. There is thus a close relationship between the cultivar, origin and the wine itself. 

The use of the name of a grape cultivar on a label is authorised in terms of the Wine of Origin Scheme and only the cultivar names attached may be used. The name of a grape cultivar may be used if 85% of the content of the wine originates from that cultivar.


Grape cultivars to which the Wine of Origin Scheme applies:

Alicante Bouschet (Henri Bouschet), Auxerrois, Barbera, Bastardo do Castello, Bastardo do Menudo, Bukettraube, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Chardonnay, Chenel, Chenin Blanc (Steen), Cinsaut (Cinsault), Clairette Blanche, Colombar (Colombard), Cornifesto, Crouchen (Riesling**; Cape Riesling; Kaapse Riesling), *Donzellinho do Castello, *Donzellinho do Gallego, Durif (Petite Syrah), Emerald Riesling, Erlihane, Fernão Pires, Furmint, Gamay Noir, Gewürtztraminer, Grachen, Graciano, Grasa de Cotnari, Grenache (Red/Rooi), Grenache Blanc (White/Wit), Grüner Veltliner, Harslevelü, Irsai Oliver (Irsay Oliver), Kerner, Malbec, Marsanne, Merlot, Meunier (Pinot Meunier), Morio Muscat (Muscat, Moscato), *Mourisco Tinto, Mourvèdre (Mataro, Monastrell, Monastrel), Müller-Thurgau, Muscat d'Alexandrie (Hanepoot, Muscat, Moscato), Muscat de Frontignan (Muscadel, Muskade, Muscat, Moscato), Muscat de Hambourg (Muscat, Moscato), Muscat Ottonel (Muscat, Moscato), Nebbiolo, Nouvelle, *Olasz, Palomino (White French; Fransdruif), Petit Verdot (Verdot), Pinotage, Pinot Blanc (Weissburgunder), Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio), Pinot Noir, Pontak (Teinturier male), Riesling*** (Rhine Riesling; Ryn Riesling; Weisser Riesling), Roobernet, Rousanne, Ruby Cabernet, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc (Blanc Fumé), Schönburger, Sémillon (Groendruif), Shiraz (Syrah), Souzào, Sultana (Sultanina; Thompson's Seedless), Sylvaner, Tannat, Tempranillo (Tinta Roriz), Therona, *Tinta Amarella (Tinta Amarela; Trincadeira; Trincandeira Preta), Tinta Barocca, Tinta Francisca, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Ugni blanc (Trebbiano), Verdelho, Viognier, Viura, Weisser Riesling (Rhine Riesling; Ryn Riesling), Zanthe Korinthe, Zinfandel (Primitivo)

**This name (Riesling) may only be used for wine produced from the Crouchen grape cultivar until, and inclusive of, the 2009 grape harvest.

***This name (Riesling) may only be used for wine produced from the Weisser Riesling/ Rhine Riesling grape cultivar as from the 2010 grape harvest.