Wine of Origin (WO)

Definition - What does Wine of Origin (WO) mean?

Wine of Origin is a set of laws designed for the labeling of South African wines based on regions. They were drafted in 1973 and are primarily concerned with the accuracy of labeling of a particular South African wine variety and does not impose any additional regulations.

The country's wine regions are categorized into four different varieties: geographical units, regions, districts and wards. The wine of origin mark on the label of a wine indicates that all of the grapes used in making the wine originate from the labeled area.

WineFrog explains Wine of Origin (WO)

The Wine of Origin mark on a label is an assurance of quality and the authenticity of a South African wines. The quality and character of wine production from an area depends on natural factors like soil, climate, location and human involvement in production. The Wine of Origin mark was built on the ideal that the natural factors have a greater affect on wine production.

Since 1973, Wine of Origin has been the means of identifying the wines of varied South African regions. A production unit can be a geographical unit, region, district or ward and Wine of Origin has specifications distinguishing each production unit. For example, for a vineyard to be considered a ward, it must have an area of at least 6 hectares and a specific type of climate and soil. A district has to meet the same requirements as wards but is allowed a greater variation of soil than in wards.

Regions are based on surrounding areas and natural borders. The Wine of Origin scheme was amended in 1993 to incorporate geographical Units. Currently, there are a total of 5 geographical regions demarcated by the Wine of Origin laws.

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