We analysed the production, impact factor of, and scientific collaboration involved in viticulture and oenology articles associated with South African research centres published in international journals during the period 1990–2009. The articles under scrutiny were obtained from the Science Citation Index database, accessed via the Web of Knowledge platform. The search strategy employed specific viticulture and oenology terms and was restricted to the field ‘topic’. The results showed that 406 articles were published during the review period, with the most number of publications being in the South African Journal of Enology and Viticulture (n = 34), American Journal of Enology and Viticulture (n = 16) and Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (n = 16). The articles were published by 851 authors from 236 institutions. The collaboration rate was 3.7 authors per article, having grown over the two decades examined. The most productive institutions (i.e. those receiving a greater number of citations) were Stellenbosch University (219 published articles and 2592 citations) and the Agricultural Research Council (49 published articles and 454 citations), both from South Africa. Graphical representation of co-authorship networks identified 18 groups of authors and a single network of institutions whose core is Stellenbosch University. In conclusion, we have identified a significant growth in South African viticulture and oenology research in recent years, with a high degree of internationalisation and a constant level of domestic collaboration.