First Pinotage vineyard in the UK

22 June, 2018

Johann Fourie was appointed in 2016 as cellar master for Benguela Cove in South Africa and for the UK vineyards, where he is working with viticulturist Duncan McNeill and is planning the wineries and managing winemaking. He was the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year in 2015.

Key Facts on Pinotage:

  • Pinotage was developed in 1925 with the crossing of two grape varieties by Prof Abraham Izak Perold in South Africa; Pinot Noir & Cinsaut, also known as Hermitage - to create Pinot (Noir) (Hermi) tage
  • Pinot Noir struggled as a grape in South Africa, while Cinsaut grew well. The plan was to capture the deliciousness of Pinot Noir, with the easy to grow characteristics of Cinsaut
  • Four seeds of the crossing were planted. In 1935 material was grafted onto rootstock to better suit South African growing conditions; in 1941 the first wine was made
  • Pinotage vineyards totalled 7,000 hectares in 2017. Accolades include: 3 times International Wine Challenge Winemaker of the Year won by a Pinotage wine since 1991. Tim Atkin named the South Africa red wine of the year in 2017 as Pinotage
  • It is grown in 10 wine producing countries - Brazil, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, Australia, US (five states), Zimbabwe, Germany, Switzerland & SA - and now the UK
  • A versatile grape - used for Red, Rose, sparkling and dessert wines
  • Like its parents - ripens early, reaches high sugar levels, moderate growth, buds later than Chardonnay, short growing season, resistant to rot, well acclimatised to cooler climate - all of which are important for the UK
  • Dark/black berry can be 6-10 degrees C higher in temp than ambient which helps for colour and tannin development.

Keywords: pinotage

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