South African Wines

How do you describe the wines of South Africa?  Are they from the old world or the new? Whatever your view I think we can all agree the taste is vintage.

Wivenhoe House is celebrating the superb variety of flavours on offer from this amazing nation at our next wine dinner on Friday 21 April. Without leaving the comfort of the beautiful Signatures dining room, guests will be guided by Sommelier Lionel Lachasseigne through a drinking tour of the vineyards. A South African themed dinner will be served, including a braai of marinated breast of guinea fowl,  and a Melktert, a traditional dessert of sweet pastry crust with a creamy filling.

Settlers pressed the first grapes at the Cape in 1659 and by the 18th century the area was famous for its Constantia dessert wines.  German and Italian immigrants brought their own, valuable, skills to wine making in South Africa in the 19th and 20th century. Their plants, nurtured in the old world, flourished in the soil and climate at the Cape, benefitting from the unique conditions created by the sea breezes from both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Lionel says: “South African people are strong-willed and this comes out in the wine. The wine is robust and makes the most of the “terroir”, particularly around the Cape.  Settlers made their way here from so many wine-producing countries, including the French, of course, and the wines that have resulted, bring this history to life. “

A fresh impetus to the industry came at the end of apartheid in 1994.   Producers began to develop a knowledge of the international market, which in turn, welcomed the opportunity to try something different.

There are now more than 600 wine producers in South Africa, virtually double the number at the turn of this century. The enormous diversity in soil type, topography and climatic conditions has led to distinctive wines, offering enough variety in taste to suit almost every palate.

Pinotage, a red wine grape, is South Africa’s signature variety. Bred in 1925 as a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut, also known as Hermitage, hence the amalgamation to form the name. Other wine producing countries, including Germany and the United States, have taken note of the success of Pinotage and are now producing their own versions.

With wine tourism growing in popularity in South Africa, this dinner may inspire you to pack your bags to tour the stunning vineyards yourself.

Our wine dinner includes a five course meal and wine. To book, please contact us on;


find us, however you travel
By car:

Whether approaching Wivenhoe House from London and the South or Ipswich and the North via the A12, take the exit marked Colchester (A133). Follow the A133 towards Clacton, ignore the entrance to the Knowledge Gateway, continue along the A133 then take the B1028 for Wivenhoe before turning right into Boundary Road, then right again into Park Road. The entrance for Wivenhoe House is shared with the University of Essex but Park Road leads you through Wivenhoe Park and you will be able to see the glorious house from the road.

For Sat Nav please use CO4 3FA.

Download our PDF Map

By train:

Colchester station, Colchester Town station, Wivenhoe station and Hythe stations are all between 10-15 minutes from Wivenhoe House by car. Trains run between London (Liverpool Street) and Colchester station every 10-20 minutes. The journey takes around an hour. Also connect with Colchester from Norwich, Ipswich, Felixstowe & Harwich. Some trains from London (Liverpool Street) also stop at Wivenhoe Station. When travelling from the Clacton/Walton direction, alight at Wivenhoe or Hythe Stations.

By plane:

Stansted airport is approximately 45 minutes from Wivenhoe House by car. Helicopter pad coordinates are 603200/223900.