Wine tasting in Johannesburg: Guide of how to taste wine in South Africa

Despite being separated from South Africa’s renowned Cape Winelands region, the country’s capital Johannesburg still has access to some of the southern hemisphere’s most revered wines.

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Consequently, wine tasting in Johannesburg has become a popular experience for visitors to the sprawling metropolis that is South Africa’s financial capital and home to the country’s exciting arts, music and fashion scenes. Unlike in the wine making regions surrounding Cape Town – where tastings often take place in the old colonial farmhouses of the vineyards – wine tasting in Johannesburg is largely restricted to the city’s wine bars and restaurants.

South Africa is famed for wines including the country’s signature Pinotage, internationally acclaimed Chenin Blancs and the sweet desert wines from Constantia that were once the preferred tipple of French leader Napoleon Bonaparte.

South Africa is famed for wines including the country’s signature Pinotage, internationally acclaimed Chenin Blancs and the sweet desert wines from Constantia that were once the preferred tipple of French leader Napoleon Bonaparte.

At Wine Paths, our local experts can organise exclusive wine tasting tours of Johannesberg as well as bespoke private tours of the Cape Winelands, luxury accommodation and unique South African experiences.

All of our tours can be tailor-made to meet your exact requirements, while ensuring that every detail is taken care of before you arrive.

For some, wine tasting in Johannesburg is an intimidating prospect, especially if you have never enjoyed the experience before – so here are some basic wine tasting tips to remember:

Check the appearance: With the glass standing upright, view the wine directly from above – preferably over a white background – to observe its clarity, brightness and depth of colour. Then, with the glass tilted, look out for the principle hue at the ‘core’ of the wine and differences in colour at the rim.

Use your nose: Smell the wine without swirling it while taking note of its cleanness, intensity, grape variety, new oak finesse, persistence. Then give the wine a swirl and smell immediately as it settles to perceive any progression of scents from the still state.

Taste the wine: Take a small sip before working the wine around your mouth, giving it time to aerate while you consider its overall dimensions - balance of alcohol, acid, tannin (reds) and depth of flavour.

Taste the wine again: During a single wine tasting in Johannesburg, alternate between sipping, aerating and swallowing a small amount of wine for as long as it holds your interest. Be aware of the individual tastes and flavours, while considering texture (especially in reds) and the length of the taste.

To spit or swallow: Whilst it is perfectly acceptable to drink everything on offer during a wine tasting in Johannesburg, be aware that both palate fatigue and inebriation can creep up on you without warning. To spit, purse your lips and compress the wine out using your toungue – and don’t worry if you happen to forget!

 

Visit our South Africa destination page for more inspiration before planning the African adventure of a lifetime.

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