South Africa Wine Birthday Date in the current year: February 2, 2024

South Africa Wine Birthday The birthday of the South African wine industry is celebrated on February 2 because the first wine was produced from South African grapes on this day in 1659. So raise a glass of South African wine and drink to the rich wine heritage of South Africa.

The history of the South African wine industry dates back to the 17th century, when the Dutch East India Company established a halfway station for ships traveling to and from Asia in what is now Cape Town. It was managed by Jan van Riebeeck who, among over things, oversaw the introduction of various plants including grapes.

Vineyards were planted in the Dutch Cape Colony shortly after van Riebeeck’s arrival in 1652, and the first harvest was gathered on February 2, 1659, according to an entry in van Riebeeck’s diary saying, “Today, praise be to God, wine was made for the first time from Cape grapes.” Riebeeck’s successor, Simon van der Stel, sought to further develop viticulture in the colony.

Since its inception, the South African wine industry has had its ups and downs. It received very little international attention for most of the 20th century, in no small part due to boycotts of South African products initiated by the Anti-Apartheid Movement. The situation began to change after the end of Apartheid in the 1990s, which opened the international market for South African wines.

Wines produced in South Africa are classified as New World wines, but the country’s wine-making traditions have been greatly influenced by Old World techniques. The top wine grape varieties grown in South Africa include Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Colombard, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinotage, and Merlot.

As of 2014, South Africa was one of the world’s top ten wine-producing countries, alongside Italy, Spain, France, the United States, China, Argentina, Chile, Australia, and Germany. However, the South African wine industry is primarily focused on quality over quantity.

Each February, members of the South African wine industry (wine producers, restaurateurs, sommeliers, distributors and retailers, collectors, tourism organizations) celebrate its birthday with the Wine Harvest Commemorative Event that everyone is welcome to join regardless or whether they are a wine connoisseur or an occasional drinker. The event includes the Blessing of the Harvest, an awards ceremony to recognize the contributions of key industry players, and other activities. In addition, a variety of celebratory events are held across South Africa and abroad. They include wine tastings, workshops, wine-making demonstrations, special offers and promotions, and more.

You can celebrate the birthday of South African wines by attending one of these live events, joining the official virtual celebration at, learning more about the history of South Africa’s wine industry, buying a bottle of South African wine, attending a wine tasting or a wine and food pairing class, going out to a restaurant or a wine bar that serves South African wines, and spreading the word on social media with the hashtag #HappyBirthdaySAWine.

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South Africa wine birthday, observances in South Africa, South African wines, South African wine industry, Jan van Riebeeck