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South Africa Possibility
Possibility Abounds With South African Portfolio
Robertson Chenin Blanc BottleAs with many of us that buy, sell, or trade wine, we put our faith in publications that have built their reputation naming the next trend. In fact, not only have their tions been built, but also those whose management puts faith in the words pages. Wine Spectator is just one of those trusted institutions: one that names coming trends, calls them out, and covers them as they soar.

September 2013’s edition of Wine Spectator calls out South African wines as relevant and notable on the wine landscape. The coverage also remarks on a number of South African scenic stops, not unlike the Cape of Good Hope.

At Imperial Beverage, we agree. We believe that South African wines are worthy adversaries to the old reliable. That these offerings are something special, unique, and that the individuality you’ll find in the glass will surprise you.

As a category, South African wines are a surprising leader. Even despite urging from our sales force (with the buying South African), this kind of purchase can be a stretch for the most seasoned wine buyer. Disbelief? Unsure of its growth possibilities as a category for your retail location or wine list? Whatever the reason, South African Wines deserve your second look, and certainly the opening of a bottle from the Imperial Portfolio.

As a buyer, possibility abounds in our South African portfolio. Reasons are plentiful for considering adding a South African shelf to your tried-and-true lineup.

Consider:
Robertson Winery
Robertson’s Sweets Barista
Bon Cap Boudchard Finlayson
Ernst Gouws and Co. Groot Constantia
Ken Forrester
Lion’s Lair Reyneke
Ruins Rustenberg
Simonsig

Geography
South Africa is located at the southernmost region of Africa, along a 1550 mile coastline. The 25th largest country in the world, it is comparable in size to Colombia. The interior of South Africa is a vast, flat, and sparsely populated scrubland, the karoo, which is drier towards the northwest along the desert-lands of Namib. In contrast, the eastern coastline is lush and well- watered, which produces a climate similar to the tropics.

Climate
South Africa’s location at the tip of the African continent allows most wine regions to benefit from the coastal influences of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. These regions have mostly a Mediterranean climate that is marked by intense sunlight and dry heat. Winters tend to be cold and wet with potential snowfall at higher elevations. The threat of springtime frost is rare with most wine regions seeing a warm growing season between November and April.

Viticulture
South Africa has the oldest viticulture soils in the world, dating back over 500 million years. Historically, vineyards in South Africa were planted with untrellised bush vines until the 1860s when the phylloxera epidemic reached the continent, causing widespread devastation to the industry and vineyards that would take more than 20 years to recover.

In the late 20th century, more producers began to focus on quality wine propuction and adopted modern viticultural practices. Vines were planted to the vertical hedge row system and pruned to keep yield down. The lack of precipitation in many wine regions makes irrigation a necessity. Modern wine makers are developing new techniques and an understanding of the role that water stress plays in the development of quality wine grape production. Diversity of soils, matched by diversity of climate and geography, create a treasure trove of wine making possibility.


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