The relative popularity of South Africa's leading grape varietals and some blends are discussed from the time vitis vinifera was introduced to the Cape of Good Hope in the 1650's to the present day. The word ‘Cultivar’ which is sometimes used, is the South African word meaning cultivated variety. These cultivars were almost all French, Spanish and German because of those countries relative proximity to Holland from whence the early settlers had come. Most of the grapes were given local names, and their European identities were, in many cases, not established until the 20th century; during which period South Africa's own hybrid Pinotage was produced. The effects of the sanctions era, and its lifting are examined, and the reasons for popularity changes explored. Some conclusion is attempted relating in part, but by no means wholly, to fashion.
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