by : James Seely
In the 19th century the sweet white wines of Constantia were rated among the finest in the world - until, as demand went up, quality went down and the market with it, so that Constantia became a memory. The growers and shippers concentrated on fortified wines in imitation of sherry and port, but now the term "South African sherry" may no longer be used in Europe, and that trade too has vanished. And in the recent past, South African wines were shunned on account of apartheid. Now a new political age has arrived, and with it wine growers dedicated to bringing out the distinctive character derived from the soils and the near-perfect climate for grape growing enjoyed by various areas of South Africa. This history of South African wine incorporates detailed descriptions of a range of high-quality wines.