Emerging grape cultivars in South Africa

by | Apr 20, 2020 | Article

Trusted producers of high quality clonal plant material in South Africa, Vititec, has identified five emerging cultivars that has the potential to flourish amidst South Africa’s climatic conditions and soil types. Grape producers are encouraged to purchase and plant these imported grape varieties and expand their wine repertoire.



Alvarinho (Origin: Spain). Production: Alvarinho has medium vigour. It’s unproductive and requires long pruning. It’s suitable for acid-, granite- and sandy soils. Wine potential: Alvarinho has good aromatic intensity as a result of high levels of terpenes and thiols. Primary flavours are lemon, lime, pear and grapefruit. Plantings: Spain – 2 430 ha | South Africa – 80 155 vines

Marselan (Origin: France – cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache). Production: Marselan can be planted in all soil types, from cold, moist soils to dry soils. It’s moderately resistant to drought. Wine potential: Marselan produces complex, colourful and fragrant wines rich in tannins. The wines are balanced with lots of body, a good length and ability to age. It can be vinified on its own or be the base of a blend. Primary aromas are spices, raspberry, cherry, blackberry and pepper. Plantings: France – 1 356 ha | South Africa – 4 089 vines

Vermentino (Origin: Italy). Production: Performs well in warm areas with dry, less fertile soils. Vermentino has high production with large bunches. Berries are rosy at full ripeness. Wine potential: Vermentino produces quality white wines, pleasant and pale coloured. These fine balanced and full wines have interesting aromatic richness. Plantings: Italy – 4 562 ha | South Africa – 25 078 vines

Arinarnoa (Origin: France – cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat). Production: Arinarnoa has average vigour and production with large clusters and medium berry sizes. The cultivar has good drought tolerance. Wine potential: The wine is well structured (good acidity and alcohol levels) with good colour, tannins and complexity. It also has persistent flavours (similar to Cabernet Sauvignon). Plantings: France – 164 ha | South Africa – 3 464 vines

Assyrtiko (Origin: Santorini, Greece). Production: This cultivar has very good drought tolerance and is well adapted to hot and dry climatic conditions. Wine potential: Rather than an aromatic grape, Assyrtiko has more of a textural variety, emphasising extract, body and structure. It’s known for its texture, acidity and minerality. Plantings: Greece – 2 000 ha | South Africa – 1 130 vines





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