Photo Caption: Lanzerac’s Pinotage offering through the ages.
Who is South Africa’s original Pinotage pioneer? Lanzerac, the historic wine estate in Stellenbosch, has planted its flag firmly on this proudly South African cultivar.
Stellenbosch Wine Routes’ recent 50th anniversary celebration got many people pondering about our wine heritage. While its history is wild, no cultivar in the world is more quintessentially South African than Pinotage.
There’s no denying Prof. Abraham Izak Perold as the OG of Pinotage. But who claims to be the earliest pioneer to take that initial leap of faith, and carry on Perold’s legacy with the then-mysterious, yet humble grape variety?
Lanzerac, Nestled in the majestic mountains of Jonkershoek Valley, (known as the “grande dame'” of Stellenbosch) is one of the oldest heritage farms in the Western Cape dating back to 1692 and home to the world’s first commercially bottled Pinotage.
A star is born
Lanzerac is a historic landmark and Stellenbosch icon, says general manager Emile Langenhoven, “synonymous with old-world charm and rich Cape heritage.”
Its position as gatekeepers to the idyllic Jonkershoek Valley on the outskirts of the historical town of Stellenbosch makes them ideally positioned to perfect the art of winemaking, while the endless views of dramatic mountain ranges and rows of lush vineyards certainly add to the charm of life at Lanzerac.”
The story is well-known: In 1925, Professor Abraham Izak Perold, the first Professor of Viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch, successfully crossed two grape varietals, Pinot Noir and Hermitage, to create South Africa’s first unique and indigenous wine grape variety – Pinotage.
Several years later, Lanzerac became the first winery in the world to use the term ‘Pinotage’ on their label when they marketed the 1959 vintage under the name ‘Lanzerac’. This visionary release marked the birth of Pinotage as a unique variety from South Africa.
Continues Langenhoven, “To this day, Lanzerac, under the leadership of Cellar Master, Wynand Lategan and Farm Manager Phillip Le Roux, is still producing award-winning Pinotage, along with a wide variety of other excellent quality wines that form part of Lanzerac’s three tiers – The Premium Range, Heritage Range and Keldermeester Versameling (Cellar Master Collection).
We pride ourselves on being one of the most distinguished wine producers in South Africa, and our commitment to superior quality wines both internationally and locally remains unwavering.”
Wine tourism hub
Once the Wine Routes were established in 1971, Stellenbosch also became the first wine region in South Africa to offer tourists the chance to experience the products of the Winelands with unique cellar-door experiences, which continues to this day. What’s more, the region’s propensity for innovation and producing high-quality wines has not only made it a wine tourism hub, but an interest for investors around the world, all staking their claim in the Stellenbosch Winelands.
Concludes Langenhoven, “As part of the Cape Winelands, Stellenbosch Wine Routes hold the distinction of being one of the most popular tourist attractions in South Africa. This, along with the town of Stellenbosch being a historical, cultural, natural, recreational and educational hub, has resulted in the region being regarded as one of South Africa’s premier tourist and wine destinations. We’re excited to celebrate another 50 years of innovative, history-making wine production.”
To celebrate the Wine Route’s 50 illustrious years, Lanzerac is serving up the chance to win a luxury getaway to the estate worth R60 000. To enjoy this glorious experience with Lanzerac, purchase any wine from their premium range at their tasting room, online or at selected retailers. Scan the QR code applied to the bottle to enter. The competition ends 30 September 2021 and T&Cs apply.