With more than 350 years of winemaking history, South Africa is often described as a bridge between the Old and New Worlds. Most wines are made using New World winemaking techniques but often have more in common stylistically with their European counterparts. The country's signature variety is Pinotage, which was crossed between Pinot Noir and Cinsault at Stellenbosch University in 1925. In addition, large amounts of Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot are grown. Chenin Blanc, or Steen as it is known locally, is the most popular white variety.Much of the country's wine production is around the Western Cape where mountains, valleys and plateaus allow winemakers to produce a diverse range of styles. Sparkling wine is even produced and named Cap Classique.
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