SA BRANDY FOUNDATION

DISCOVER

SOUTH AFRICAN BRANDY

THE HISTORY OF BRANDY

IN SOUTH AFRICA

The word brandy (brandywine) is derived from the Dutch word “brandewijn”, meaning burnt or distilled wine. The Dutch used distillation as a method of preserving wine aboard their ships. Indeed, a tot of brandy was offered to the first man on board to sight land, leading to calls of “Land Ahoy” many days before the vessels actually docked.

The first brandy in South Africa was distilled aboard the Dutch ship de Pijl, anchored in Table Bay harbour in 1672. The assistant cook succeeded in transforming two leaguers (1164 litres) of Cape wine into “three ankers” (126 litres) of delicious brandy.

Today, South African brandy is acknowledged to be the world’s finest. Comprehensive legislation and a proud tradition ensure that our brandy is of the highest quality. The title of Worldwide Best Brandy at the International Wine and Spirits competition has been awarded to a South African brandy 15 times in the past 20 years.

DISTILLING

PROCESS

distiling process with grapes icon

MAKING WINE

Making wine is the first step in making brandy. The wine that is used to make brandy is called base wine.

In South Africa, mainly Chenin Blanc and Colombar are used for base wine. Grapes for base wine primarily come from warmer wine-growing regions. The base wine must be of the highest quality and there are important differences between base wine and table wine.

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DISTILLATION

The next step is distillation. Base wine is distilled in copper potstills, and is transformed into what is called low wine. Low wine has an alcohol content of about 30% v/v.

The low wine is then distilled a second time, concentrating it even further. In the second distillation, the first vapours that emerge from the potstill are known as the heads.

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This portion is discarded because it contains highly volatile compounds that impart undesirable aromas. 

The second portion is called the heart. This is the soul of brandy and is what will eventually be bottled and enjoyed. The alcohol content of the heart is up to 70% v/v.

The final vapours from the still are the tails – once again this portion is discarded.

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Maturation process with wine in barrel icon

MATURATION

Making wine is the first step in making brandy. The wine that is used to make brandy is called base wine.

In South Africa, mainly Chenin Blanc and Colombar are used for base wine. Grapes for base wine primarily come from warmer wine-growing regions. The base wine must be of the highest quality and there are important differences between base wine and table wine

CLASSES OF

BRANDY

TASTING

EXPERIENCE

  • Always taste brandy from a clean brandy snifter or an ISO wine
    tasting glass.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to add a dash of still water when tasting
    brandy. Be sure to use pure, unchlorinated water.
  • Don’t swirl your glass like you would when tasting wine.
  • Don’t warm the brandy – it should be tasted at room
    temperature.
  • Start nosing from about 5cm from the top of your glass.
    Now move slowly down.
  • Take a small sip and swirl around your mouth. The intensity of the
    alcohol will diminish after a few seconds and the rich, complex
    flavours will come to the fore.
  • It’s always fun to have the brandy aroma wheel on hand to help
    you identify the flavours you experience.
  • Always taste and enjoy responsibly.

QUICK FACTS

ABOUT BRANDY

The top five things you don’t know about South African brandy.

  • There are three styles – blended, vintage and potstil.
  • SA brandy is the world’s finest. We win the major trophies most of the time.
  • Brandy is made from the highest quality wine – mostly chenin blanc and colombar.
  • Our potstill brandies are double distilled in copper potstills and matured in oak barrels for at least three years.
  • Blended brandies are trending on the cocktail scene.

THE BRANDY

AROMA WHEEL

The brandy aroma wheel matches the taste
flavours of some foods, fruits and spices
with those commonly found in brandy.

Use it as a handy checklist for your sensory
pleasure.

WE ARE THE

CHAMPIONS

1981

KWV 10 YEAR OLD

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
1990

KWV 20 YEAR OLD

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
1991

KWV 10 YEAR OLD

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
1995

SYDNEY BACK

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
1999

OUDE MOLEN VOV

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2000

IMOYA VSOP

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2001

OUDE MOLEN VOV

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2004

VAN RYN’S 12 YEAR OLD

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2005

VAN RYN’S 12 YEAR OLD

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2007

KWV 15 YEAR OLD

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2008

VAN RYN’S 20 YEAR OLD

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2009

JOSEPH BARRY 10 YEAR OLD

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2010

LABORIE ALAMBIC

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2011

VAN RYN’S 20 YEAR OLD

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2012

VAN RYN’S 12 YEAR OLD

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2014

KWV 12 YEAR OLD

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2014

VAN RYN’S 15 YEAR OLD

International Spirits Challenge Brandy Trophy Winners
2015

VAN RYN’S 12 YEAR OLD

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2015

KWV 20 YEAR OLD

International Spirits Challenge Brandy Trophy Winners
2016

VAN RYN’S 12 YEAR OLD

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2016

KWV 15 YEAR OLD

International Spirits Challenge Brandy Trophy Winners
2017

KWV 15 YEAR OLD

International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Brandy Trophy Winners
2017

Oude Meester 18 Year Old

International Spirits Challenge Brandy Trophy Winners