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  • Delaille Raubenheimer

First 14 Wine Estates in South Africa Form Collective to Celebrate 50 Years of Wine of Origin Scheme

In a momentous celebration of South Africa's rich winemaking heritage, the First 14 registered wine estates, representing pioneers of the country's esteemed wine industry, have come together to commemorate 50 years since the introduction of the Wine of Origin

scheme in 1973.

A celebratory event was held on the 1st of June at Groot Constantia Estate with all 14 wine estates present!

This landmark initiative established the legal protection of South African wine-producing areas along with the regulation of wines made from a specific cultivar or vintage. The W.O Scheme is internationally recognized as one of the best of its kind.

A panel discussion was held, with select representatives from the estates as well André Matthee from the Wine and Spirit Board and Cape Wine Master and wine marketer Christine Rudman. The panel explored, amongst other topics, the importance of the Wine of Origin Scheme and wine estate concept and the way forward for the estate concept in South Africa. The panel discussion was followed by a walkaround tasting, with many rare vintages - including some from 1973 - and limited-edition wines being showcased by all First 14 wine estates.

During the panel discussion, André Matthee commented that the establishment of the Wine

of Origin scheme was pivotal in preserving the identity of South African wines and improving

their quality and noted that,

“Without the First 14 wine estates, the South African wine industry would not be where it is today.”

The Wine of Origin certification scheme (W.O.), which has been administered by the Wine

and Spirit Board since its creation, was officially instituted in 1973 and promulgated in

accordance with the Wine, Other Fermented Beverages and Spirit Act of 1957. Among the

trailblazers of the South African wine industry, the First 14 wine estates were subsequently

granted Wine Estate Status on September 1, 1973, as documented in the Government

Gazette nr 1388 0n 10 August 1973. 

These esteemed estates, which have all played a significant role in shaping the South

African wine landscape, include:

  1. Alto

  2. Asara (Verdun)

  3. Backsberg

  4. De Waal Wines (Uiterwyk)

  5. Groot Constantia,

  6. Meerendal

  7. Middelvlei

  8. Montpellier

  9. Muratie

  10. Neethlingshof

  11. Overgaauw

  12. Simonsig

  13. Theuniskraal

  14. Twee Jonge Gezellen

Recognizing the significance of the 50th anniversary of estate wines in South Africa, the

estates convened last year to discuss how best to honour this milestone and unanimously

decided to form a collective to celebrate this momentous occasion.  As part of the commemorative efforts, a specially designed logo was developed by Bravo Design studio, which has received approval from the Wine & Spirit Board for use on all wines designated as estate wines.

This emblem will be proudly displayed on labels, marketing materials, and websites, signifying the collective commitment to quality, heritage, and the enduring spirit of the First 14 wine estates.

Christine Rudman expressed during the panel discussion that, “The wine estate concept is in

many ways a badge of honour.” She also added that the concept is still very much valid till

this day as, “It is a way for the people, and in some cases even families, behind these estates to truly make a statement about what they produce.”

As South Africa prepares to raise a glass to 50 years of the Wine and Spirit Board and the

Wine of Origin scheme, the First 14 wine estates stand united, proud of their legacy, and

committed to continuing their contribution to the nation's esteemed winemaking traditions

whilst looking forward to the future of the success of all the Estate Wines and the South

African wine industry.

Each of the First Fourteen estates will have the opportunity to continue these celebrations on the weekend of September 1 - September 3.


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