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The Cape wine industry likes to claim that it is one of the oldest of the new world, though it is at least a century behind Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. The Spanish conquistadores followed up their territorial conquests by planting vines: it was not a good time to depend on wine shipments from the mother country.

While we came after the Americas (but before the Antipodes), from fairly early on we began to export some of our production. The timing is important: the early days of the Cape wine industry coincide with the establishment of the great estates of Bordeaux. In trading terms the Cape entered world markets on a more or less equal footing with the Medoc in France...

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