Most of the more vocal members of the local wine scene surprisingly prefer innovation to tradition. Wine writers, unsurprisingly, focus on "discovering" new talent and neglect the reliable and long-established wineries that form the heart of SA’s quality wine trade. The volume of editorial dedicated to Meerlust, Rustenberg, Kanonkop, Vergelegen, Thelema, Tokara, Neil Ellis, Steenberg, Graham Beck and Jordan — to name but a few — is disproportionately small compared with the importance of the wines they produce, their presence in quality wine spaces and their share of high-end wine sales. In the first decade of this century the number of wine producers in SA doubled. Even over the past five years, when the pace of change slowed perceptibly, at least 25 new wineries were vying for a share of shelf space annually.The long-established cellars don’t appear to have lost much to these newcomers — a sign, perhaps, of how robust the top end of the business is, but also how its expansion into...

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