I lived in London, like many other South Africans. I did not like it.
The horizon seemed just a little too small, the sun not bright enough, and the tall buildings couldn’t make up for Table Mountain at my back. It is a different experience travelling to London with a group of South African winemakers (and Rosa Kruger) intent on selling South African wine to our biggest export market.
Based on 2021 and 2022 SAWIS statistics, they remain our biggest export market, ahead of Germany, Canada, the USA, and France – in that order. In 2022 we exported 96 853 007 litres of packaged and bulk wine to the UK, and it makes sense.
The British have always been one of the most discerning wine-consuming countries in the world, home to the Institute of Masters of Wine, Jancis Robinson MW, Neal Martin, Oz Clarke, Tamlyn Currin, Decanter, Tim Atkin MW, and Greg Sherwood MW (to name only a few).
One might argue that it is where wine critics are made, in the rooms of 67 Pall Mall, a private members’ club devoted to fine wine and possibly the beating heart of it. It is contradictory that South African wine should have so many champions in London, given our history. But it does.