Morgen, 20 juni, is het weer Wereld Chenin Dag. In onderstaand Engelstalig bericht lees je van alles over de Zuid-Afrikaanse wetenswaardigheden rondom chenin blanc.
South Africa’s reputation as one of the most exciting wine countries in the world has been formed for many reasons but it’s fair to say that the role Chenin Blanc has played is a very important one. The emergence of high-quality Chenin Blanc and Chenin based blends has helped to shape the story of premium South African wines.
For many winemakers it’s a grape they truly adore; the discovery of old Chenin Blanc vineyards, especially in regions like Swartland, has resulted in a new respect for the variety. Chenin Blanc is now helping to build the reputation of emerging regions such as Breedekloof, which is producing some stunning examples.
On 20th of June 2020 South African wine producers will come together to celebrate the variety for #DrinkChenin Day, with a virtual tasting of Chenin Blanc on social media. In 2019 the hashtag #DrinkChenin reached 1.3 million unique users and generated 5.8 million impressions (an increase from 1.2 million reached and 4.7 million impressions in 2018).
How the Chenin Blanc Association has been working to give the grape its due
Chenin is still the country’s most widely planted wine grape, covering 17 103 ha and accounting for 18.6 percent of the national vineyard. It is cultivated across most of South Africa’s winegrowing areas and more Chenin is grown in the country than anywhere else in the world.
Ken Forrester, one of the founders of the Chenin Blanc Association (CBA) in 2000, was one of the first to recognise Chenin’s intrinsic worth and actively lobbied his fellow winemakers and other industry players to give the grape a chance as a serious wine contender. Each success generated new converts and today the country produces a vast array of definitively South African still, sparkling and dessert wines from Chenin. By 2019, CBA membership had grown to 140 members, representing a diverse spectrum of the country’s corporate, co-operative, independent and artisanal winemaking community, all advocates for the grape, its potential for excellence and its versatility. The number of South African wine producers who make certified Chenin Blanc is 287.
Behind the scenes, the CBA continues to collaborate with academic and marketing bodies to understand the grape in greater depth and to explore how best to build further domestic and international market support. Since 2010, the CBA has been closely involved with the Institute for Wine Biotechnology and the Sensory Research Unit at the University of Stellenbosch. It also works closely with Wines of South Africa (WoSA) to showcase Chenins to international tastemakers at exhibitions, workshops and tastings at home and abroad.
International Chenin Blanc Congress
In July 2019, the world’s first academic congress devoted to Chenin Blanc was held in Angers, France. Drawing members of the South African and French wine industries, it provided a forum to expand knowledge and stimulate further research into the grape, while exploring Chenin’s varied history, terroir, viticultural and vinicultural protocols and techniques, as well as its role in wine tourism. This first conference was co-organised by the CBA and the Stellenbosch University (SU).
The three-day event was attended by 45 South Africans including academics and winemakers. The second Chenin Blanc Congress will be held in South Africa in July 2021 with plans presently underway to include a far broader audience of speakers and delegates in addition to France and South Africa, attracting those from as far afield as USA, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand.