Chenin Blanc Overview 2020: Plantings, sales and export statistics

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Focus on Chenin Blanc research

Chenin blanc wine has been in the research spotlight at Stellenbosch University (SU) in recent years. Results of the predominantly Winetech funded projects listed here have recently been presented at the Chenin Blanc Association / Breedekloof Chenin Initiative technical seminar. The event was co-sponsored by the Institute for Grape and Wine Sciences (IGWS), Stellenbosch University. The aim of the research at SU is to help industry with the quality and perception improvement of Chenin blanc wines locally and internationally.

Addressing consumers uncertainties Aroma of award winning Chenins
Consumer relationship with wine prurchasing Listening to the consumers voice
Old vines Chenin data warehouse
Sweeter side of Chenin blanc Thiol levels in young Chenin blancs
Foliar Spray Sensory analysis Top 10 Chenin blanc wines
YAN and amino acids    

Since 2010 the Institute for Wine Biotechnology and the Sensory Research Unit of the Department of Food Science, Stellenbosch University, in collaboration with the Chenin blanc Association (CBA) of South Africa, joined forces with ongoing research projects on SA Chenin Blanc wine. Here are a few of the 2014-2016 projects:

Research on Chenin Blanc old vines (40 year and older)

Research started in late 2014 on quality and sensory aspects of older vines. This project is continuing in 2016 and focused additional studies on characteristics of specific vineyard blocks of interest, and the effects of specific viticultural and winemaking practices are on the research agenda. Also In-depth chemical profiling of Old vine Chenin Blanc wines and components associated with mouthfeel and aroma.

Multi-cultural comparison of wine sensory perception: can consumers familiar with Chenin Blanc distinguish between French and South African Chenin Blanc wines?

Consumers familiar with Chenin Blanc from France and South Africa respectively, were evaluated whether they were able to differentiate between French and SA Chenin Blanc wines using undirected and directed sorting tasks. Using a test set consisting of 14 wines (7 of each country), 100 French consumers tasted the wines in one location in France, while 100 SA consumers tasted the same set in one location in South Africa. Provisional results showed that consumers from both countries could not assign all the wines in the test set correctly to their respective countries of origin. The implications and final results of these findings for benchmarking of SA Chenin to be available towards end of 2016.

Platter's South African Wine Guide helps Chenin Blanc wine research

Valuable insights into Chenin Blanc styles were gained from research 2010-2012. In order to expand the sensory database, the sensory descriptors in the Platter's South African Wine Guide were used for Chenin Blanc dry- and off-dry wines, entered from 2008 to 2014. The Platter data will not only help research efforts, but contribute towards clarifying the complex, and sometimes confusing sensory descriptions for the Chenin Blanc wine consumer. The findings will be made available to available to the Platter's Guide, the wider wine industry, as well as via scientific papers and at presentations.

A number of research projects in 2016 will include:

Multicultural wine quality perception profiling
Investigation into consumers perceptions, familiarity and involvement/consumption of different Chenin Blanc wine styles
Modelling consumer risk behaviour during wine decision-making: marketing insights for Chenin Blanc 


Chenin Blanc Association of South Africa