Whats the difference between Steen and Stein?

At one time we were constantly being confused by the difference between Steen and Stein, and wine snobs enjoyed pointing out that one was a wine style while the other was a grape variety. Now they both seem to have disappeared. What happened to them?

They died of confusion. At one stage of the Cape’s wine history we believed we had a local grape variety that we called ‘Steen’. At the same time, several wine producers were trying to copy the German style of crisp, semi-sweet wines made in the style called ‘Stein’. Usually the Stein wines were made from Steen grapes, just to confuse buyers even more.

Thank goodness somebody discovered that the grape we called ‘Steen’ was actually known as Chenin Blanc in other countries. Now we could make ‘Stein’ wines out of Chenin Blanc. But the confusion remained in the minds of many wine lovers and vintners gradually dropped the ‘Stein’ label. These days not many Cape winemakers use the term ‘Stein’.