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It’s almost impossible to compare the Cape wine industry of today with what emerged in the 1990s from the era of isolation. While the volumes produced aren’t vastly different (the current vineyard area is smaller, though yields have increased) the nature of the wines as well as their markets would have seemed unimaginable back then. We have moved from a space of constrained homogeneity to a finely differentiated and vastly broader spectrum of styles and possibilities. 

It’s tempting to think this has been largely the result of the massive increase in exports. In 1990 they accounted for about 2% of total production. Today — depending on the size of the crop and the success of the exporters — they can exceed 40%. It seems safe to assume that this expanded market played an important role in the transformation...

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