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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Kim Maxwell

Mention of a single-vineyard wine' will soon be legal on South African labels, provided the surface area of a production unit doesn't exceed five hectares, and refers to a single variety. Wine & Spirits Board secretary Hugo van der Merwe confirmed that the board approved these recommendations on 24 October. The board's legal committee is drafting legislation for final approval by the National Department of Agriculture. This could take six months, but Van der Merwe says the decision is unlikely to be overturned. It's a fantastic move in the right direction. It shows the authorities are listening to the industry, especially the small guys. But I hope it won't be abused,' says Flagstone's Bruce Jack. His single-vineyard wines include The Berrio, Writer's Block and Heywood House, which currently cannot refer to single vineyards on labels. Boekenhoutskloof winemaker Marc Kent agrees. He struggled to register The Chocolate Block 2002' red blend with its chocolate flavours', mistakenly assumed by the board to be referring to a vineyard block. Uiterwyk's De Waal Top of the Hill Pinotage is from a single vineyard, but the label doesn't say so. Producer Danil de Waal says they are likely mention it when legislation changes.