This video explores the circumstances of Napoleon Bonaparte and his exile in St. Helena, where he received more than 1000 liters of South African wine per year.
This was by no means a universal opinion, and I have seen several very favorable comments on South African wine. For instance Thomas Pasley in his journal in 1780 said
"its flavour and richness exceeded every thing I ever tasted" and he went on to buy 40 gallons of the stuff. Also I believe Lady Barnard in her journals spoke very approvingly of the products of Constantia, and served it frequently to her guests.
Ah, the senior service!
Actually this is naval officers comment. It seems the officer believed they were suited to better stuff.
"little better than vinegar and fit for sailors"
Any Naval officers wish to comment?
Be surprised Napoleon drank any of the early 1800 vintages. The stuff was renown for being a little better than vinegar and fit for sailors.
The current wine industry is largely a post-WWII recreation and exists primarily to supplement the European industry. Well over 80% is shipped in bulk ready to be "blended" with Portuguese Port, Spanish Sherry, and fine French, German and Italian wines.