Partner content: the rise of Pinotage


Brought to you by ABSA

One of the great lessons learned in the journey of Pinotage was that to bottle something of brilliance, every step in the process has to be treated with respect. Skill in the vineyards enables true craftsmanship in the cellar and needs to be amplified to the

It starts in the vineyards

South African viticulturists have grown in leaps and bounds over the years.

“Pinotage is a difficult grape to understand,” explains Annelie Viljoen, viticulturist at Kanonkop in the Stellenbosch Wine Valley. “You need to respect the vine and be guided by the soil.”

Today, viticulturists and winemakers continue to push the boundaries of Pinotage, in the vineyards and the cellar.

Changing the perceptions of Pinotage

The Pinotage Association, sponsored by Absa, has done critical work in the market to elevate the perception of Pinotage.

“The reason why we are seeing great Pinotages standing up and being poured alongside all the best wines in the world today, is to a large part thanks to the Pinotage Association,” explains Guy Webber, Winemaker at Hill&Dale in Stellenbosch. “The research they’ve done, both viticulturally and from a winemaking point of view, has allowed us to not only make the wines but also create this image for Pinotage.”

Annually, the Absa Top 10 Pinotage Awards celebrates the very best Pinotage from South African producers, raising the bar in what can be achieved with this cultivar.

From wine farms to lifestyle retreats

The growth in the hospitality industry was another force behind the rise of Pinotage. Many wine farms developed into fully fledged fine dining and lifestyle retreats in just 30 years.

“Locally and internationally, South Africa has grown from a small, relatively unknown wine region to one of the top ten countries globally,” says Denzel Swarts, Brand Ambassador at Simonsig. “Our local wineries now present restaurants that frequently get international recognition, hotels that sport 5-star ratings, and wines that complement these experiences.”

This exciting moment for Pinotage is one all South Africans can be proud of and support. Let us raise a glass to all those who have come together to elevate this locally grown cultivar to excellence.

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