Wine is no less an object of fashion than any other consumable. It’s not simply about when and where it’s drunk, and by whom (until 1956 French children under 14 were permitted to imbibe up to 500ml a day), but also which styles are in vogue and why. English diarist Samuel Pepys drank beer and ale first thing in the morning (probably in preference to water, which was significantly less healthy), wine at lunch and, then, as the day progressed, something a little stronger, such as sack (sherry) or an equivalent fortified wine.

In the 1980s, good (and authentic) chardonnay was almost unobtainable in SA. The earliest vintages of Hamilton Russell sold for twice the price of a bottle of Mouton Rothschild. Then the variety fell victim to the Anything But Chardonnay cult. While it continued to sell well, it was almost social suicide to order it in public (much like rosé, which has only recently emerged from a similar stigma)...

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