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The concept of an “estate wine” is relatively new to the Cape wine industry. The legislation that defined the minimum legal requirements was drafted 50 years ago and became law in January 1973. Until then, most of the information we today assume is authentic and factual — area of origin, estate status, vintage and variety — was actually part of the puffery of selling wine.

Producers branded wines “cabernet” when there was little (and sometimes no) cabernet in the bottle. They could claim any vintage date that offered commercial value. Wines produced in the cellars of the big wholesale merchant often went to market with the words “Estate Matured” prominently displayed — notwithstanding the fact that there was no wine estate to speak of, and no estate cellars for maturing the wines...

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