South Africa has always been regarded as a New World wine producing region, despite the fact that the first grapes were pressed for winemaking in 1659. The Modern South African wine industry as we know it today could be said to be little over a decade old; apartheid rule isolated the country from international trading for decades and there have been remarkable developments and a rapid catch up since the advent of democracy in 1994. Between1995 to 1997 alone, exports increased by 335%.
There are now over 600 wine producers in South Africa, a figure that has doubled since 2000, and the country is now the ninth largest producer of wines worldwide. Empowerment has also been a key element in the development and today over 100,000 people from historically disadvantaged groups are now employed in the wine industry.