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Climate change and the prolonged drought is changing the face of the Cape winelands. In 2017, farms experienced a 30% drop in rainfall over prior years. This is great news for the quality of vintages, but also means reduced volumes, and higher prices.

In these times, some forward-thinking winemakers are looking beyond their traditional plantings and experimenting with drought-hardy cultivars that offer you some exciting new alternatives for your premium wine selection – and a huge hit of out-of-the-ordinary flavour for customers. It’s time to think beyond the Great White Three of Chard, Sauv Blanc and Chenin and try to get your hands on the extremely limited production runs of Grenache Blanc and Vermentino available from the miniscule Cape plantings.

Both cultivars are believed to have their origins in Spain, but have taken very different routes to our shores. Grenache Blanc, a mutation of the red Grenache, spread across the Pyrenees to France and the Rhône winegrowing region. Vermentino took a different route, today it is grown in several Mediterranean countries, with some of the best examples being found in Northern Italy, (particularly the Liguria region) and the island of Sardinia.

What to expect from a Grenache Blanc
What to expect from a Vermentino