International Pinotage Day Date in the current year: October 12, 2024

International Pinotage Day International Pinotage Day, sometimes referred to as simply Pinotage Day, is celebrated annually on the second Saturday of October. It celebrates the signature red wine grape variety of South Africa that has been cultivated there since 1925.

Pinotage is a red wine grape that was created in South Africa by crossing Pinot noir with Cinsaut. The name “Pinotage” is a portmanteau of “Pinot” and “Hermitage” (the name used for Cinsaut in South Africa).

Pinotage was created by South African chemist and viticulturist Abraham Izak Perold. Perold wanted to combine the aroma of Pino noir, a grape variety that is difficult to cultivate, with Hermitage’s resistance to drought and heavy yield. However, the result was unexpected because Pinotage doesn’t resemble either of its predecessors. It produces dark and bold wines with medium to high tannin levels.

The cultivation of Pinotage began in 1925, but it took several decades for the vines to mature. The first Pinotage wine was produced in 1941 at the Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute (then college). Eighteen years later, Bellevue Estate PK Morkel Pinotage won the Genl Smuts Trophy at the 1959 Cape Wine Show, which was the first time that Pinotage was truly noticed and recognized.

Sadly, the early success of Pinotage eventually led to its decline. More and more farmers planted this early-ripening and robust grape variety, resulting in a very high yield, and a high yield almost always means lower quality of wine. Much of the Pinotage harvest was used to produce cheap or blended wines.

The renaissance of Pinotage began in the late 1980s – early 1990s. The demand, supply, and quality of Pinotage wines have grown significantly over the past two decades. Today, Pinotage is one of the most planted grape varieties in South Africa. Outside of its country of origin, it is cultivated in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, the United States (Arizona, California, Michigan, Oregon, Virginia), and Zimbabwe.

Pinotage is a naturally tannin-rich grape. It typically produces full-bodied wines with notes of blackberry, licorice, plum, raspberry, red pepper, rooibos, smoke, sweet tobacco, and tar. It pairs well with roasted meats and vegetables, slow-cooked meats, strong-flavored cheeses, and bold sauces such as BBQ or teriyaki.

International Pinotage Day is observed on the second Saturday of October. It was created in 2014 to promote Pinotage and South African wines in general at the global level. On the occasion of the holiday, South African wineries and vineyards open to the public, offering guided tours, wine tastings, and other events and promotions for wine lovers. Outside South Africa, events dedicated to Pinotage have taken place in China, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and other countries.

You can celebrate International Pinotage Day by watching a documentary about this uniquely South African grape variety, buying a bottle of South African wine and sharing it with a friend, attending a wine tasting that has Pinotage on the menu, and promoting the holiday on social media with the hashtags #PinotageDay and #InternationalPinotageDay.

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International Pinotage Day, international observances, Pinotage, South African wines, South African grape varieties