Stellenbosch University (SU) has introduced a limited series Pinotage as part of the commemoration of its centenary.

Approximately 2200 bottles of Eeufees Pinotage, the official centenary wine, were bottled by the university’s Welgevallen cellar. Each bottle is individually numbered. SU has collaborated with the online store Takelot.com to make Eeufees Pinotage available online.

Riaan Wassung, winemaker at the Welgevallen cellar, says the wine was made from the best Welgevallen Pinotage vines and is therefore of excellent quality, with a dark ruby colour. “The wine has intense berry and forest floor aromas, with subtle spiciness that originates from the oak. The wine is full-bodied, with a firm but soft tannin structure with good acidity and a lingering aftertaste. The wine should still age at a cool temperature for 5 years.”

A bit of luck

In the 1920s, Prof Abraham Izak Perold was the first professor in viticulture at SU. He crossed the Pinot Noir and Cinsault Noir (or ‘Hermitage’ as it was known) grape cultivars to create the first Pinotage seedlings.

In 1927 he took up a position at KWV in the Paarl and left the four seedlings he cultivated in the garden. By a twist of fate, a young colleague of Perold, Charlie Niehaus, cycled past Perold’s former residence when university workers were cleaning the garden, and was able to save the four seedlings, which were re-established at the Elsenburg Agricultural College.

In the mid-1930s, Perold enthusiastically supported the potential of this new variety. The first Pinotage wine, by CT de Waal, was made in 1941.

Innovation

Anita Nel, chief director: innovation and business development, says Innovus, SU’s innovation and technology transferring entity, is excited about the release of the wine. “We decided to make the wine available online to offer it to our alumni nationally.

“Alumni and friends of the university will also soon be able to buy SU’s centenary publication, Stellenbosch University 100: 1918-2018, via Takelot.com. In addition, we are hoping to make SU-branded clothing and a wider range of our wine cellar’s products available in this way.”  – Stellenbosch University