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Chenin Blanc

24 Years of Impact


Pre 2000, the humble "workhorse grape" was responsible for the biggest, most popular branded white wines in South Africa but earning little recognition for chenin and even less for the farmer.  The influence of "fine winemaking" progressed with passionate members with more and more award-winning Chenin Blanc labelled wines coming to the market.


CBA members

16 485

Total hectares under vines

2022 SAWIS


Of all Old Vine vineyards

The oldest Chenin vineyards are in Stellenbosch with the Mrs Kirsten vineyard planted 1942 and Kaapzicht planted in 1947, followed by Wellington (1952).  See full list here.

South Africa is considered to have pioneered a new generation of original and versatile styles, inspiring others across the world to find their own unique expressions.  

South Africa has more Chenin growing than anywhere else in the world combined and it is internationally regarded as South Africa’s de facto white wine.

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No other grape type has had this level of influence on the industry.


Increase in price per ton, 1998 - 2020


Growth in exports, 1997-2020

Retail sales per volume between 2020 and 2021 increase:


R100 and R120 a bottle


R90 and R100 a bottle


R70 and R80 a bottle

South African Chenin Blanc has frequently excelled and earned global prestige on the international as well as the local stage.


Diner's Club Platter's Wine Guide 5-star wines in 2024 edition, the category with the most 5-star wines.  

”The best South African Chenin Blancs are world-class.”
Tim Atkin, MW, SA report of 2021

CheninChallenge_past winners


The Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge started in 2014 with a cash prize for each of the producers of the ten best Chenins selected each year, to be used towards enhancing the quality of life of farm workers and their communities, with R2.35 million officially directed towards farm worker community projects, to date. 

List of winning producers 2014 - 2023

Aeternitas Wines
Allée Bleue Wines
Alvi's Drift Private Cellar
Anthonij Rupert Wyne
Badsberg Wine Cellar
Boschendal Wines
Boutinot Wines
Cederberg Private Cellar
Durbanville Hills
Flagstone Winery
Jean Daneel Wines
Kaapzicht Wine Estate
Ken Forrester Wines
Kleine Zalze Wines
KWV Wines
L'Avenir Vineyards
Le Belle Rebelle
Leopard's Leap Family Vineyards
Lievland Vineyards
Mulderbosch Vineyards
Nabygelegen Private Cellar
Perdeberg Wines
Piekenierskloof Wine Company
Rascallion Wines
Remhoogte Wine Estate
Rijk's Wine Estate
Simonsig Wine Estate
Slanghoek Winery
Stellenbosch Vineyards
Stellenrust (ArtiSons)
Villiera Wines
Wellington Wines
Wildekrans Wine Estate


List of beneficiaries 2014 – 2023

Anna Foundation
Community Keepers Stellenbosch
DGB Charitable Trust
Du Toitskloof Mobile Library
Durbanville Hills Trust
Dwarsrivier Trust
Fair Trade committee Spice Route farm
Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR)
Franschhoek Hospitality Academy and Learning Centre Trust
Goedgedacht Trust
Heart Capital
Homes with Heart Project
Klein Handjies (Early-childhood development centre) Boschendal
Kleine Zalze Fair Trade Committee
Kusasa Project in Franschhoek
Laerskool Riebeek-Kasteel
Ligstraaltjie Crèche
Networking for Christ
Pebbles Project
Qhubeka Charity
Simonsig Creche and After Shool facilities
SmartFunder Bursary Fund
Stellenbosch Unite
Sustainability Institute Stellenbosch
The Fairhills Association
The Napier Care Centre
Tim James Harlow Foundation
Visio Vintners
Wyzneusies Chréche Badsberg
Young Farmers Association  

Challenge2017_Stellenrust Winemaker Tertius Boshof (back centre) and his team of Stellenru

“ The prize money provides tangible acknowledgement to farm workers of their role in making award-winning wines.” 


- Stephan van der Merwe, Head of Commercial Clients, Standard Bank



The Chenin Blanc aroma wheel, originally developed in 2005, was revised and updated in 2016 using real-world sensory and tasting data under the direction of senior researcher Dr Hélène Nieuwoudt aided by research funding from Winetech.

The Chenin Blanc aroma wheel was also reimagined in 2022 with Shona, isiZulu, and isiXhosa speakers, who translated its terminology into their native language using indigenous taste references.

This (event) marks an important phase in expansion and growth of the wine industry as we embrace diversity of cultures and heritage in fostering a more approachable and different way of appreciating and learning wine.”

Wellington Muromba, Premium Wine Accounts Executive

Translation of Aroma Wheel

Chenin Blanc is well known for its rich stylistic diversity, ranging from fresh and easy-drinking to full and rich with oak-barrel fermentation. The use of the style indicator is not a reflection of the chemical composition of the wine, but rather the sensory perceptions when tasting the wine aimed to assist the consumer in finding the style of wine they love.

The CBA had decided early on to pave the way to premiumisation with solid research – an evidence-led approach that has been paying increasing dividends. This has contributed to the well-being of the industry and the worldwide recognition of South Africa as a serious wine producer.

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The congress followed after extensive collaboration between wine and academic bodies in France and South Africa. The second congress, hosted in Stellenbosch in November 2022, was attended by growers, producers, academics, researchers, and marketers from South Africa and Loire, France, as well as from Australia, the UK, and USA.

Wooded, unwooded, wild ferment, whole bunch pressed, free-run, barrel-fermented, concrete-egg and tank-fermented, dryland, single vineyard, bush-vine, block by block, soil- specific, straw wine and vine-dried, organic, biodynamic and even sparkling – Chenin Blanc’s repertoire is as wide as it is diverse.

This grape’s story is about patience and persistence, about old vines that were undervalued in their youth and that have finally come to fruition. It is a story of resilience, potential, enjoyment, innovation, and ultimately, new discoveries of an old favourite.

- Graham Howe

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