Commonly mistaken for: none.
Origin: South African variety, created in 1925 by Stellenbosch University Professor A. I. Peroldt by crossing Cinsaut (called, rather misleadingly, Hermitage) with Pinot Noir, and this explains the origin of its name (pino+tage). It was ignored until 1961, when it won the Grand Championship at The Cape Young Wine Show. This variety is cultivated not only in South Africa but also in Zimbabwe, New Zealand, California, Canada, USA and now it has arrived in Australia.
Agronomic and environmental aspects: It can be adapted to different types of soil with good results, prefers hilly places, with a good percentage of clay and grows well in foothill regions, but the soil must be friable. The yield is abundant and constant. In South Africa the “bush-vine” training system was used, recently new experimental plantings are adopting wide training systems with good results. The most important thing is to plant virus-free vines to improve the Pinotage reputation.
Diseases, pests and disorders: Shows a good resistance to most common diseases, especially for botrytis, thanks to its relatively rot-resistant skin it grows well in humid locales. Medium resistance to the spring frosts.
Growing tip: half open, cottony, of yellowish green colour with slightly pink edges.
Leaf: medium size, cordate, 3-lobed or 5-lobed. Has a wide opened V-shaped petiolar sinus, often limited through nerves at petiole end; lateral superior sinuses are sometimes very deep and V-U shaped. The profile is flat with medium-weak density of prostrate hairs in lower side of mature leaf.
Bunch: medium size, compact, of cylindrical-conical form, with short wings.
Berry: medium size and spherical or round; skin is thick and strong, of blue-black colour, covered with a lot of bloom. [average weight: 1.96 g].
- SBC 1: Clone selected in British Columbia, Canada; it is characterized by bunches of medium dimension, sometimes winged, of cylindrical-conical form and good density of berries. Good resistance to botrytis.
The wine can be made in several different styles: deep, rich in colour, full bodied and tannic (like Zinfandel style); or young, light, and fruity (like Beaujolais style); or elegant, sophisticated and restrained (like a Bordeaux style); or red sparkling; but always difficult to vinify like its mother Pinot Noir. A good winemaker can obtain a unique varietal fruity wine, with a strong note of banana, always with a good level of alcohol and acidity.