The South African Post Office has paid tribute to the country’s wine industry through a set of five small international letter-rate stamps and a commemorative envelope. These were issued on Friday, 29 September. Groot Constantia is the oldest wine estate in South Africa and appropriately, the Duke of Northumberland 1791 and Grand Constance 1821 wines feature on one of the stamps.“Had it not been for Dr Abraham Perold, a scientist at the Stellenbosch University, South Africa would not have produced pinotage – a wine unique to South Africa. Perold’s goal was to create a wine that was as delicious as pinot noir but grew as well as cinsaut and was sturdy enough to survive in the Cape,” highlighted the South African Post Office in a statement.The first commercially produced pinotage is the 1959 Lanzerac Pinotage, which is featured on the second stamp.The earliest wine route, the Stellenbosch Wine Route, was established in 1971. Today, at least 17 wine routes are reported to be registered with the South African Wine Routes Forum and the winelands feature on the third stamp.The Northern Cape is applauded for being among the provinces that produce about one million litres of wine annually in South Africa, along with KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo. Lastly, many viticulturists prefer harvesting grapes by hand instead of machines to minimise damage.“Wine barrels have generally been used either in the manufacturing, maturing, storing or transportation of wine. Most barrels were previously made of oak, whereas other material such as aluminium, stainless steel and plastic are becoming popular. “Traditional wooden barrels are featured on the last stamp.” The Wine of Origin (WO) legislation passed in 1973, and Wines of South Africa (Wosa) established in 2000 identify, protect and promote South African wines. The WO seal certifies that the grapes and wine were 100% produced and bottled in that region. The stamps, designed by Rachel-Mari Ackermann of the South African Post Office, cost R45,75 for a set of five and a commemorative envelope costs R48,75 – both are available from all major post offices and online.